Take vitamin C and B12 at least 2 hours apart – one may ‘destroy’ the other – warning

Many people rely on vitamin supplements for their health and wellbeing, especially in the winter months. Without certain nutrients our bodies will struggle to function as normal. However, it is important to take them correctly to ensure you reap all the benefits.

Vitamin C and B12 are both vital to our bodies.

According to the NHS, the main functions of vitamin C include:

  • Helping to protect cells and keeping them healthy
  • Maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage
  • Helping with wound healing.

It is naturally found in lots of fruits and vegetables such as oranges, strawberries and broccoli.

Without enough vitamin C we can develop scurvy.

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Signs you have scurvy include if you:

  • Feel very tired and weak all the time
  • Feel irritable and sad all the time
  • Have severe joint or leg pain
  • Have swollen, bleeding gums (sometimes teeth can fall out)
  • Develop red or blue spots on the skin, usually on your shins
  • Have skin that bruises easily.

Vitamin B12 is also highly important.

It can be found in many animal produces like meat, cheese and eggs.

B12 is needed to form red blood cells and DNA.


Without it your red blood cells become too large and won’t function properly meaning they can’t distribute oxygen around the body.

This can lead to symptoms like:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • A lack of energy
  • Pins and needles (paraesthesia)
  • A sore and red tongue
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Muscle weakness
  • Disturbed vision
  • Psychological problems, which may include depression and confusion
  • Problems with memory, understanding and judgement.

Although it is possible to get enough of these vitamins through diet, many people choose to top up using supplements – usually in tablet form.

However, taking them at the same time could negate the effects of the vitamin B12 supplement.

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The Mayo Clinic explains: Taking vitamin B12 with vitamin C might reduce the available amount of vitamin B-12 in your body.”

Therefore, it advises taking vitamin C “two or more hours after” taking a vitamin B12 supplement.

This is backed by the Health and Food Supplements Information Service (HSIS), which says: “Vitamin C may destroy vitamin B12 (avoid large doses of vitamin C within one hour of taking oral vitamin B12).”

There are a few other factors that can reduce the absorption of a B12 supplement.

HSIS adds: “Excessive intake of alcohol may reduce the absorption of vitamin B12.

“Oral contraceptives may reduce blood levels of vitamin B12.

“Large doses of folic acid given continuously may reduce vitamin B12 in blood or may mask symptoms of megaloblastic anaemia.”

Vitamin B12 can also be found in fish, butter, specially fortified foods and yeast extract, such as Marmite.

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