Can I safely give small amounts of methylcobalamin to a 3-year-old?

Hello all,

So can I give methyl B12 to e 3-year-old (just put a sprinkle of my powdered methylcobalamin in his milk)?

Also can you recommend good brands of kids' vitamins containing methylcobalamin?

I have been browsing in search of such but the only methylcobalamin I've found is in kids' multi-vitamins which also contain rather high doses of vitamin A and I would like to avoid that for the time being.

Could you please PM me to recommend some methylcobalamin for children, or multi-vitamins containing methyl B12 and folate (not folic acid)?

We don't have pernicious anaemia. At least I don't know of such.

I am supplementing with B12 due to Hashimoto's.

My 3-year-old is a really, really picky eater, he eats almost nothing, it seems to me I have tried anything under the sun to make him like food. The only thing left is B12 for boosting appetite.

Thank you,

Yuliana

P.S. Also is there a brewer's or nutritional yeast containing the active forms of B12 and folate? I know most yeasts have B12 added, so its cyancobalamin... I am looking for methylcobalamin and folate.

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  • I honestly don't know about the safety of what you are proposing.

    Is there a particular reason why you are so wedded to methylated forms - most people have no problems converting unmethylated to methylated forms.

    I would also be a little uncomfortable personally with recommending high dose B12 supplementation in the absense of a B12 absorption problem just because of that it might raise levels to point where a functonal deficiency might occur - though its not clear how common that reaction is or what genetic and other factors are invovled.

  • Yes, I do have MTHFR and MTRR mutations, I forgot to mention that. I am sure I have passed them down to my kids. I don't know whether my husband has any of them but even if he doesn't, kids get 50% of genes from one parent.

  • I know methylated forms of B12 are pushed a lot in reference to MTHFR and MTRR but that doesn't actually mean they are necessary and some people can react quite badly to the methylated forms and need to build up to using them. I personally suspect that I have problems converting methyl to adenosyl - the other form that the body needs as methyl works for me on some symptoms but is totally useless in relation to others. you may need slightly more of unmethylated forms of B12 if you have these genetic variants but it doesn't mean that methylated forms are necessary or even the best way to go..

  • Gambit62, last year I experienced a strong reaction to cyancobalamin injections (24-hour diahorrea and vomitting). I didn't have a deficiency however my doctor decided that I needed injections as I was 6 months pregnant at that time and my B12 was low normal - 220 (140-490). When I am not pregnant, it hovers about 300, which is still low.

    I was not aware of adenosyl. Thank you for the information

  • sorry to hear about the reaction - though the reaction isn't what I would have expected for a reaction to cyanocobalamin and may have been a reaction to something else in the injection ... or may have been a co-incidence.

    300 may be perfectly okay for you - people vary a lot in how much B12 they actually need ... and pregnancy can result in abnormally low levels because B12 is being used by the foetus.

    question: what symptoms of B12 deficiency do you actually have as that is actually a much better guide than test results?

    pernicious-anaemia-society....

  • It was not a coincidence unfortunately. I had 3 1000 mcg injections cyancobalamin. After the first one I felt a little nauseous. After the second one I experienced mild diahorrea. After the third one I was as good as dead. They were applied at a 7-day interval.

    I don't think I have symptoms of B12 deficiency. I have only my hypothyroidism symptoms which are so clear-cut ( they all disappear when my FT3 level is high) that I think it is only them.

    Also my hemoglobin has always been about 14.0.

    Also I don't feel anything when supplementing with B12. I feel the same. Some people report feeling more energetic and so on...

    I supplement to make my thyroid therapy work. It does not.

  • Hi YulianaRossenova an interesting question. I'm sure Marmite contains B12 at 0.5μg per serving giving 25% RDA

    you either love it or hate it.

    I love it :)

  • Thank you!

    Is it offered online? I am from Bulgaria and just read it's an UK yeast. Wasn't able to find it online.

  • apologies - thought I'd posted but see it didn't work.

    Marmite is a very big brand in the UK but not really known or available outside the UK. Vegemite (which started as the Australian equivalent) tends to be a bit more widely available internationally.

    Marmite (and vegemite) are things that you do tend to either love or hate so, if you can find it - worth trying but it may be that it's added to the list of banned food items at first bite.

    both seem to be available via mail order on amazon in the UK and also on amazon.de

  • I am going to try find it. Thank you.

  • I also have that gene mutation and haven't had my son tested yet. I let him have marmite but I'm also aware that folic acid is very bad for people with mthfr, as they can't process it. I guess the only way to find out if we need to take action is by getting them tested. I plan to do a 23andme test on him, as I could be worrying unnecessarily 🤔

  • I am planning to get my kids tested too, especially the girl. :( Do you suffer from autoimmune conditions?

  • I'm with Gambit62 on this one.

    If you have Hashimoto's then you have an autoimmune condition...and this could mean that either of your children could (but not necessarily) also develop an autoimmune condition could.

    If you supplement with B12 (or any vitamins minerals) the results of any blood tests your children may need (should they become unwell) would be skewed and a proper diagnosis would not be possible. This would inevitably result in a delay to any treatment that might be needed. We see many instances here where people supplement with B12 and are then unable to get a diagnosis or, more importantly, any treatment...even thought they clearly need it.

    It's also worth noting that it's very easy to over-supplement without realising it - especially with children. And high levels of many vitamins can produce symtpoms and side effects that can at best, be debilitating and at worse, dangerous.

    Really really think you would have more peace of mind (and security) if you saw a GP to discuss any concerns you may have.

    Good luck...hope all goes well 👍

  • I have 3 autoimmune conditions. None of my family has any. I guess I've inherited a bad combination of genes.

    What if he needs supplementing? And I am sure he does. He eats almost nothing and has been like this sine 18 months old.

  • YulianRossenova. Really,sorry, but my answer would be the same as above. If this has been going on for so long, it really would be worth discussing it with a doctor. Especially if you son is failing to thrive and is not eating.

    At lease that you you could be reassured that there is not an underlying autoimmune (or other ) medical condition and the doctor could advise / prescribe appropriate supplements if he needs them.

    It's worth noting that if he is underweight or small for his age, then children's multi-vitamins (or other preparations) may contain vitamin doses that are too high for him (since dose for children is often prescribed by weight).

    Really hope that you find a solution soon.

    Very best of luck 👍

  • I have discussed it with so many doctors... They just shrug shoulders and say he doesn't like eating... which of course I don't believe is the case. They just don't care when they don't know the answer to something, or ascribe it to someone's character or depression. lol.

    I have had him tested for Celiac's, he does not have it. He just does not eat.

  • I feel for you, a nightmare when a child won't eat. I used to grind up children's vitamins and hide them in milk shakes. How is the weight, and height weight ratio?

    Will he eat cake?

  • It is a real nightmare indeed! He is 28 pounds, 41 inches (3'4'') at 3 years and 3 months old, so too skinny. He hardly puts any weight. Drinking milk is the only thing he does. Sometimes he would go days without eating anything, just milk. :(

  • Hi Yuliana. I have just ordered a multi for my 5 year old daughter - it's dr mercola's on amazon. It only has 20% of vit A and the daily dose is in 2 tablets so you may be ok giving just one a say, to keep the dosage lowered.

    Like you, I've been searching for methylcobalamin and folate for kids, which are hard to find as most supplements have cyanocobalamin and folic acid. There was one more brand but that had artificial sweeteners in it. I have hashimoto and both my parents and their families have autoimmune diseases, like you I am working in the basis my daughter is highly likely to have inherited a predisposition for autoimmune. I've been deficient in a lot of nutrients myself and so I would like to prevent it in her.

  • Hah, Sybilla14, Dr Mercola's vitamins is the thing I am going to order if I don't find anything else. Thank you very much!

    I think many products on amazon are shipped restrictively to the USA and Canada. I may try iherb.

  • Hi Yuliana. I'm in the uk and use amazon.co.uk. I had no problems with having things delivered by them to my family in Poland, it was a pretty quick delivery too.

    The mercola vits are arriving today so I will see how my daughter takes to them but they seem to have good reviews overall.

  • Thank you, Sybilla14!

    Maybe I will to order some next week.

  • Hi Yuliana.My daughter does not seem to be overly keen on the flavour but she's happy enough if she can have a bit of milk to change the taste and help swallow (it actually gives me a good opportunity to mix in some probiotics 😉). It has orange flavour but not an artificial type. One thing I did not notice when I was buying these is that some of the pill ingredients are organic. They really get my thumbs up as I've not found anything with better ingredients and I hope my daughter will eventually get used to the flavour.

    Good luck with your son, hope he gets on with them well and that they'll help.

  • Thank you once again, Sybilla, for sharing all this information with me.

  • My brother scarcely ate anything whilst he was growing up and my neice was the same - chocolate was about it for my neice. My brother had an argument with a cyclist when he was about 9 which resulted in a broken leg that took 11 months to heal - only way my mother could get milk into him was to have it extremely cold and bribe him with a piece of shortbread.

    Don't want to dismiss your concerns - because it is very frightening - but it just is the case that some children really don't seem to want to eat. My brother started to make up for not eating when he was in his late 20s and is now a bit at the other extreme. Niece is still a bit fussy about food but does eat a good variety - she's late teens now.

    Sometimes it is about texture of food, sometimes its about taste ... my brother likes to think that it was my mother's cooking which was very much of the 'boil it until all the taste has gone' school but don't think it can be that - I just remember being hungry all the time as a kid and rarely feeling I'd had enough when I got down from the table.

  • Sounds a bit reassuring. lol :)

  • I remember his mother in law (Russian) seeing a photo of him from his graduation - of course she has always known him after he discovered food and put on weight in his late 20s/30s - she was shocked as he looked like he'd come out of a concentration camp he was so thin when he was younger.

    All you can really do is focus on trying to ensure that your boy is getting enough of what he needs, even if it does involve some bribes with other foods that may not be ideal.

    Does he spend time with other children - may be eating with some others of similar age might help with improving his eating habits.

  • Ha-ha, that's exactly what he looks like. Although being thin runs in my family. I am 5"11', 129 lbs. However, he does NOT eat.

    Spending time with other children and looking at them eating works only towards enhancing his desire for junk food. lol. I am trying to keep that at bay.

  • suspect that you may need to give in - or dress the food you are giving him as if it is junk food.

    My niece used to love going to a local Indian restaurant but she hated spices and would always just have a plate of boiled rice.

    Strange creatures!

  • Indeed, they are strange!

    My son likes mushrooms. That's the only thing he likes actually.

    He does not want even chocolate anymore...

  • You may need to try elimination of foodstuffs first before any supplementation. Eliminate singularly; gluten and any gluten products, Milk and milk products, sugars. all processed foods and drinks. If no success consult specialist GP.

  • Dulaigh, I have tried eliminating gluten and milk (not milk products). It has not been possible. That's a very hard task to accomplish especially when kids go to kinder garden or school. Or even at the playground - I cannot jump at every kid offering him something with gluten or milk in it.

    He drinks very little cow's milk.

  • Hi, just to warn you beforehand, this is a very long post and I talk about amino acids, some stuff about the psychology of food, and how ideas such as finding things to add to his milk and how to do so in ways that he will not notice. So if you're up for a long read, get yourself a coffee as this might turn out to be a book chapter...

    I find your desire to supplement before any testing cause for serious concern. Not least for the reason someone stated above that unnecessary supplements could actually be problematic where test results are concerned. More than that, though, they can be harmful in themselves. Admittedly you would have to consume absurd amounts - and there is no dangerous limit of B12 - but you should only add supplements that are necessary, not just what you think seems important. Children and adults have different dietary needs, and even without that fact, animal milk itself is a rich source of B12 so if he's drinking lots of it he's not going to need extra unless he has a malabsorption problem, in which case he would need injections as those of us who cannot absorb dietary B12, even in foods with very high bioavailability, would need to consume around 1000 times as much as someone without an absorption issue because we still absorb between 0.1 and 1% of dietary B12. I.e. instead of one steak I would have to eat the whole cow. I was virtually addicted to milk as a kid and didn't develop a B12 deficiency until I was in my mid to late thirties. Seriously, it's worrying that you're talking like this.

    I presume you're talking about cows milk? This is an odd one because whilst goats milk is better for humans because it's easier to digest, causes fewer problems, and tastes virtually the same, cows milk has much higher levels of cobalamin. So if it's cows milk, he seriously does not need B12 supplements of ANY sort. I would seriously advise consulting a dietician - not a nutritionist because - here in the UK at least - anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, but dietician is a protected title, which means you need to be educated in nutrition to degree level and not just be full of opinions that could be dangerous and wrong.

    Like one nutritionist I could name who was famously promoting drinking your own urine. There's a reason it's a waste product, and whilst it's true that we do excrete valuable vitamins and minerals in our urine, we also excrete a lot of toxins, so any benefit gained from reclaiming the lost vitamins and minerals is more than cancelled by the toxins consumed. This is an extreme example, but I use it to illustrate the dangers of unqualified advice. The internet if full of really solid, evidence based information, but it's got far more useless rubbish and worst of all, it's also full of dangerous crap - learning to tell the difference is something they really need to start teaching in schools now that kids grow up online.

    Sure, some nutritionists are very well educated and some dieticians are biased about certain ways of eating - I've met ones, for example, who are really contemptuous of vegans forcing their dietary choice on their kids, but my niece and nephew are now in their mid twenties, are both very healthy people with brilliant minds and other than some occasional ice cream, milk chocolate, and egg in cakes, have eaten no animal products in their lives, BUT this is only because my sister and her husband really knew what they were doing through committing to learning about child nutrition having first started by consulting experts (they had a head start being vegans themselves since the 1980s when it was still a marginal diet where you had to do your homework to stay healthy) - they didn't just guess at it because the health of their children was at stake. It sounds like you're just guessing, so get some professional advice.

    My field is psychology not nutrition or physiology but I have a bit of professional training in the latter and have done a fair amount of proper research in both. Cow's milk is not the greatest thing to consume lots of for some people as it can trigger all sorts of allergies and potentially lead to other problems, but it's only a maybe - most people whose ethnicity is that of a culture with a long history of milk consumption are fine (by contrast, lactose intolerance is very high in east Asia because milk has not been part of the diet in many cultures for hundreds of generations so genetic mutations have moved against milk whereas the opposite is true in places like India and Northern Europe).

    If your boy will drink lots of cows milk and has no related health issues, he's clearly fine with it, and that's a great starting point because it's a food in itself but it's also something you can add a vast range of things to BUT YOU DO NOT NEED TO GIVE HIM EXTRA B12! Not unless he has clear symptoms of deficiency. I hear your point about appetite, but I really don't think this is something you should be guessing at. True, there is no such thing as a dangerous level of B12, as I said above. - unlike vitamin A, for example, which too much of can cause liver scaring - otherwise known as sclerosis - but you would need to be eating literally 30 kilos of carrots every day for years to achieve that. Although thanks to the wonders of supplements anyone could achieve a vitamin A overdose with relative ease; but who ever thinks that you could get sclerosis of the liver from "healthy eating"!?

    I might sound like I'm being facetious but I am doing so to make a very serious point: too many people simply do not realise that we only need very small amounts of most vitamins and minerals, absolutely tiny amounts, in fact. and beyond a certain level the body will do one of three things: excrete the excess, store it for later use, or be poisoned by it.

    Psychologically, food is very tricky stuff because even by age three if he's always had choice, being really strict now could lead to problems later (three is a crucial time for the development of the personality), so if you have allowed him to be a fussy eater you have made a problem for yourself. This sounds really harsh, but it's not actually aimed at yourself, it's more a general comment on where we are culturally in relation to food: when I've travelled in places like India and Mexico and visited dirt poor communities, I've never seen a fussy eater of any age; I've seen hungry people glad of any food they can get. I know this is not much help now and actually sounds like I'm criticising you, but I am not. I am simply making a point that we have developed an unhealthy relationship with food generally in developed countries simply by having too much choice, and as a result we have numerous neuroses that we don't even realise are neuroses; one of the main ones is supplementation. Again, it's really surprising how little we need of most minerals and vitamins. It's more proteins and the right kind of fats that you should be more concerned about, because one thing far too many people overlook is whether they are getting enough of the right amino acids - link at the end, but for now:

    "Essential amino acids

    Humans can produce 10 of the 20 amino acids. The others must be supplied in the food. Failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids, those that we cannot make, results in degradation of the body's proteins—muscle and so forth—to obtain the one amino acid that is needed. Unlike fat and starch, the human body does not store excess amino acids for later use—the amino acids must be in the food every day.

    The 10 amino acids that we can produce are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. Tyrosine is produced from phenylalanine, so if the diet is deficient in phenylalanine, tyrosine will be required as well. The essential amino acids are arginine (required for the young, but not for adults), histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. These amino acids are required in the diet. Plants, of course, must be able to make all the amino acids. Humans, on the other hand, do not have all the the enzymes required for the biosynthesis of all of the amino acids."

    from a not especially great site but it had all the basics in two paragraphs, so...

    biology.arizona.edu/biochem...

    I'll put a better link at the end...

    Again, I hear what you say about his appetite, but once he has the correct balance of amino acids his appetite should sort itself out - tryptophan, for example, is central to appetite... At present, if he will go days without anything, his body might actually not know what it needs so it might be that his body needs retraining and his mind will follow, but it has to be done correctly because trying to force him could indeed lead to life long issues with food...

    I know this is a very long post, but I'm a writer and researcher with a special interest in the psychology of chronic unseen medical conditions, so I do tend to go on a bit, but hopefully someone will find some of this useful.

    So my suggestions regarding your son would be to consult a dietician - I don't know if you have free healthcare but if not this is one expense worth making a few sacrifices to save up for if it's expensive and you don't have much money; there is nothing more important than getting it right with nutrition, particualrly with young children, as getting it wrong can cause life long health problems, and guessing at supplementation could actually do more harm than good, so please please please don't just guess. See a professional AND research essential nutrients, especially amino acids and from there find forms of those and other essential nuritents which, if he needs them, you can put in his milk.

    The following is just an idea, but it's a way of thinking and looking at the situation from a slightly different angle, but it is no substitute for consulting professionals. I reiterate that I am self-taught and my field is psychology not nutrition of physiology, so this is just a psychological perspective:

    If you were to start putting nurtitional supplements or foods in his milk in very very tiny amounts and increasing over time. He won't notice the difference in flavour if you do it gradually enough. Obviously I'm not talking about horrible tasting supplement pills, but things like manuka honey and powders like Fybogel (which is just an example off the top of my head - it's actually to increase dietary fibre but is often thought of as just a laxative, but it's not. We used to use it a lot in an old people's home where I worked because several of the residents just didn't eat proper quantities to maintain healthy digestion, and whilst it does have laxative properties in that that is the reason we all need enough fibre in our diet, this is not its sole or even primary purpose). It provides a good example though of how people might read something online then rush out and buy it without really realising what it is or what it's for or even what is in it. Question everything, including what I say.

    Of course you could just try him with milkshakes and see if he likes different flavoured ones. There's no actual reason I'm aware of why he needs to eat solid food as long as he's getting all the proper nutrients. However, to be absolutely clear on this, when I talk about liquids I'll use myself as an example: On days when I really don't feel like breakfast, I make very runny porridge and luqidise it with a banana and sweeten with honey and coconut milk. I can't face eating, so I drink my breakfast. It's about half a litre and it's got a huge amount of goodness in it but there's just no way that I would get it in to myself if it was solid. Some days I can eat a roast dinner for breakfast, but I'm strange :-)

    With regard to adding tiny amounts to his milk so that he doesn't notice:

    In psychology, the smallest amount of something for it to be noticeable is called the Absolute Threshold, whether sight, sound, temperature, weight or pressure, smell, taste or any other sense, there is a limit beyond which we don't notice. I guarantee that if you did it gradually enough you could add virtually anything to your son's milk and he would not notice.

    Think of it like sugar in tea or coffee. My dad has three sugars in his tea and when I visit and make him a cup of tea I only add two and three quarter spoons full. I have tried 2.5 spoons but he notices. So the absolute threshold of sugar in tea for my father is quarter of a teaspoon. If I lived with him and was the only person who ever made his tea, I could get him off sugar completely by removing about one sixteenth of a teaspoon every week, because even though this is much less than his absolute threshold, if he noticed just once that his tea was not sweet enough and got suspicious, he might then start sneaking more sugar in when I was not looking, so by finding out his aboslute threshold and aiming much much lower and being very very patient, he would not notice the change because it would be too gradual.

    The important thing is to ensure that no one else ever gives him milk, because once he drinks a glass without all the extras you have added, especially when he gets towards five and develops what's called theory of mind - where he starts to fully accept that other people are different and think differently, and thus starts to realise that you might be adding things to his milk, you would potentially have problems - such as with trust if he felt you had been deceiving him. This is why this is more just an example of a different way of thinking that actual advice. Of course there is nothing wrong with fortifying his milk with nutrients he actually needs, or you could just try him with ready made nutritional milk drinks. There's one in the UK called nutriment which comes in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and banana flavours. I always used to have a can of it on my way home from clubs when I had been raving and taking all sorts of things that I really should not have been taking, but that's what your twenties are for. As Chef from South Park said "Children, there's a time and place for everything - it's called college" :-)

    And I couldn't find a decent link to a site about amino acids, but I did just find a proper scientific paper on the benefits of cows milk, hope you find it, and what I have written generally, of some value. Good luck. Hope you get him eating properly soon.

    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

  • QuarkyOlympian, thank you for your very long and detailed response.

    Please note that many here do have problems with long posts because a lot of us have problems with concentration at times. It helps to keep to the point and keep things as succinct as possible - though I know I don't always succeed!

    I would just like to remind everyone that this forum is primarily for support and is not intended to replace professional advice.

    As posted above I have had two family relatives who were very fussy eaters when they were small so I'm not sure that I would agree with you that it is all about amino acids but I can only speak from personal experience. My niece's lack of appetite was a constant worry to her parents - particularly her mother who is a trained pharmacist and an excellent cook. Having seen similar problems with my brother when he was smaller it was a bit easier for the family to be supportive. They did a great job of making sure that she did manage to get enough of all the right nutrients but it really wasn't an easy task and it did involve a lot of bribery with chocolate - about the one thing that my niece didn't have a problem with ...

  • QuarkyOlimpian, thank you for bothering to write such a thorough response.

    My son drinks only formula, not cow's milk. I think formula contains cyancobalamin.

    He had not been a fussy eater till 18 months old, then he had to take 5 antibiotics for ear infections and it was after this that our problems with eating began.

    I have a baby now and my son imitates her all the time, wanting his formula and even wanting a diaper back. lol

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