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Effects of Vitamin B12 on Performance and Circadian Rhythm in Normal Subjects


This preliminary study investigates effects of methyl- and cyanocobalamin on circadian rhythms, well-being, alertness, and concentration in healthy subjects. Six women (mean age 35 years) and 14 men (mean age 37 years) were randomly assigned to treatment for 14 days with 3 mg cyano-(CB12) or methylcobalamin (MB12) after 9 days of pre-treatment observation. Levels in the CB12 group increased rapidly in the first, then slowly in the second treatment week, whereas increase in the MB12 group was linear. Urinary aMT6s excretion was reduced by both forms of vitamin B12 over 24 hours with a significant decrease between 0700–1100 hours, whereas urinary excretion of potassium was significantly increased between 0700–1100 hours. Activity from 2300–0700 hours increased significantly under both forms of vitamin B12. Sleep time was significantly reduced under MB12 intake. In this group the change in the visual analogue scales items “sleep quality,” “concentration,” and “feeling refreshed” between pretreatment and the first week of treatment showed significant correlations with vitamin B12 plasma levels. Cortisol excretion and temperature were not affected by either medication. We conclude that vitamin B12 exerts a direct influence on melatonin. Only MB12 has a positive psychotropic alerting effect with a distribution of the sleep-wake cycle toward sleep reduction. © 1996 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

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Correspondence to Geert Mayer MD.

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Mayer, G., Kröger, M. & Meier-Ewert, K. Effects of Vitamin B12 on Performance and Circadian Rhythm in Normal Subjects. Neuropsychopharmacol 15, 456–464 (1996).

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  • Methylcobalamin
  • Cyanocobalamin
  • Urinary melatonin and potassium excretion
  • Visual analogue scales
  • Vigilance
  • Sleep quality
  • Circadian rhythm

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