Can Anesthesia Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Can Anesthesia Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

General anesthesia is the most common type of anesthesia in both elective and emergency surgeries. Every day, many patients referred to clinics and hospitals are operated on under general anesthesia. Nitrous oxide is an inhalation anesthetic agent, which is commonly used in general anesthesia. Evidence suggests exposure to this anesthetic agent, either during an operation or constantly in the workplace (i.e. staff working in the operating room) can possibly cause various complications such as bone marrow suppression, polyneuropathy, postoperative nausea and vomiting, pulmonary hypertension and hyperhomocysteinemia. It is currently accepted that nitrous oxide inactivates cobalamin also known as vitamin B12, through irreversible oxidation of the cobalt atom of vitamin B12. This can lead to serious issues in individuals with low or borderline B12 levels that are undergoing general anesthesia where nitrous oxide is used. 

Risk & Complications of Nitrous Oxide-Induced Vitamin B12 Deficiency

When B12 is inactivated by nitrous oxide general anesthesia cobalamin-dependent enzymes, namely methionine synthase are inhibited, the ability of the individual cells to produce methionine an essential amino acid required for many healthy functions of your body is impaired. Methionine is made from homocysteine and lack of B12 causes this to be impaired, and consequently plasma levels of the precursor product homocysteine continue to increase. Since homocysteine has atherogenic properties that can lead to endothelial dysfunction, its higher plasma levels augment the risk of myocardial infarction or stroke, particularly in individuals with cardiovascular risk factors or borderline B12 deficiency. Therefore, the effects of elevated plasma homocysteine levels are especially important in cardiac patients. Moreover, hyperhomocysteinemia after nitrous oxide exposure can increase cardiovascular complications and postoperative complications including severe nausea and vomiting, respiratory complications, and wound infection. So, lets make sure that your B12 dose is optimized prior to any surgeries.

Can vitamin B12 be given intravenously?

Vitamin IV Drip or intravenous drip is considered the gold standard of vitamin delivery to the body and used in most hospitals for fast vitamin delivery to the deficient patient. Since most people are fed up with swallowing their vitamins, the intravenous (IV) drip is a great alternative. An IV drip can thoroughly hydrate your body with the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids you need with a close to 100% absorption rate.

While there are many amazing benefits getting IV B12 drip, we do find some downsides that are worth reviewing before signing up for an IV B12 therapy:

  1. Administered with a Needle: If you suffer from aichmophobia (the fear of needles), you may find that IV drips are not really your most comfortable option and some individuals are at risk of IV site infection and blood clot.
  2. Time to Infuse: The IV vitamin drip usually takes 45-60 minutes to infuse. For many of us, time is of the essence, making this a lengthy process to build into your vitamin-and-mineral regimen. Especially since it is not available everywhere and you must drive to the location that offers the IV drip.
  3. Medical Costs: Since most people do not know how to administer their own IV drips, it is best to get it done by an experienced professional. As a result, the treatment will quickly become quite costly.
  4. Steroids: Some IV infusion centers have taken it upon themselves to add a steroid cocktail as an anti-inflammatory to the mix of their vitamin therapies. This can be added even without the end user's knowledge. Excessive steroid injections can cause major health issues overall.

Intramuscular Injections (IM) Therapies.

Another alternative is to have an injection, many are familiar with B12 shots provided at many clinics. However, lack of convenience or availability, pain, risk of infection at site of the injection and the need for continued injections make this route also not very appealing. 

How to Choose a Vitamin B12 Supplement

If you take vitamin B12 orally vitamin B12 requires to be bound to a protein called Intrinsic Factor (IF) to be absorbed into our body. So that is another hurdle that we must overcome to absorb B12. As we age our body makes less and less IF and hence, we absorb less B12. Many complain of chronic fatigue or tiredness as they reach their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s and worsens with advancing age. Hence many choose to absorb their B12 under the tongue “sublingual” and avoid all the issues with swallowing and poor absorption.


If you’re not consuming enough B12 in your daily diet, you can get it in other ways, such as via oral supplements, injections, or IV infusions.

Vitamin B12 supplements are readily available and affordable. However, the body metabolizes only part of the B12 pill, and that’s after it goes through the digestive system first. Injections are another quick and easy option, though some people may be squeamish about an injection. These shots can also cause side effects, such as diarrhea or body swelling.

A vitamin B12 intravenous administration is just as effective as an IV injection because it goes straight to the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system. An infusion takes a little longer than an injection—a typical session lasts about 30 to 45 minutes—but many people find it to be a more comfortable experience. However, during a vitamin B12 IV session, a medical professional must be present.

Always tell your doctor about any vitamins and supplements you take or plan to take.

Your physician may be able to advise you about which ones are appropriate and whether they will interact with your current medication.

We at Frunutta provide our consumers with the cleanest and purest B12 Vitamin tablets, which absorb under the tongue, without concern for lack of absorption through the intestinal tract or requiring a shot or intravenous injection.

Please consult with your Doctor about Frunutta’s Under the Tongue B12 and see if it is the right B12 for you.

We at Frunutta strive to make your hectic life a little easier and healthier!

This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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