Courses
Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
More
Store Icon
Store

Mecobalamin vs Methylcobalamin

ffImage
Last updated date: 20th Apr 2024
Total views: 86.7k
Views today: 2.86k

Difference Between Mecobalamin and Methylcobalamin

In the field of medicine and nutrition, the significance of vitamin B₁₂, also known as cobalamin, cannot be overstated. Among its various forms, methylcobalamin and mecobalamin hold particular importance due to their active roles in numerous physiological processes. The distinct characteristics and properties of these two forms of vitamin B₁₂ have piqued the curiosity of researchers and healthcare professionals alike.


The interest in understanding the difference between mecobalamin and methylcobalamin arose from a real-life incident. During a medical conference, a physician encountered a patient with pernicious anaemia who displayed remarkable improvement after receiving methylcobalamin injections. This incident catalysed further exploration and study into the unique attributes and potential therapeutic applications of these vitamin B₁₂ forms.

How are Methylcobalamin and Mecobalamin Different from Each Other?

Methylcobalamin: Methylcobalamin is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B₁₂ that contains a methyl group. It is an active coenzyme involved in various biochemical processes in the body, including the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of nerve function.


Mecobalamin: Mecobalamin, also known as methylcobalamin hydroxide, is a derivative of vitamin B₁₂. It is an active form of B₁₂ that plays a vital role in nerve function and the synthesis of red blood cells.


Mecobalamin vs Methylcobalamin: The Differences

Feature

Methylcobalamin

Mecobalamin

Chemical Structure

It is the methylated form of cobalamin (B₁₂).

It is one of the active forms of Vitamin B₁₂.

Abbreviation

MeCbl

MeB₁₂

Molecular Formula

$C_{63}H_{91}CoN_{13}O_{14}P$

$C_{63}H_{91}CoN_{13}O_{14}P$

Function

Plays a role in DNA synthesis and nervous system function.

Supports red blood cell formation and nervous system function.

Active Form

Yes

Yes

Absorption

Rapid and efficient

Rapid and efficient

Conversion

Easily converts to coenzyme forms in the body.

Easily converts to coenzyme forms in the body.

Metabolism

Quickly metabolized in the body.

Quickly metabolized in the body.

Stability

Relatively stable

Relatively stable

Dosage Forms

Available as oral supplements, injections, and sublingual tablets.

Available as oral supplements, injections, and sublingual tablets.

Use in Medicine

Often used to treat Vitamin B12 deficiency, peripheral neuropathy, and other neurological conditions.

Commonly prescribed for Vitamin B12 deficiency, pernicious anemia, and neurological disorders.

Mechanism of Action

It acts as a coenzyme in methylation reactions.

It acts as a coenzyme in methylation reactions.

Biological Role

Necessary for the synthesis of methionine from homocysteine.

Required for the conversion of homocysteine to methionine.

Neurological Effects

Beneficial in neurological disorders due to its role in nerve function and myelin sheath maintenance.

Effective in treating neuropathies and nerve-related symptoms.

Side Effects

Generally well-tolerated; rare side effects may include mild gastrointestinal symptoms.

Generally well-tolerated; rare side effects may include mild gastrointestinal symptoms.

Interactions

May interact with certain medications like metformin and proton pump inhibitors.

May interact with certain medications like metformin and proton pump inhibitors.

Pregnancy and Lactation

Generally considered safe during pregnancy and lactation when used in recommended doses.

Generally considered safe during pregnancy and lactation when used in recommended doses.

Cost

May vary depending on brand and formulation.

May vary depending on brand and formulation.

Shelf Life

Typically has a long shelf life.

Typically has a long shelf life.

Regulatory Status

Approved by regulatory agencies for medical use.

Approved by regulatory agencies for medical use.

Bioavailability

High bioavailability

High bioavailability

Storage

Store at room temperature away from moisture and light.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and light.

Efficacy

Comparable efficacy to other forms of Vitamin B12.

Comparable efficacy to other forms of Vitamin B12.

Chemical Properties

Stable under physiological conditions.

Stable under physiological conditions.


Characteristics of Mecobalamin and Methylcobalamin

Absorption: Methylcobalamin is readily absorbed by the body and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, making it effective for neurological conditions. Mecobalamin also exhibits good absorption, but it may not cross the blood-brain barrier as efficiently as methylcobalamin.


Bioavailability: Both forms of vitamin B₁₂ have high bioavailability, meaning they can be utilised effectively by the body after absorption.


Therapeutic Use: Methylcobalamin is commonly used for treating vitamin B₁₂ deficiencies, neurological disorders, and nerve-related conditions. Mecobalamin is primarily used for nerve-related conditions and may have a specific focus on neuropathy.


Dosage Forms: Methylcobalamin is available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, injections, and sublingual formulations. Mecobalamin is also available in similar forms, but it is more commonly found in oral tablets and injections.


Interesting Facts About Methylcobalamin and Mecobalamin

  • Methylcobalamin has been studied for its potential role in reducing homocysteine levels in the body. Elevated homocysteine is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • Mecobalamin has been investigated for its neuroprotective properties and potential benefits in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis.

  • Methylcobalamin has been found to have a higher affinity for receptors in the central nervous system, making it a preferred form for neurological conditions.

  • Mecobalamin has shown promise in promoting nerve regeneration and restoring nerve function in peripheral neuropathies.

  • Both forms of vitamin B₁₂ are water-soluble, meaning they are not stored in the body for long periods and need to be replenished regularly through diet or supplementation.

  • Methylcobalamin has been associated with improved sleep patterns and increased energy levels in some individuals.

  • Methylcobalamin is known to support eye health and may play a role in preventing age-related macular degeneration.

  • Methylcobalamin and mecobalamin are often used in combination with other B vitamins, such as folic acid and pyridoxine, to support overall health and well-being.


Conclusion

Methylcobalamin and mecobalamin are both forms of vitamin B12. The key difference lies in their chemical structure: methylcobalamin contains a methyl group, while mecobalamin contains a methyl and a cobalt group. Both are used to treat vitamin B12 deficiency, but methylcobalamin is believed to be more easily absorbed by the body. Focus on the importance of choosing the right form for supplementation based on individual needs and health conditions. Understanding the difference between mecobalamin and methylcobalamin can help individuals make informed decisions about their vitamin B12 intake, ensuring optimal absorption and effectiveness for overall health.

FAQs on Mecobalamin vs Methylcobalamin

1. What are the Potential Side Effects of Taking Methylcobalamin or Mecobalamin?

Both methylcobalamin and mecobalamin are generally safe and well-tolerated. However, some individuals may experience mild side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea, or skin rash. In rare cases, allergic reactions or anaphylaxis may occur. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplementation.

2. Can Methylcobalamin or Mecobalamin be Used Interchangeably?

Methylcobalamin and mecobalamin are similar in many aspects and can be used interchangeably in most cases. However, specific conditions or individual responses may warrant the use of one form over the other. It is best to follow the guidance of a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable form of vitamin B₁₂ for your needs.

3. Are there Any Interactions or Contraindications With Other Medications?

Vitamin B₁₂ supplements, including methylcobalamin and mecobalamin, are generally safe to use with most medications. However, certain medications, such as metformin, proton pump inhibitors, and some antibiotics, may interfere with the absorption or utilisation of vitamin B₁₂. If you are taking any medications, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure there are no potential interactions or contraindications.

4. How long does methylcobalamin take to work?

This depends on the severity of your vitamin B12 deficiency and how you are taking it (oral, sublingual, injection).  It can take weeks or even months to correct a deficiency and see the full effects.

5. What is the second name for methylcobalamin?

Mecobalamin (MeCbl) is another common name for methylcobalamin.

6. How effective is methylcobalamin?

Methylcobalamin is generally considered an effective form of vitamin B12 for treating deficiency. Studies show it may be well absorbed by the body.

7. What is mecobalamin used to treat?

Methylcobalamin is primarily used to treat vitamin B12 deficiency. It may also be used for nerve damage conditions like diabetic neuropathy and for some types of pain.  However, more research is needed for these uses.

8. What is the half life of methylcobalamin?

The half-life (the time it takes for the body to eliminate half of the amount) of methylcobalamin depends on how it's administered. It can range from a few hours to several days.

9. What is the daily value of methylcobalamin?

The recommended daily value (DV) for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults. This can vary depending on factors like age and pregnancy.

10. When not to take methylcobalamin?

You should not take methylcobalamin if you are allergic to vitamin B12 or cobalt.  Talk to your doctor before taking it if you have any medical conditions.

11. Is mecobalamin used for pain?

Some studies suggest methylcobalamin may be helpful for certain types of nerve pain, like diabetic neuropathy. However, more research is needed to confirm this benefit.