The role of vitamin B12 in viral infections: a comprehensive review of its relationship with the muscle-gut-brain axis and implications for SARS-CoV-2 infection

Nutr Rev. 2022 Feb 10;80(3):561-578. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuab092.


This comprehensive review establishes the role of vitamin B12 as adjunct therapy for viral infections in the treatment and persistent symptoms of COVID-19, focusing on symptoms related to the muscle-gut-brain axis. Vitamin B12 can help balance immune responses to better fight viral infections. Furthermore, data from randomized clinical trials and meta-analysis indicate that vitamin B12 in the forms of methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin may increase serum vitamin B12 levels, and resulted in decreased serum methylmalonic acid and homocysteine concentrations, and decreased pain intensity, memory loss, and impaired concentration. Among studies, there is much variation in vitamin B12 doses, chemical forms, supplementation time, and administration routes. Larger randomized clinical trials of vitamin B12 supplementation and analysis of markers such as total vitamin B12, holotranscobalamin, total homocysteine and methylmalonic acid, total folic acid, and, if possible, polymorphisms and methylation of genes need to be conducted with people with and without COVID-19 or who have had COVID-19 to facilitate the proper vitamin B12 form to be administered in individual treatment.

Keywords: COVID-19 symptoms; cobalamin; muscle–gut–brain axis; post COVID-19; viral infections.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain-Gut Axis
  • COVID-19*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Folic Acid
  • Homocysteine
  • Humans
  • Muscles
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vitamin B 12
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency* / drug therapy


  • Homocysteine
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B 12