If you follow or have spoken to your doctor about preventative health, you’ve probably heard quite a lot about or even received vitamin B12 shots. These injections are said to boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and promote fat loss. They may be given alone, or in combination with other chemicals, such as antioxidants. But how do they work, and are they really effective?
All About Vitamin B12 Shots
The Function of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a crucial nutrient for optimum brain and heart function, as well as general good health. It’s involved in the production of both DNA and red blood cells, and helps to decrease the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid.
If you don’t have enough vitamin B12 in your body, this may lead to the short-term tiredness, mental confusion, muscle weakness, and reduced blood pressure. Moreover, long-term vitamin B12 deficiency may result in hallucinations, mood disturbances, Alzheimer’s-type symptoms (e.g. problems in concentrating and memory loss), and elevated homocysteine levels. High homocysteine levels have been associated with health problems such as osteoporosis, dementia, depression and heart disease.
Who Needs Vitamin B12 Shots?
In short, only people with vitamin B12 deficiency need to have additional supplements such as oral pills or injections. What's more, there is no medical evidence that increased vitamin B12 levels will lead directly to weight loss and the energy boost. Thus people who want to take vitamin B12 shots for these purposes must think twice and consult with doctor.
If you have problems with vitamin B12 absorption, then the injections could make you feel a lot better, with greater energy, more focus, and improved mood. Bright outlook you get from the vitamin may give you the motivation that you need to get moving and improve your diet. Injections are often preferable to oral vitamin B12 supplements, which may take a while to get into your bloodstream, especially if you have absorption issues.
What Should Be Known Before Taking B12 Shots?
You should never give yourself vitamin B12 injections, as they need to be administered by a trained healthcare professional. The normal dose for those with a deficiency is 1,000 micrograms, and this is delivered straight into your muscle tissue, usually in the upper arm or thigh. A typical treatment program consists of daily injections for 10 days, followed by one injection each week for four weeks, then once a month from then onwards. Alternatively, it can be administered at regular intervals over a total of 90 days.
For patients with depression, the usual dosing regime is 1,000 micrograms vitamin B12 per week for four weeks.
To increase cognitive ability, 1,000 micrograms is injected each day for five days, followed by the same dose once a month for five months.
Possible Side Effects of Vitamin B12 Injections
In some cases, patients may develop a severe allergic reaction to the vitamin B12 shot, and should get medical help immediately. Watch out for the following symptoms:
Swelling in the lips, tongue, face, or throat
You should also speak to your doctor as soon as you can if you have:
A tingling or numb feeling in the hands or feet
Signs of low potassium: an irregular heartbeat, excessive thirst, discomfort in the legs, weakness in the muscles or a limp feeling, confusion, or an increase in the amount you pee
Any indication that fluid is accumulating in your lungs: sweating, anxiety, paleness, marked shortness of breath and gasping or wheezing, chest pain, or coughing that produces a foam-like mucus
More common side effects include:
Sudden weight gain
FAQs About Vitamin B12 Shots and Vitamin B12 Deficiency
How Do I Know If I Have Vitamin B12 Deficiency
If you think that you may be vitamin B12-deficient, ask your doctor for a blood test to verify this. If you are deficient, you may develop a condition termed vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. This may produce only mild symptoms, or none at all, but you can experience the following:
Fatigue, weakness, or light-headedness
Increased heart rate and breathing
A sore tongue
Digestive upsets and weight loss
Constipation or diarrhea
A tendency to bleed or bruise easily, including the gums
Who Is at Higher Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Patients with the following conditions may be at particular risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency:
A thinned stomach lining, known as atrophic gastritis
Heavy alcohol consumption
Pernicious anemia, a condition that inhibits vitamin B12 absorption
Problems with the immune system, such as lupus and Graves’ disease
Previous surgical removal of sections from the stomach or small intestine (often seen in weight loss surgery)
Small bowel conditions, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, or parasitic or bacterial infection
Chronic use of acid-reducing medications
Vegans and vegetarians who eat little or no animal products, including meat, eggs, cheese, and milk, may also be susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency. In addition, babies born to vegan or vegetarian mothers can be at risk.