Injectable Vitamin B12

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

We received an inquiry from a vegan who was considering taking injectable vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin). Before starting treatment she wanted to be sure that it was derived from a non-animal source and that no animal products had been involved in manufacture. The VRG contacted several suppliers and manufacturers of injectable vitamin B12 in June and July 2013 to find out.

An American Regent pharmacist told us that the injectable vitamin B12 that they carry “…is manufactured in China and put in vials in the United States.” She didn’t know how it was produced and stated that she could not find out.

APP Pharmaceuticals also sells vitamin B12. A clinical/technical support representative told us that their injectable vitamin B12 is “… a fermentation product made using microorganisms…milk/egg is not present in the product as potential allergens...” After requesting more information from their vendor regarding genetic modifications and growth media, the same clinical/technical support representative called us back to say that their vendor replied by email stating that the injectable vitamin B12 is “acceptable for vegan use…contains no milk/egg in final product. Genetic engineering is used, but the final product is GMO-free.”

The medical information department at Sandoz Canada told The VRG by phone that their injectable vitamin B12 is made by “a fermentation process without animal components.” The representative told us that she couldn’t access any more information.

Canadian Cytex Pharmaceuticals stated that their injectable vitamin B12 is a “fermentation product from bacteria…the bacteria have been genetically engineered…no dairy or egg is used in the growth media. [The vitamin B12] is made in Italy.”

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including The Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company employees or company statements. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.