Product Information

Synonyms: methylcobalamin, mecobalamin, methyl-B12, methyl vitamin B12, Vancomin

Keywords: Vitamin B12, neuropathy, diabetes, ALS, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis, cats, vegetarian

Xobaline® (for humans)

Methylcobalamin (the active ingredient in Xobaline) is one of several forms of vitamin B12 known as ‘cobalamins’. Cobalamins are unique vitamins in that they contain the mineral cobalt. Only two of the cobalamins actually play active roles in the body’s biochemistry, however — these are methylcobalamin and S-adenosylcobalamin. Since the methyl- and adenosyl- forms are interconvertable, a dietary source that contains methylcobalamin also serves as a source of S-adenosylcobalamin.

The cobalamins are made only by microorganisms, not by plants or animals. This means that animals must obtain them either from their diet or from microorganisms living in their bodies. For example, cows get their vitamin B12 from gut-dwelling bacteria. Since the cobalamins are stored in animal cells, carnivores can get their vitamin B12 by eating meat, even though they don’t themselves have B12-producing gut-dwelling bacteria. Herbivores that lack B12-producing bacteria (such as human vegetarians or pet animals) will develop B12 deficiencies unless they use some kind of B12 supplement. In fact, it has been found that around 60-70% of vegetarians have vitamin B12 deficiencies!16,17 Left untreated, such deficiencies will eventually do permanent damage to the body.

Deficiencies of vitamin B12 result in harmful effects on the blood, nerves, vascular system, bone, and digestive tract:

  • White and red blood cells develop defects that lead to anemia.2
  • Peripheral and central nerves are damaged, causing loss of sensation, motor disruptions, irritability, depression, cognitive decline, incontinence, insomnia, impotence, visual and auditory effects.2
  • Homocysteine levels rise, increasing the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, and osteoporosis.3,4
  • Damage to gastrointestinal cells can lead to diarrhea, constipation, pain, gas, anorexia, and weight loss.2
What we can’t tell you

In the U.S. and some other industrialized countries, government agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have adopted censorship as a method for intensifying their control over the supplement industry and its customers. Thus, FDA regulations prohibit us from telling you that any of our products are effective as medical treatments, even if they are, in fact, effective.

Accordingly, we will limit our discussion of Xobaline® (for humans) to a brief summary of relevant research, and let you draw your own conclusions about what medical conditions it may be effective in treating.

Interest in methylcobalamin supplementation centers mainly on five applications:

  • Vegetarian diets that result in B12 deficiencies
  • diabetic neuropathy
  • neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS,5 and MS6 and Alzheimer’s,7
  • cardiovascular disease
  • osteoporosis and strokes
Vegetarian diets

Long-term total vegetarians (vegetarians who do not use any eggs, meat, fish, poultry or dairy products) are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. Since such deficiencies can take several years to develop, vegetarians often fail to recognize the symptoms until the condition is advanced and anemia and neuropsychiatric disorders are occurring. Although oral B12 supplements can restore serum levels of B12 and eliminate macrocytic anemia, the neurological disorders may persist even months after treatment. In some cases the damage done to the nervous system is irreversible.

According to the Vegan Society, “In over 60 years of vegan experimentation only B12 fortified foods and B12 supplements have proven themselves as reliable sources of B12, capable of supporting optimal health. It is very important that all vegans ensure they have an adequate intake of B12, from fortified foods or supplements.”18

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a decrease in nerve function typically affecting the lower limbs in people and animals with diabetes. The symptoms include muscle weakness, depressed reflexes, disturbances in gait or balance, numbness, tingling, burning, or shooting pains. Sensation can eventually become completely lost so that minor injuries may go unnoticed. Damage to the autonomic nervous system results in impaired circulation, so that wounds don’t heal properly. Thus, minor injuries can become major ones, greatly increasing the risk of gangrene and the need for amputation of affected body parts.

Effective treatment of diabetic neuropathy has reportedly been achieved with methyl B12 in sufficiently large doses.10,11

The mechanism for these beneficial effects is not yet completely understood. It has been suggested that diabetics are deficient in B12 in their nerve tissue (not in the blood)15, and that B12 supplements correct this deficiency.12

Diabetes afflicts animals as well as humans, so it’s not surprising that pets can also suffer from diabetic neuropathy and that Xobaline is being used as a treatment. This subject is discussed in a separate article on this website.

Neurodegenerative diseases

In certain neurological conditions — such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and AIDS-related dementia — nerve cells are thought to be exposed to excessive amounts of the neurotransmitter glutamate, resulting in neurotoxicity.13 Recently high-dose methyl B12 has been shown to diminish glutamate-related neurotoxicity in animals14, suggesting that neurodegenerative diseases may be effectively treated with methyl B12.

Several studies during the 1990s showed specific improvements in the condition of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, or Alzheimer’s, when they were given large doses of methylcobalamin.5,6,7

Parkinson’s Disease is usually treated with the drug L-dopa, which has, as a side effect, the elevation of homocysteine levels. Parkinson’s patients are therefore at increased risk of cardiovascular damage. A study in 2005 reported that dual supplementation with cobalamin and folic acid effectively reduced these elevated homocysteine levels — as one would expect.8

Cardiovascular disease

Research into the effects of methylcobalamin and other vitamin B12 variants on cardiovascular disease has been focused entirely on the prevention of homocysteine excesses in the body.

Since methylcobalamin is required for homocysteine metabolism, B12 deficiencies can cause the body to accumulate too much homocysteine and cause coronary artery disease.2 Methylcobalamin supplementation is a well-accepted treatment for such deficiency-caused cardiovascular problems, which may include ischemic heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.9,4 Methylcobalamin supplementation may also be useful for lowering homocysteine levels that are elevated for reasons other than B12 deficiencies.4

(Note: methylcobalamin and folic acid are both required for the conversion of homocysteine to methionine — LifeLink’s Xobaline therefore contains both of these vitamins.)

Osteoporosis and strokes

An elevated homocysteine level is a risk factor for both ischemic stroke and osteoporotic fractures in elderly men and women.4 In a 2005 study it was shown that in stroke patients, a two-year treatment with methylcobalamin (1500 mcg/day) plus folic acid (5 mg/day) reduced plasma homocysteine levels by 38% and reduced the rate of hip fractures by about a factor of 4.4


Are Xobaline® (for humans) supplements useful for the conditions and purposes mentioned above? We aren’t allowed to tell you, so you should take a look at some of the references cited here, and then decide for yourself.

40301 3 mg 60 tablets 1 tablet $25.05

Pronunciation: Xobaline zōʹ·bă·lēn, cobalamin cō·bălʹ·a·mēn, adenosyl a·denʹ·ō·sıl

— RM

Last modified 2010.09.01