Vitamin B12 Toothpaste in Germany

A vitamin B12 toothpaste in Germany, developed in conjunction with the German Vegetarian Society, successfully improved vitamin B12 status (link: B12 toothpaste makes vegans smile).

Since people brush their teeth two times or more per day (one would hope), toothpaste can be a good way to get B12 multiple times a day. And because vitamin B12 is much better absorbed in multiple doses throughout the day, toothpaste could enhance absorption over eating B12 only once per day (or less). I am somewhat surprised that enough B12 is swallowed from toothpaste to make it a reliable source, but assuming their data was accurate, it appears plenty is absorbed.

Maybe it will come to the U.S. soon…

Thanks, Chris!

13 Responses to “Vitamin B12 Toothpaste in Germany”

  1. Matt Says:

    Jack,

    could the B12 not be sublingual?

  2. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Helen and Matt,

    Since the one study I’m aware of comparing sublingual B12 to swallowed B12 found no difference between the two, I am skeptical that B12 is absorbed in the mouth:

    http://jacknorrisrd.com/?p=2854

    But I suppose it’s possible and that would explain the results of the absorption from toothpaste.

  3. Jack Norris RD Says:

    I was thinking more about the study I referenced comparing sublingual to swallowing and my assumption that if B12 was absorbed sublingually, the results would have been better for sublingual is not correct. It could be that, for example, 75% was absorbed sublingually and 25% was absorbed in the intestines once swallowed. And combining that idea with the results of the toothpaste test, there seems to be (very slowly) mounting evidence that B12 can be absorbed in the mouth.

  4. Helen Says:

    I heard it supposedly possible to absorb vitamin B12 via the oral mucosa. So it doesn’t have to be swallowed.

    This is the study that is linked on the wikipedia article to that topic: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.0954-6820.1968.tb02452.x/abstract

  5. Mihl Says:

    I bought this toothpaste and I was a bit bummed about the fact that they don’t mention how much B12 they added to the toothpaste. Therefore I still take my B12 supplements.

  6. KMR Says:

    After reading this post, I ordered some of this from Roots of Compassion, a UK webstore, and with shipping, it came to around $17 USD for three tubes. Not cheap, but not that much more than the xylitol toothpaste we normally ordered online.

  7. Ava Odoémena Says:

    @Mihl,

    I checked for you and discovered on the site of VEBU that 1 gramm of toothpaste contains 100µg B12.

    This would also explain the results not actually relying on sublingual absorption, as unwillingly some saliva makes its way to the digestion tract. Apparently enough, to allow sufficient B12 to be absorbed, most likely via “intrinsic factor”.

    Which makes me wonder. If someones intrinsic factor is impaired for whatever reason, must they rely on “passive resorption” (as the “leaking” passage through the walls of the small intestine is called in German), thus take at least 10µg per day? It shouldn’t be relevant, as supplemental B12 is available in an already soluble form, not bound in proteins.

    Jack? 😉

  8. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Ava,

    10 µg isn’t anywhere near enough for someone who has impaired intrinsic factor. I’d recommend 2,000 µg per day for such people.

  9. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Ava,

    Whoops. I just saw that I left out a critical word from my comment above. I had said, “10 µg isn’t anywhere near enough for someone who has intrinsic factor.” I meant to say “impaired intrinsic factor”. I have now fixed the comment above.

  10. Idan Says:

    Got a b12 question – lately i heard from more than one doctor that the b12 test is “faking” when you take sub-lingual supplement and that you need to stop taking it before a test for a “true” result.

    Today on a vegan forum one doctor told a patient that she should stop taking supplement for 3 months until the next test .

    Do you think there is any reason to stop taking the supplement before a test ?

  11. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Idan,

    What are they trying to find out from measuring the B12 levels? Someone’s B12 levels will be affected by their supplementation, of course. So, if you go 3 months without taking B12, then pop a B12 pill right before a test, that test will reflect a higher level than what it would have been before you took the B12 pill. And testing someone’s B12 levels after not taking a supplement for 3 months shows what their B12 levels are after not taking a supplement for 3 months.

    More info on getting tested for vitamin B12: http://veganhealth.org/b12/tested

  12. Idan Says:

    I’m not sure about this , one theory i heard is that high b12 levels in the blood don’t necessarily reflect high b12 stores in the body – So the idea is to test the b12 stores – I’m not sure this theory makes any sense but its weird since more than one doctor was saying to stop taking the supplement before a test and i’m trying to figure out if there’s a good reason for this .

  13. Jack Norris RD Says:

    Idan,

    Well if you don’t have any B12 for 3 months, you can rest assured your tissues won’t be getting enough.

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