Most people are familiar with B12 supplements coming in the form of oral or sublingual tablets, or even the more old-fashioned injections. But you can actually get all the vitamin B12 your body needs from skin patches.
This relatively unknown method of supplementation is becoming more and more popular, especially as skin patches have a number of advantages over the alternatives.
Prevent B12 Deficiency
Like any genuine B12 supplement, vitamin B12 patches will provide you with enough cobalamin (the other name for B12) to keep your body fit and healthy. So if you’re worried that you might be at risk of B12 deficiency, then skin patches are a safe option – they’re certainly not just some useless gimmick and they definitely do work.
What if you’ve already been diagnosed with B12 deficiency or you suspect you have it? Again, skin patches will work. Lots of people think that patches won’t work as well as tablets, but there’s no evidence that skin patches are any less effective – in fact, it’s exactly the opposite!
Skin patches are tiny, and are normally placed behind the ear. You only have to do this once a day, and usually only one day a week. Once you’ve stuck the patch on, you can forget all about needing to take supplements for another week. No more worrying about whether pills should be taken before or after food, how many you should take etc. Just stick on a patch and forget about it. What could be easier?
The main exception is for people with particularly oily or sweaty skin. If this is you, then you might have trouble getting a B12 patch to stick and stay there, in which case in might be best to look at the alternatives like oral tablets or sublingual pills.
You should also be aware that not all vitamin B12 patches are waterproof, so you might have to take them off before showering or swimming.
Safe and Effective
Transdermal skin patches of various kinds have been on the market since the 1980s. Even that only happened after many years of clinical trials and safety testing, so you can be sure that there’s no risk from vitamin B12 skin patches.
B12 patches work in exactly the same way as the nicotine patches that we’re all familiar with. They’re also just as effective, although obviously the end goal is different!
No Problems With Absorption
As you get older, your ability to absorb B12 gradually declines. This is one of the most common reasons for people to suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency, and it’s for this reason that everyone over the age of 50 is recommended to take B12 supplements.
If you take oral tablets, they have to pass through your digestive system before any of the cobalamin is absorbed into your bloodstream. With sufficiently high oral doses, it is possible even for patients with extremely poor B12 absorption to get enough of this essential vitamin. But why worry about whether or not you’ll be getting enough?
By using B12 skin patches, the vitamin goes directly into your bloodstream where it’s needed, without having to worry about passing through the potentially problematic digestive system. This makes skin patches an ideal choice for many patients suffering from pernicious anemia or anything else that impairs B12 absorption.
Because the B12 in skin patches passes straight into the bloodstream, you’ll get the full available dose from your supplement (just like you would with an injection). This often isn’t the case with other forms of supplementation like pills and tablets because so much B12 can be lost in the digestive tract.
This means that for some people, using a B12 patch could give you up to ten times the amount of B12 that you might get from an oral tablet of the same dose. So you don’t have to use your patches as often as you would take the tablets.
Also, we’ve talked before about the risks of overdosing on B12. Basically, there is no risk – it’s pretty much impossible, so don’t worry about it. If you’re not convinced, read this!
If you take vitamin B12 tablets, there’s a delay of a few hours before your body gets any of the vitamin, and then it all comes at once. With skin patches, the B12 is released gradually over the course of 24 hours, and it starts flowing as soon as you put the patch on. Definitely a big improvement!
Despite all the advantages of vitamin B12 patches, they won’t cost you any more than oral or sublingual tablets, or any of the other options. The cost per skin patch is certainly more than the cost per tablet, but you need far fewer patches to meet your B12 needs, so the prices even out.
Choosing a B12 Patch
As with any vitamin B12 supplement, we always recommend choosing a product that contains methylcobalamin, the natural form of vitamin B12. (You can find out why here!)
These are the B12 patches that we recommend. They’re vegan B12 patches and they contain methylcobalamin as the active ingredient. They also include an excellent complex of other B-vitamins, so you can just use one patch and forget about taking other B-vitamin supplements.
From top to bottom, images are courtesy of Sura Nualpradid, Stuart Miles, kibsri, voraorn, Baitong333 and digitalart, all at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.