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Avatar universal

Reactions to B12

I just started taking B12 500mcgs once a day. I've been taking it a little over a week now.  This morning I took one like I usually do.  I also take a premarin, a multivitamin, 81mg aspirin and a calcium with vitamin D3.  This morning I started having an itchy pens and needles feeling all over.  I'm just wondering if the vitamin B12 is the culprit.  I have no rash just the prickly itchy feeling.  Thanks
23 Responses
351246 tn?1379685732
Welcome to the forum!
Direct allergy to Vit B12 is rare. People may be allergic to cobalamin component. The allergy could be due to any other ingredient of the pill including coloring agent. Pins and needles can be due to Vit B 12 deficiency which became apparent on taking the supplement as this deficiency takes around 2-5 years to develop as the liver is a huge storehouse of this vitamin.
Hope this helps. It is difficult to comment beyond this at this stage. Please let me know if there is any thing else and do keep me posted. Take care!
Avatar universal

I too seem to have an allergy to B12 vitamins.  I've gotten a migraine a few times and the last time my whole mouth broke out for about 3 days.  I just read that it can be an allergy to cobalt - which they use to make B12 - which makes sense to me because I am also allergic to many metals, jewelry etc. - and these also contain cobalt.  Also, cobalt and nickel are found together and I read it's difficult to separate them (this might be more for metal objects rather than B12).  But anyway, since I also have to avoid nickel (many people do) it seems to make sense to me.
681148 tn?1437665191
That's useful information.  I didn't know that about cobalt before.  That's good to know.  I don't have the severe nickel allergy that you're talking about, but my cousins do.  I am sensitive to the cheap ear wires, which is an obvious source of nickel, so it's something I should definitely pay attention to.  Now, I'll know what to do if I have a reaction to a B12 supplement I was considering getting that is supposed to be more effective than other B12 vitamins.
Avatar universal
Don't know if you knew or not, but there are actually two different types of B12: cobalamin and methylcobalamin.

cobalamin is cheaper to produce and found in the cheaper vitamins. It may be helpful for you to find a source of B12 made from the more expensive methylcobalamin. Best wishes -
Avatar universal
I have a reaction to the CYANOcobalamin form of B12 when I take it as a supplement.  Don't know if it is an allergy, sensitivity or what.

I feel antsy and get the nibbles - not hungry but want to nibble on crackers, radish, carrot or anything.

My recent B-complex capsule contained a lot of it - about 300mcg.  I had stopped taking it in the past but after awhile began to doubt that it had been so bad.  After taking it for awhile again I know it is.

The same feeling occured when I took a 100 mcg cyanocobalamin tablet on an empty stomach.

There is a drink mix that in the recommended dose contains 100mcg.  I now realize I get a similar feeling even with one third the recommended dose.

As Rastar says, there are different kinds of B12.

A lozenge containing METHYLcobalamin B12 doesn't seem to have that effect on me  - but I wonder how much of it is getting into my system.  I plan to do some experimenting with methylcobalamin tablets that are to be swallowed.  There are also a few multivitamins and B-complex products on the internet that use it instead of CYANO that I might try.

If this is an allergy, according to the following web site, it could be an allergy to cyanocobalamin, the cobalamin part of it, or the cobalt part of it.  It seems to me that if the allergy is to the cobalamin part of B12 then the methyl form might have the same reaction in my body because they both have cobalamin.  It is interesting that as I am reading this blog while experimenting with B12 I am having an aggravating, recurrent skin problem which I don't think is related to cyanocobalamin or cobalt but who knows?

Allergy tests for cyanocobalamin and another form of B12, hydroxylcobalamin, can be done according to this web site.  They recommend allergy tests be given before starting B12 injections.

There is some interesting info out there on B12 - if true.  CYANOcobalamin in plants and animals is rare to none.  It is manufactured and used because our body can convert some of it to useful forms and because it is stable, cheap and has proven beneficial to a lot of people.

Good luck to all.
Avatar universal
I wonder is there a cobalt-free B12 because even though I've been getting the B12 injections monthly for the past three years, I think the repeated exposure to the cobalt may have made my reaction to the B12 stand out more than it may have before. I was tested in 2007 for contact allergies and was found to be allergic to latex (no surprise), nickel (found in nickels of all things and paper clips) and cobalt. I was also found to be allergic to some really long named ingredient in bath and body products that I've yet to actually find in them, but have since last year adhered to all-natural and organic bath and body products because sodium lauryl sulfate started to give me rashes. I am also allergic to the TB skin test which I found out could have either nickel or cobalt in it. My reactions to these products get worse with each exposure. So I guess the more recent exposures to the B12 shots could explain the fever I've had the past six weeks or so and the fact that I got nauseated yesterday and started to feel like my throat was swelling and still have a tingling lip this morning. But I would like to know if there is a cobalt-free B12 injection available as I've been told I cannot take the pill or lozenge form since I will not be able to absorb it due to having a history of H. pylori ulcers and some malabsorptions. Of course, I guess there's always prescription strength if one can be found that is indeed cobalt-free!
Avatar universal
I am allergic to Cobalt and I took B12 . I had anaphylaxis. ....BEWARE,,,,I started having hives and my lips and eyes were swollen several months before going into anaphylactic shock.

I had no idea that B12 was made from Cobalt!!!!!!!!

I too am searching for an alternative. My B12 level was 100.
Avatar universal
Had a course of seven Vitamin B12 injections over seven weeks about a month ago. Now I have skin spots at various parts of the body, arms, legs, neck, but mostly on the chest. They feel like insect bites and are very, very itchy. Parts of my forearms, chest and neck also feel "prickly." The itchy spots are reddish in colour and similar to "heat bumps" (as they were called when I was a child). I do know that I have a sensitivity to cobalt or perhaps an allergy, but this has persisted for so long - roughly three weeks now - that I'm rather disturbed it could be something else. I had a blood test two weeks ago by a urologist (during routine check-up) and also one done by my home doctor one week ago. Both did not reveal any viral/bacterial action. What could this be and please what can I do about this really upsetting itchiness?
Avatar universal
Hi, I have a B12 deficiency and was reacting to the b12 tablets with hives and itchy all over. I was tested for allergies and am allergic to the actual b12 itself and not the cobalt. Dont know what to do now.
Avatar universal
Hiya :) I have a very rare form of allergy to all b12 created out there.  It has my doctor stumped on how to help me.  I had a gastric bypass in 2000 and then discovered I have a severe allergic reaction to everything with b12 in it.  I cant even take the gummy vitamins darn it.  I get swelling and trouble breathing and the longer I take it, days not weeks or months the worse the symptoms.  Ive tried them all, the shot (just one cuz I scared my doctor with my reaction), the under the tongue pill that immediately put ulcers all over my mouth as well as shut my throat up, the nose spray that taking half a dose once a week caused heart attack like symptoms.  Im getting pretty desperate with the b12 issue and my wonderful doctor (and he seriously is) doesnt know how to help me and its frustrating him to no end.  Can b12 be made without Cobalt if that is what the allergy is to?
what ended up happening?
what happened?
I am so glad I found this site! I was told to take B12 pills years ago because of a deficiency in my blood count. The pills caused mouth sores, so they tried the shots. I still had mouth sores. I purposely don’t take a multivitamin to avoid B12. But recently I’ve found that eating foods listed as good sources of B12 cause problems. It’s so frustrating because eggs are my way to cut back on carb breakfasts. The mouth sores are so painful! This is the first place that ever mentioned them. My doctor doesn’t seem to know about this side effect in other people. I also have a nickel allergy, but like I mentioned, even food with high B12 which wouldn’t have cobalt and nickel, causes a problem.
Avatar universal
I am allergic to B12 as well. NO, B12 can not be made without the cobalt from what I have heard.. I am getting desperate with B12 issue as well. You are not alone. Have you found any new leads?
Avatar universal
i am allergic to cobalt,also. my b12 level is 114. I have been to lots of drs and have an appt at the Mayo Clinic in Oct. I hope they can help. I am very weak.I hope I can go. it is 3 hours travel. I will post if I get any encouraging info. This has been a nightmare.I have just been passed from dr to dr. I have metal crowns on several teeth and wonder if they have cobalt in them. i also have a nickle allergy. Does any one have any suggestions.

I have the same symptoms as MS and was told I probably had MS. Then I went to a Neurologist who said I don't have MS. I have an elevated ck530 so I was told I may have muscle problems...I think a low b12 could cause that...I have been trying to figure this out for 10 long years because I can not find a knowledgeable dr.
what happened?
6058513 tn?1378778765
I was hurt in the line of duty, after years of back treatments, my back just fell apart with a trauma scoliosis of about 45%, leading to screws and rods having to be put in my back.  From T4 all the way to S1.  From the beginning it just  too difficult in the healing process.  It's going on three years now and for about 1.5 years the rashes, the tiny bubble blisters, itching etc was relentless.  Finally a Patch test was done, and I am allergic to nickel, cobalt and palladium along with Class B cortisones which I was perscribed  to take for the rashes. Cobalt is in the screws that hold the rods together in my back (32 two of them to be exact).  What can be done to counter act this allergic reaction, as removing them doesn't seem to be an option, I almost didn't make through that surgery and nothing would be there to hold the rods in place if they were removed.  Please respond to me ASAP, as it's not getting any better.  Thank You
First of all thank you for your service to our country! I’m so sorry about the major surgery that you had to go through and they can’t replace the metal that you’re allergic to. I know it’s too late for you, but please spread the word when you know someone is having surgery. I know a man who had heart surgery and the metal wiring caused serious healing issues. They DID have to operate and remove the wiring that held his rib cage together, otherwise he would have died without the repair. Can they replace the screws in your back with a different kind of screws? I know I have nickel allergy and asked to be sewn closed after a surgery instead of metal staples. My mom had issues with metal staples. Make sure all of your metal allergies are  listed on your medical records and also on something in your wallet if you ever need emergency surgery. Many people have metal allergies and we all need to be proactive with surgeries. I wish you well. Hopefully they can replace the screws as that is the cause of your symptoms and pain.
Avatar universal
I started taking b12 injections in 2003 due to having an bowel resection.  I start giving myself the injection in 2007, I was giving the injections in my thigh.  The nurse demonstrated how to give myself the injection in my thigh, the very next day I couldn't get out of bed.  I notice an "stiffness" in my lower back and I could not stand up straight.  The pain started in my lower back and moved down my legs.  At first I didn't think it had anything to do with the b12 injection because I had been on the injection since 2003 although it was always given to me in my arms.  

Every month after I gave myself the b12 shot my symptoms were getting worse, the pain in my back was like nothing I've ever felt before and that's says a lot because I have kidney stones!  The pain always started in the lower back, then down my legs. After several days it would move to the other side of my body.  I was able to get out of bed due to the pain, I was unable to stand up straight. I could not walk without severe pain, it was painful to sit or reach for anything.  The symptoms lasted for 6-10 days and then the pain would disappear as quickly as it started.

I also, had rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath, I was very hyper and edgy.  My doctor was confuse because she felt it was impossible to be allergic to the b12 injection. After being told that I could not stop taking the b12, I continued them and after each injection my symptoms became worse.  I began to have "muscle dystonia", (sp?) my muscle in my stomach (walking muscle) would be "drawn" up to where I could not stand up!

I had so much damage done to my muscles that I had to go through physical therapy.  My PT said that my symptoms and x-rays were as if I had an "slip disc" (L-4).  But it only appeared after my b12 injection, and during the time that my "symptoms were active.  Now, if I bend over too much, use my leg to push something or do a lot of walking the symptoms will reappear and I'm "down" for a week or more.

When my doctor decided to give me the b12 nose spray, the muscles in my back, legs and stomach started again. Also, the muscles in my neck and throat started to "twist" to the point where I could not turn my head.  The muscles in my throat would not work properly, I had an hard time swallowing.  

Now, I'm having trouble taking multi-vitamins, after a few days of taking the "gummy" vitamins I had an hard time getting out of bed, especially in the mornings.  Once I noticed the b12 in the vitamin I knew they were the problem.  I don't where to go from here, I have no energy and I am having other symptoms related to b12 deficiency.

I have a lot of allergies "drug allergies" especially narcotics as well as food, nickel, hair dye, nuts, seafood. I've used all the "allergens" for years before I start having  reactions.  Any information would help!

Thank you.
Avatar universal
Hi, what you are experiencing as a negative side effect of vitamin B12 might be due to Methylation problems. Please research MTHFR and methylation. Some of the symptoms you are having happens when the methylation cycle in the body is not working properly for a long time, and after vitamin B12 and Folate are added to diet to fix things, the body goes through a lot of changes.
Avatar universal
52 year old male, living in New Zealand.
I too suffer a b12 allergy. My b12 has been low now for at least 5 years (hovering between 100 and 130 pmol [British measurement] normal = >140) but I am unable to take supplements, as I react. A b12 injection put me in bed for about a month with a bad reaction. About 16 months ago I started getting nerve symptoms .. numbness in fingers mainly. From that point I have made a concerted effort to try and get my b12 level up through diet ... liver, kidneys etc.It started off ok. In fact I almost immediately started feeling stronger. Oddly, my greying hair started to turn black and it stopped falling out. But then I noticed an increase in saliva and a continual rumbling in my stomach. Then my sinuses started clogging up with associated sneezing. When my b12 level got to about 155, that triggered the first attack (about 3 months from the start). I got raised extremely itchy spots in random parts of my body. My sinuses were very blocked. I got an extreme coldness, like something was pouring iced water into my veins. This intermingled with night sweats. Then my fingertips became very sensitive, like everything I touched caused pain. My hands and feet started going numb during sleep. After a few days, everything I touched felt like sandpaper, and my tongue felt the same against my teeth. I stopped taking b12 and gradually these symptoms subsided, although my touch has never been the same since. During the middle of this attack, my b12 reading was 185. After a few weeks it had retreated to about 135. My theory is the sweating is an attempt by my body to get rid of the b12.

Anyway, since then I have had 3 other attempts to get my b12 up. Every time ends the same way, and after each attack, my nerves are left in a worse state. Also after each attack, the threshold decreases as to how high my body will allow the reading to go. It is currently around 125, and am sweating as I am typing. My arms feel like lead, my nerves burn, especially at night. Also, I am currently reacting to even just a mouthful of steak. After an hour or so, that ice in veins feeling arrives, and it alternates with sort of cold sweats. My feet and hands go to sleep in the middle of the night, which is very uncomfortable. I am getting worse, but the worst thing is, there doesn't appear to be a damn thing I can do about it. It doesn't matter what b12 I use, methyl, unmethyl or just natural foods, the result is the same. I had an MMA done about 6 months ago, just after one of the attacks and it was 0.43 (normal <0.40). So it wasn't too bad, but that was at a time when I was supplementing. So I've had another done and am waiting for the results. After that, my doctor suggests seeing a specialist who will hopefully look at my total picture and see if we can somehow get my b12 up without reacting. I have seen 2 neurologists so far, and both have brushed off the allergy situation with a "sorry, that is not my field" comment.
If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.
Avatar universal
@ b12kiwi, that sounds terrible. To me it seems likely that having a lowish B12 level might be less worse in the long run then the symptoms you are getting from trying to raise it. I would suggest seeing a naturopath to discuss this issue.

Avatar universal
I am a 54 year old female who had a gastric bypass on 3 -2014 I was told I would have to have b-12 shots for the rest of my life OK didn't seem so bad . got my first shot 5-14-14 within 1/2 hour Ihad hives covering my body felt nauseated headache and diarrhea right after. I took prednisone for 5 days it had started to go away as soon as prednisone was out of system the rash and sick feelings came back. I went to see an allergist and he thinks I am allergic to cobalt can anyone tell me what to expect next? Is there a b-12 made without cobalt? What happens if there isn't one? Please help me figure out what happens next.
Avatar universal
Try NAET. Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Techniques..... www.naet.com
Avatar universal
May I ask how you are doing? I'm scheduled for gastric bypass in 3 weeks and I know I have a colbalt allergy so think I may need to cancel. My Dr. didn't connect cobalt to B12 so I'm researching pretty much on my own to see if there is anything else to take.  
Avatar universal
May I ask how you are doing? I'm scheduled for gastric bypass in 3 weeks and I know I have a colbalt allergy so think I may need to cancel. My Dr. didn't connect cobalt to B12 so I'm researching pretty much on my own to see if there is anything else to take.  
Avatar universal
Were you still taking b12 when u went into shock?
Avatar universal
You need a biopsy, you may have morphea, or the beginnings of morphea I'm guessing. I'm allergic to cobalt as well. Morphea is extremely rare, your doctor won't know much, you will be on your own, but there are good groups on Facebook for new information.
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