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You Ask, I Answer: Sublingual Vitamins

3291The vitamin B12 supplement I take is sublingual.

The instructions say to place the pill under your tongue and let it dissolve.

Most times, I forget and let it dissolve on top of my tongue.  Am I not getting any B12 when I do this?

– Kate (last name withheld)
Petaluma, CA

No need to worry.

When it comes to B12, it has been theorized sublingual doses are optimal since they are absorbed through the oral mucosa (rather than having to go through the gastrointestinal tract).

One of the supposed “advantages” is faster absorption, though I can’t fathom why absorbing vitamin B12 immediately is better to absorbing it in a matter of hours.

In any case, a study published in the 2003 issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology compared the efficacy of sublingual versus standard oral vitamin B12 supplements and found they both did the job equally well.



  1. Rob said on February 24th, 2010

    For RNY bariatric patients, the sublingual are important (according to the folks at my surgeon’s office) because with the intestinal bypass, we wouldn’t be able to properly absorb from an oral supplement.

    One trick to try if you have trouble keeping it under your tongue it to tuck it between your cheek and gum.

  2. Andy Bellatti said on February 24th, 2010


    You are absolutely right regarding post-bariatric patients and intestinal absorption issues. For the general population, though, sublingual vs. standard oral dosage is not a concern.

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