I am a 59-year-old male. Is it ok to take 600 mcg a day of vitamin B12?
At a glance
- Most healthy people require on average 2.4 mcg Vitamin B12 each day.
- There is no maximum daily intake of B12 established.
- The body only absorbs as much B12 as it needs and the rest is excreted in the urine.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin essential for red blood cell production, neurologic function, and synthesis of DNA.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance, the average amount of B12 required for most healthy people, is 2.4 mcg per day. There is no maximum intake level of B12 established in any age group.
Vitamin B12 is a 'water-soluble' vitamin and is quite safe, regardless of the dose you take. The body only absorbs as much B12 as it needs and then excretes the rest in the urine (which is why you may notice your urine being bright yellow after consuming more of the vitamin than your body absorbs).
The body is capable of storing B12, so deficiency is somewhat rare, but certain circumstances and conditions may increase the risk of B12 deficiency. For instance, individuals following a vegan or vegetarian diet (B12 is not present in plants), those with certain digestive tract conditions, and patients using certain medications may be at increased risk of developing B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is treated with high doses of injectable, intranasal, or oral B12 at doses up to 1 mg (1,000 mcg).
So, to answer your question, taking 600 mcg of Vitamin B12 is fine for someone of your age, especially if you are at risk of being deficient.
As mentioned, vitamin B12 supplementation is generally considered to be safe, even at high doses. Nevertheless, there are some reported mild adverse reactions with very high doses, including: