Are you feeling tired, not recovering the way you used to or just don’t have the energy to do all you want to do? Consider an energy boosting nutrient called Vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin. It wasn’t too long ago that Vitamin B-12 injections could be recommended by a doctor only for serious B12 deficiencies. With recent studies, however, showing that nearly 40% of the population has very low levels of vitamin B-12, B-12 injections have become increasingly popular as an efficient way to supplement one’s diet. Margaret Thatcher had weekly injections of B-12 to sustain her famously high energy levels (along with Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, and countless sport stars). Margaret Thatcher apparently found the injections so useful that she had it on the morning she told her cabinet she was going to resign. (Coincidentally, the structure of B-12, which has the essential mineral cobalt at its core, was discovered by Dorothy Hodgkin, who taught Lady Thatcher at Oxford).
Vitamin B-12 has long been known for its health benefits. It is a water soluble vitamin that is found in highest levels in meat, fish, milk and fortified processed foods. Due to the low absorption rates through the stomach – unless you plan on eating a bunch of liver, fish or milk each day - you won’t be able to get the same level of B-12 in your bloodstream that an injection could. Vitamin B-12 injections work because the injected B-12 bypasses the intestines (where absorption rates are low) and goes directly into the bloodstream via the muscles (this is an intramuscular shot – NOT an intravenous one).
Additionally, people who are vegetarian/vegan most likely do not get an adequate amount if they are not eating animal products. Even those consuming nutritional yeast do not give their bodies enough B-12. The problem with recommending patients to consume more of these B-12 containing foods is that these animal proteins and processed foods, with the exception of fish, are the ones that we want to decrease since they lead to increased inflammation, increased cholesterol and worsening of asthma and allergies.
B-12 supplementation is available via oral tablets, sublingual drops and injections. Oral supplementation of vitamin B-12 does not absorb very well overall and oral absorption decreases in most everyone as we age. Sublingual drops are better than oral tablets but the best way to know that you are getting the B-12 you need is to take it via injection. Talk to our doctors about a good dosing schedule.
Signs of B-12 deficiency can include fatigue, weakness, sore tongue, nerve pains, insomnia, depression, canker sores, easy bruising, numbness and tingling in hands or feet and memory problems. B-12 deficiency has also been linked to migraine headaches and menstrual irregularities.
List of Some Benefits of Vitamin B-12 Injections:
- Recent research has shown that higher levels of Vitamin B-12 protect against brain changes that happen with aging. People with higher B-12 levels, even those without actual deficiency showed less age related decline like dementia and alzheimer’s disease.
- B-12 is involved in the process that converts food into energy, this is why it gives people an energy boost. Without it, the food we eat is not able to be processed as efficiently for energy production leading to fatigue and even weight gain. Therefore, B-12 injections for weight loss have become increasingly popular because it’s an easy way to boost your metabolisms…and it’s the one vitamin that everybody thinks they’re getting enough of but they aren’t.
- Vitamin B-12 is essential for the development and maintenance of red blood cells, and contributes towards healthy nervous and cardiovascular systems. It basically works by enabling your red blood cells to carry oxygen more efficiently. A well oxygenated cell is also a healthy one and that won’t tire quickly. As a result you’ll see improved cognitive ability, more energy and even healthier skin. B12 also has an important role in forming new red blood cells and can deficiency can cause an anemia. Anemia can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate and weakness.
- B-12 protects against heart disease by reducing homocystine levels. Elevated levels of homocysteine increase cardiovascular risk by increasing atherosclerosis and hardened arteries.
- B-12 is a very important part of the covering of our nervous system, the myelin sheath. Having coverings helps our neurological system to work better which improves mood, memory, reaction time and just makes us feel better!
Vitamin B-12 shots are typically given every 2 to 4 weeks and are available at Wellness Plus Clinic. Our doctors will require an exam before recommending B-12 shots.