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Vitamin Patches -- young woman with vitamin patch on arm


Patches containing vitamin B12 and/or other vitamins, such as those from PatchMD and Vita Sciences, are often promoted as an alternative to oral supplements for people who have trouble swallowing pills or have difficulty absorbing nutrients in their gut. For example, vitamin B12 is hard to absorb for many people, including older adults, people who take medication to reduce stomach acid, or people who have had gastric bypass surgery. We looked into the research behind these patches. Find out if they are truly a better alternative in our full answer >>

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June 20, 2018

I am a dietitian who works with a team of Bariatric surgeons and professionals who manage pre- and post-surgery patients in an accredited Bariatric surgery program. We learned more about the efficacy of the Patch in our clinic by chance. Two of our patients who were 6 months and 1 year post Bariatric surgery respectively, presented for routine follow up and stated they had discontinued their recommended post surgery micronutrient regimen and began using PatchMD Bariatric combination patches and also extra patches containing additional B12 and etc. Note that the patients did not have previous deficiencies confirmed by labs and had been recommended our standard maintenance micronutrient regimen. The patients also confirmed using the patches according to the manufacturers directions, replacing them daily and etc. In my review of the contents and detail re micronutrient amounts on the labels it was concerning; if the dose amounts of some of the micros were truly absorbed the patients would clearly be over supplementing multiple nutrients.
Labs were obtained (B12, D, iron studies, etc) and resulted that the patients were DEFICIENT in all areas.
Clearly, we have made it a policy to discourage the use of micronutrient supplement patches (along with gummy formulas ).
Consumer Lab if you would like more detail on this "unintentional micro study." I would be happy to provide more information.
June 20, 2018

Hi Nancy - Thank you for sharing that experience with us and our readers. Disturbing, although not that surprising based on what we have noted above.

June 8, 2020

This article did not address those of us who suffer from severe intestinal issues like gastritis. Even a crushed pill or liquid supplement can wreak havoc. We need alternatives to swallowing supplements.

June 28, 2017

Any comments on preferences between oral tablets versus injections versus liquid B12? WHat is the rough equivalence between injections in mcg versus oral mcg accounting for absorption differences? I am also curious if the B12 injections bypass the microbiome which might need it?

July 1, 2017

Yes I'm interested in this as well. I have taken injectable V B12 as I get it in Thailand. Wondering if that is ideal or not?

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