Industry experts contest FSSAI ban on methylcobalamin in Gujarat

Industry experts contest FSSAI ban on methylcobalamin in Gujarat

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Thursday, September 19, 2019, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Pharmaceutical consultant Dr Sanjay Agrawal has contested Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) ban on methylcobalamin in Gujarat.

Though the notification on ban was issued on June 11, 2019, FSSAI also released a list of 73 approved formulations which included methylcobalamin taking manufacturers by surprise.

As of today, FSSAI regulation has listed two forms of vitamin B12 namely methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin which are widely available in the Indian market.

Cyanocobalamin a form of vitamin B12 is cheap, synthetic, mild toxic and an inactive form of B12 not absorbed well orally and is converted to methylcobalamin after 48 hours of entering into body where only a small amount is converted.

Methylcobalamin is a naturally found ingredient in food sources like fish, meat, eggs and milk. It bypasses several phases of absorption cycle and helps reverse symptoms.

Cyanocobalamin takes a lot of effort to reduce it to the active form; hence cyanocobalamin absorption varies greatly between individuals. Methylcobalamin is better utilized and is direct active form. It is around 2.5 times more potent and less amount is excreted in the urine than cyanocobalamin so more amount stays in the body for a long time.

Vitamin B12 (named as cobalamin) is considered to be the largest vitamin, involved in the synthesis of red blood cells, neuronal protection and DNA synthesis which are the vital functions of the body. Around 99 per cent people in the world are in need of extra vitamin B12.

“FSSAI released a regulation in 2017 which is an extention to the Gazette of 2016 and spells out that “suitable esters, derivatives and salts of vitamins and chelates of minerals may be used,” Dr Agrawal argues.

Methylcobalamin would be considered as a better option compared to cyanocobalamin. It exhibits many neuroprotective effects like improving brain cognition back to normal levels.

Besides this, methylcobalamin gives an extremely valuable methyl group that further enhances health.

This is especially important for pernicious anemia patients or anyone suffering from high homocysteine levels. This attribute of methyl groups may be the reason why methylcobalamin is helpful in multiple conditions.