Do You Need Vitamin B12 Injections?
Is it possible to inject motivation? Many people seem to think so, judging by the popularity of vitamin B12 injections at weight-loss centers around the country. But do these injections really work? And who are they really for? Below, we break down the ABCs of vitamin B12 to help you better understand how this vital nutrient contributes to your overall well-being.
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 plays a huge role in some of your body's most important processes, including nerve function and cellular metabolism. Without it, your body could not form new red blood cells or DNA.
Because the body cannot produce vitamin B12 by itself, it must absorb it from food—specifically animal products such as meat, fish, milk, eggs, and cheese. Some other foods such as cereals and bread products may also be fortified with vitamin B12.
What is vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when the body does not have enough vitamin B12 to function correctly. There are many reasons this might happen: if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and do not take a vitamin B12 supplement, you might eventually become deficient. You may also become B12 deficient if you are having trouble absorbing the nutrient. A condition known as pernicious anemia can cause this, as can certain diseases of the digestive tract. Additionally, some medications may interfere with your body's ability to absorb vitamin B12 from the food you eat.
Because your liver can store several years' worth of vitamin B12, you may not realize you have a problem absorbing vitamin B12 until your stores run out and symptoms present. The National Institutes of Health reports that between 1.5% and 15% of the public has a deficiency.
What are B12 deficiency symptoms?
Because vitamin B12 is essential to red blood cell formation and nerve function, symptoms can be quite widespread. Patients with vitamin B12 deficiency often report one or more of the following:
- Numbness or tingling in extremities
- Poor balance
- Fatigue or weakness
- Swollen tongue
- Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
- Memory loss or dementia
However, since many of these symptoms can be attributed to other conditions, it's important to see a physician who can test your B vitamin levels and properly diagnose the deficiency.
Should I get vitamin B12 injections?
If tests show you are vitamin B12 deficient, your physician will likely recommend a course of injections to help boost your levels. This is especially true if your deficiency is caused by an inability to absorb the vitamin from food—since the vitamin is injected straight into your bloodstream, it's easier for your body to start using it right away.
Where can I find B12 injections near me?
Will vitamin B12 shots give me energy?
That depends: if you have been experiencing fatigue as a result of a B12 deficiency, then chances are you will feel more energized as your body begins to use and store B12 again. However, many people who are not B12 deficient believe that getting regular B12 injections helps keep their energy levels up. It's unclear whether they are experiencing a real increase in energy or if this is the placebo effect at work.
The good news is that B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning whatever your body doesn't use or store will be flushed out of your body naturally. So while there's no scientific evidence that bonus B12 in your system will give you extra energy, there's also no harm in it if you choose to go that route.
Should you use B12 injections for weight loss?
In recent years, B12 injections have been touted as a popular weight-loss tool, with many clinics offering them as part of a diet and exercise package. But do they actually help you lose weight?
Again, the answer here is... it depends. If poor energy levels from a vitamin B12 deficiency are making it impossible for you to lose weight, then injections could certainly go a long way to getting you energized and back in the gym. Vitamin B12 also helps to break down carbohydrates and turn fats and proteins into energy, so if you're not getting enough B12, your body might not be doing these things well, resulting in some unwanted weight loss.
Of course, if your B12 levels are just fine, there's no evidence to suggest that introducing an excess of the vitamin into your body would help you meet your weight-loss goals faster.
What are lipotropic B12 injections?
Lipotropic injections are B12 injections specifically formulated to help with weight loss. Unlike standard B12 injections, which just contain the vitamin, lipotropic injections also include a cocktail of other nutrients believed to help aid weight loss, such as methionine, choline, inositol, and betaine. It's believed that this combination of nutrients helps stimulate liver function and kick-start fat burning, however more studies are needed to determine whether or not they are effective.
What are the side effects of vitamin B12?
According to the NIH, vitamin B12 has not been shown to cause any harm. However, in some people, it might cause diarrhea, blood clots, and allergic reactions.
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