Written by: Kari Haberman, Licensed DPT
Vitamin B12 Dosage for Sciatica
Vitamin B12 can be found in various foods including animal products including meat, eggs and dairy.
There are also fortified cereals that contain vitamin B12 as well as fortified milk.
Seafood like salmon and tuna are also great sources of vitamin B12.
If there is not enough vitamin B12 in your diet, there are opportunities for supplements.
This can include injections as well as oral medications.
The standard dose is dependent on why a person is not getting enough vitamin B12 in their diet.
If someone is not getting enough because of poor nutrition and diet, their dose could be different from someone who is not getting enough because they are poorly absorbing the vitamin.
In general, the standard need for vitamin B12 is 2.5 micrograms daily.
It is important to remember to speak to your doctor before starting any supplement.
Your provider will want to figure out the reason for the vitamin B12 deficiency before you determine how you will receive a supplement and how much to receive.
Vitamin B12 and Sciatica
Vitamin B12 Benefits for Back Pain
Vitamin B12 is responsible for creating the myelin sheath around our nerves. Essentially, this can be thought of like the sausage casing on the outside of a sausage.
It protects the inside against pressure, friction, etc.
Having strong protection around the nerves are especially important in back pain.
Back pain, including sciatic pain, is very often caused by friction or damage to sciatic nerve that starts from the spinal cord and extends all the way down the back of the leg.
There are various studies that demonstrate that taking Vitamin B12 supplements can decrease the severity of sciatica.
Adding a B12 supplement is a noninvasive and relatively inexpensive way to decrease low back pain.
Link between Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Sciatica
When you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, your body is either not getting enough of the vitamin or is not able to absorb what you are ingesting.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can have various complications in the body.
On average, adults need around 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day according to the Cleveland Clinic. Vitamin B12 deficiency is found in approximately 6% of people who are over 60 years of age.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can include fatigue and weight loss as well as numbness or tingling in extremities and feelings of depression.
Physiologically, one of the big consequences of vitamin B12 deficiency is demyelination of the nerves. Read below for more information on this process in the body.
Can B12 Deficiency Cause Back Pain or Sciatica?
It is unclear if Vitamin B12 deficiency can be directly correlated as a cause of sciatica. They are certainly linked, but a direct cause and effect has not be established yet.
However, a 2022 study showed that "Peripheral neuropathy is the most common presentation of vitamin B12 deficiency. Depending upon the type of nerve involved, it may present as pain, numbness, tingling, loss of sensation, decreased motor activity, or decreased muscle mass."
Sciatica is not, by definition, a peripheral neuropathy but sciatica does present a similar mechanism of action as well as patient symptoms.
In that case, it makes sense that vitamin B12 deficiency might be a trigger for sciatica.
As noted, taking a vitamin B12 supplement, assuming that it is approved by your medical practitioner, is a great way to prevent and/or decrease sciatic back pain.
This is because we know the link between vitamin B12 and nerve health has been proven.
In conclusion, speaking to your provider about starting a vitamin B12 supplement is a great idea if you suffer from sciatica.
This is a non-invasive and relatively inexpensive way to try to combat nagging back pain that could impact your quality of life.