What is cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)?

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Cyanocobalamin, or vitamin B12, is a prescription medication to help replace low vitamin B12 levels. It may be given by mouth, applied to the nasal tissue or as an injection.

In the body, vitamin B12 helps to make DNA, red blood cells and keeps your nervous system working as it should. Vitamin B12 usually comes from a well-rounded diet that includes fish, meat and dairy products.

A lack of vitamin B12 could be caused by the following:

  • Not getting enough B12 in your diet (vegans and vegetarians)
  • Having pernicious anemia, which damages your stomach's cells that help absorb vitamin B12.
  • Having an condition of the intestines, like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis or celiac disease, or having gastrointestinal surgery may interfere with vitamin B12 absorption.
  • Having bacteria grow abnormally in your stomach.
  • Taking acid reducing drugs (like Prilosec, Prevacid, Zantac or Tagamet) for long periods of time may interfere with vitamin B12 absorption.