Could you be vitamin B12 deficient?
It’s easy to think of nutrient deficiencies as a thing of the past. At least in the United States, the average citizen doesn’t go hungry as often as a regular 17th-century peasant — and yet, the effects of vitamin deficiencies still abound, silently diminishing our health.
One of the most common culprits? Vitamin B12. Even a slight dip in B12 levels can leave you with chronic fatigue, trouble concentrating, and easily short of breath. But can B12 shots turn your energy levels around? Let’s take a closer look at their effects on the body and their possible benefits.
About vitamin B12
Also known as cobalamin or cyanocobalamin, vitamin B12 was the last member of the B family to be fully identified. This vitamin is usually found only in animal sources, such as meat, eggs, and dairy products.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, and it is considered an essential nutrient. For an adult, the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg daily, but your needs increase if you are pregnant or lactating.
For humans, vitamin B12 helps energy absorption and brain function. Some of its key tasks include:
- Helping produce myelin, a protective coat that surrounds nerve endings.
- Fueling DNA synthesis.
- Digesting and absorbing protein.
- Ensuring red blood cells mature properly.
With all these different roles, the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency tend to be pretty damaging – and surprisingly common.
But do B12 shots give you energy directly? The short answer is yes.
What are the symptoms of B12 deficiency?
Even if you keep a seemingly healthy diet, malabsorption problems, chronic digestive issues such as Crohn’s disease, bariatric surgery, and even some everyday medications can lower the vitamin’s levels.
As a result, studies show that up to 2% of the country’s population lacks Vitamin B12, but as you age, rates can be as high as 20%.
In its early stages, symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
In advanced cases, a lack of vitamin B12 can cause you to lose coordination, affect your memory and problem-solving ability, and even develop depression or psychosis.
What are the benefits of B12 shots?
If any of the symptoms mentioned above sound familiar, vitamin B12 supplements should be on your shortlist of possible treatments.
Some of the most potent health benefits of Vitamin B12 or cobalamin include:
- Increasing red blood cell production and quality.
- Preventing megaloblastic or pernicious anemia.
- Lowering the chances of congenital disabilities when becoming pregnant.
- Protecting bone density and preventing osteoporosis.
- Boosting the immune system.
- Protecting your mental health, especially if you have a history of depression.
Most of these effects can radically impact your quality of life. But do B12 shots give you energy directly? The short answer is yes. Often, many people develop a subclinical deficiency – their levels are not low enough to get flagged on a regular blood test. They are just low enough to make it harder for your body to replenish its red blood cells.
A large, easily-absorbable dose of cobalamin directly into your system will help you fight fatigue and increase your alertness. This can be particularly powerful if you are in the middle of a thorough weight loss program, trying to avoid animal products, or increasing your physical activity levels.
Naturally, among people with very low levels of vitamin B12, the benefits are often immediate and dramatic.
Vitamin B12 injections vs tablets: Which one is best?
When most of us think of “supplements,” the first image that pops into our heads is tablets and chewables. After all, what’s easier than a quick dose every morning, followed by a glass of water?
Like all other vitamins, cobalamin is also available in tablet or pill form. So what are B12 injections for? Simply put, it is the easiest and fastest way to get our total dose.
Unfortunately, oral vitamin B12 supplements are inefficient: this vitamin is primarily absorbed in the ileum, the last section of the small intestine. As a result, you may lose over half of your pill’s contents as they travel down your esophagus and stomach.
Absorbing vitamin B12 becomes even more complicated as you age: you produce fewer stomach acids, making it easier for nutrients to get lost along the way. Your intestines also change as you age, losing the tiny hairs (intestinal villi) where B12 is usually absorbed.
Fortunately, vitamin B12 injections bypass all these problems. A simple intramuscular shot will deliver it straight into your bloodstream, where it can travel where needed.
Who can benefit the most from B12 shots?
Under ideal circumstances, you should be able to get enough B12 just from your diet. However, daily life is far from ideal. Some health conditions and lifestyle choices place you at an increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
You have more to gain from B12 shots if:
- You are vegetarian or vegan: although there are trace amounts of B12 in some algae, it’s tough to get enough B12 if you don’t consume animal products.
- You have had weight loss surgery in the past: this surgery can lower your stomach acid production, leaving you with chronic malabsorption problems.
- You have celiac disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), or other chronic problems with your digestive system.
- You are taking metformin, antacids, or corticoids.
- You are over 60 years old.
- You have a family history of pernicious anemia.
How to take B12 injections
Vitamin B12 injections are very simple and safe to get. On your first visit, we will likely conduct a full consultation to understand your symptoms and determine whether vitamin B12 shots are the most suited energy booster for you. We may also take a small blood sample to test your vitamin B12 levels – although, as we mentioned before, these tests often miss “minor” deficiencies that could still affect you.
You won’t need special preparation before the shot, and you can eat as usual before the appointment. We just need a few moments of privacy: typically, we inject it into the deltoid muscle of the upper arm. The injection is brief and will not require any special follow-up steps. Once the shot is administered, you can continue the rest of your day normally.
What are the side effects of B12 shots?
Vitamin B12 is considered very safe, so B12 energy shot side effects are rare and very mild. In rare cases, you can expect:
- Pain at the site of the injection
- Mild weakness immediately after the injection
- Mild diarrhea or an upset stomach
The first two symptoms are more likely if you are nervous around needles, and they disappear within minutes. Diarrhea after a B12 shot is exceedingly rare – it is actually much more likely to happen with oral supplements.
Who can take B12 shots?
B12 shots are generally well-tolerated. However, they may not be the best choice if you:
- Have kidney disease
- Have low potassium levels (hypokalemia)
- Suffer from Leber’s disease, a rare hereditary condition affecting the optic nerve
- Have a history of allergic reactions to vitamin B12 or multivitamins.
How often can you get B12 shots for energy?
The frequency will depend on each patient and their specific needs. For people who don’t have a deficiency, but are simply looking for an energy boost, once every three or four months can be enough.
However, if you are vegan, over 60, or have any other risk factor for B12 absorption problems, the shots can be given once a month or even every ten days. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, which means that the body can dispose of it rather quickly if it gets too much of it – so the risk of an overdose is minimal.
Need to increase your energy levels? Get B12 Injections near L.A.
IV Vitamin Therapy is in an upscale boutique-style medical office in Beverly Hills. Our physicians understand the critical role of all micronutrients for general health and in supporting the management of chronic medical conditions. We offer fast, convenient, and effective alternatives for vitamin therapy in a comfortable and discreet environment.
We also offer a concierge house call service for patients who would prefer to receive vitamin B12 shots or other nutrient cocktails in the comfort of their own home or office.
We serve patients near Beverly Hills, Bel Air, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, Culver City, Hollywood, Venice, Marina del Rey, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Downtown Los Angeles, Encino, Woodland Hills, Sherman Oaks, Calabasas, Burbank, Glendale, Hidden Hills, Agoura Hills, Northridge, North Hollywood, Topanga, Canoga Park, Reseda, Valley Glen, Chatsworth, West Hills, Winnetka, Universal City, Silverlake, and Echo Park.
Book now at (855) 999-5577.