Vitamin B12 is essential because it helps maintain nerve cells and red blood cells. More importantly though, it's needed to make DNA, the genetic material found in every cell in your body. An adult woman needs 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of B12 a day, and great sources of this vitamin include chicken, beef, fish, eggs, dairy products, and fortified cereals. If you're vegetarian or vegan, or eat a limited amount of meat and dairy products, you may not be getting enough. A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, which may cause you to feel weak, lightheaded, depressed, and tired.
For those with a deficiency, it's recommended to take vitamin B12 supplements. If you don't like taking pills every day, you can try the B-12 Patch. To learn more about how it works, and find out if it's safe, read more.
Just like the Ortho-Evra patch delivers hormones through the skin to prevent pregnancy, this B-12 Patch supposedly delivers a consistent amount of B12 through a dime-sized patch you wear behind your earlobe. Each patch is worn for one week and contains 1,000 mcg of B12. It's safe to take this much vitamin B12 in a pill form because many people's digestive systems don't absorb enough B12, so it's necessary to take extra. I'm not sure how safe it is to take this much extra B12 through your skin, though. On the B-12 Patch's website, they mention that in 2003 the B-12 Patch was tested in a "small clinical trial on six volunteers." Doesn't sound like the study was very thorough, which doesn't make me feel confident about using this product.
The best thing to do is obtain at least 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 from the food you eat every day. If that's not possible, talk to your doctor about what oral supplement would be best.