What Happens If You Swallow Sublingual B12: Debunking the Myths

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The world of vitamins and supplements can be quite complex, with various delivery methods and recommendations. Among these, sublingual B12 supplements have gained popularity for their potential benefits. But what happens if you swallow sublingual B12? Is it rendered ineffective, or can it still provide some advantages? In this article, we aim to clarify the facts surrounding sublingual B12 supplementation and its absorption process.

Understanding Sublingual B12

Sublingual B12 supplements are designed to be placed under the tongue, where they can dissolve and be absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the thin mucous membranes. This method of delivery is believed to enhance the absorption of B12, making it more readily available for the body to use. However, there is a common misconception that swallowing sublingual B12 is a waste. Let’s debunk this myth.

Sublingual vs. Swallowing: The Enzyme Factor

The key to understanding the effectiveness of sublingual B12 lies in the role of enzymes, specifically amylase. Amylase is an enzyme that helps break down carbohydrates and certain substances, including the binders or fillers commonly found in B12 supplements.

  1. Sublingual Absorption: When you place a sublingual B12 supplement under your tongue, it begins to dissolve. The amylase enzyme in your saliva starts breaking down any binders or fillers in the supplement, allowing the B12 to be absorbed directly through the mucous membranes in your mouth. This rapid absorption is why sublingual supplements are popular.
  2. Swallowing Sublingual B12: If you accidentally or intentionally swallow a sublingual B12 supplement, it will travel down your esophagus and into your stomach. Here’s where the misconception arises. Some people believe that the B12 is rendered ineffective because it doesn’t undergo sublingual absorption. However, that’s not entirely accurate.

The Stomach’s Role

In the stomach, swallowed sublingual B12 supplements face a different environment. While the amylase in saliva plays a crucial role in sublingual absorption, the stomach has its own set of digestive processes, primarily involving gastric acid.

  1. Stomach Acid: Gastric acid in the stomach is potent and serves to break down food and supplements. While some substances may be altered or degraded in this acidic environment, B12 is relatively stable.
  2. B12 Absorption: The stomach also plays a role in B12 absorption. In the presence of a substance called intrinsic factor, B12 can be absorbed in the later part of the small intestine, known as the ileum. This process is crucial for overall B12 absorption, regardless of whether the B12 was initially taken sublingually or swallowed.

“Expensive Urine” Myth

One of the common beliefs is that swallowing sublingual B12 results in “expensive urine,” implying that the B12 is wasted and excreted without benefit. However, this is not entirely accurate. Even if you swallow a sublingual B12 supplement, the vitamin can still be absorbed through the digestive process, ultimately benefiting your body.


In conclusion, if you accidentally swallow sublingual B12, it doesn’t mean that the supplement becomes entirely ineffective. While sublingual absorption is faster and bypasses some digestive processes, B12 is a resilient vitamin that can still be absorbed when it reaches the appropriate part of the small intestine, aided by intrinsic factor.

It’s important to follow the recommended usage instructions for any supplement, but if you happen to swallow a sublingual B12 tablet or lozenge, rest assured that it won’t result in wasted resources. B12 is a vital nutrient, and your body will make use of it. To explore a range of dietary options and supplements, visit the Crooked Beverage Co. homepage for more information.

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