B12 Shot Benefits More Than Just Your Weight!
Medically reviewed by Leann Poston, M.D. on 9/29/20
Many have heard of the vitamin B12 shots, but are unsure of the side effects, process, and the B12 shot benefits. Many questions arise when beginning to consider using B12 shots for health and wellness purposes. You may be wondering, what is B12? Will it help me lose weight? Am I deficient? How do I figure out whether or not I am deficient? Does this even work?
It’s common and understandable to have many questions when a new wellness trend starts to gain popularity. Knowing how to spot the difference between the real deal and just another fad comes from the knowledge you obtain and how well you educate yourself before deciding. Understanding what the B12 shot benefits are empowers you to make an educated choice when considering the best option for your health and wellness needs.
Many who take B12 shots claim that it increases energy levels, combats fatigue, speeds up your metabolism, helps you lose weight, and can even improve your sleep behavior. To truly understand the B12 shot benefits and risks, it is important to understand what B12 is and what it does in the human body.
Let’s Talk About B12 – What is It? Where Does It Come From? How Much Do I Need?
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is one of the eight b-vitamins and is also one of the largest and most structurally complex. It is a water-soluble vitamin and assists in the metabolic function of all of the cells in the body. Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and DNA synthesis (Institute of Medicine, 1998).
B12 is naturally present in many foods, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products. This vitamin is typically not present in plant foods; however, some processed foods such as fortified breakfast cereals are an easily available source of B12. Because B12 is not usually present in plants, fruits and vegetables are not considered a strong source of the vitamin. This means that those following a meatless or vegan diet are at a higher risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency. Combatting such a deficiency is one of the many B12 shot benefits.
When determining the recommended daily intake, or RDI, for vitamin B12, it is important to consider your specific situation – this includes your age, lifestyle, and individual medical conditions. The general recommended daily intake for adults over the age of 14 is 2.4 mcg. Many individuals can meet this requirement through their diet if they are omnivores. It is important for adults over the age of 50, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, vegetarians, and vegans to closely monitor their B12 intake and absorption. These groups are at a higher risk of a B12 deficiency (NIH, n.d.).
How to Determine if You Have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The most important B12 shot benefit is that it can help treat an individual’s B12 deficiency. It is estimated that 6% of people under the age of 60, and close to 20% of people over the age of 60 may be living with a vitamin B12 deficiency, and once you learn more about the symptoms, it is easy to understand how this may go unnoticed (Hunt et al., 2014).
Many of the symptoms of a B12 deficiency are daily or general ailments that we simply consider the consequences of a busy and active life. For example, fatigue is a common symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency, but aren’t we all usually tired? Between work, our families and friends, appointments, the list goes on, but the fact remains the same – most of us are tired! Of course, not everyone suffering from exhaustion can attribute it to a B12 deficiency, but it is a possible cause that should be explored and hopefully ruled out.
Knowing the symptoms of a possible B12 deficiency will give you the power to know when to reach out to your doctor and begin asking the proper questions. Paying attention to your body and understanding its cues will provide you with more insight regarding how and when to reach out to your health care professional. There are many different ways a B12 deficiency can affect your body. Take a look below:
- Tinnitus – ringing in your ears
- Numbness, tingling, and pain
- Weakness of legs, arms, trunk
- Impaired vibration – position sense
- Abnormal reflexes
- Unsteady or abnormal gait
- Ataxia (Neurological disorder affecting balance, coordination, and speech)
- Balance problems
- Difficulty walking
- Restless legs
- Visual disturbances / decreased-blurred vision / damage of optic nerve
- Forgetfulness, memory loss
- Dementia / intellectual deterioration
- Impaired fine motor coordination
- Muscular spasticity
- Bladder or bowel incontinence
- Impaired pain perception
- Nocturnal cramping
- Disturbance in taste and smell
- Optic atrophy
- Post-natal depression
- Memory loss
- Suicidal ideation
- Personality changes
- Inappropriate sexual behavior
- Violent/aggressive behavior
- Schizophrenic symptoms
- Sleep disturbances
- Changes in taste, smell, vision, and sensory/motor function which can be mistaken for psychiatric problems
- Loss of appetite/weight loss or anorexia
- Epigastric pain (poor digestion, bloated feeling after eating small or normal-sized meals)
- IBS – Irritable bowel syndrome
- Dry cracked corners of the mouth
- Premature greying
- Glossitis – swollen / sore tongue, geographic tongue
- Poor wound healing
What Causes B12 Deficiency?
Many different factors can cause B12 deficiency. The most likely causes are attributed to your lifestyle or how well your body absorbs the vitamin. One of the B12 shot benefits is that it can administer the vitamin to those who follow particular diets and can’t eat meat or animal products to source B12. The lifestyle changes, choices, and habits that can most affect your ability to get the recommended daily dose of vitamin B12 are your diet, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Other risk factors include your age and your gut health.
B12 Deficiency Risk Factors
B12 deficiencies can be caused by several conditions, but there are also lifestyle risk factors that can contribute to a B12 deficiency. The following risk factors can increase the chance of developing a B12 deficiency:
- Alcohol abuse
- Prescription medications for antacids and type 2 diabetes drugs
- Endocrine-related autoimmune disorders, like diabetes or a thyroid disorder
- Gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Other surgeries that remove parts of the stomach
B12 and Your Diet
While most modern diets supply the required amount of B12 to supply healthy bodily functions, certain diets such as veganism and vegetarianism can make it difficult to receive the recommended daily intake. Because B12 is mainly sourced from animal products or animal byproducts, those sustaining themselves on a diet that eliminates meat, fish, dairy, and/or eggs are at a greater risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Typically, long-term vegans and vegetarians require a supplemental form of vitamin B12.
B12 shots benefit those who choose not to eat meat by providing an essential source of B12.
B12 and Your Stomach
Even if you are consuming enough B12, you can be deficient if your body is not absorbing the vitamin properly. B12 shots benefit those who are deficient in B12 because of an absorption discrepancy. For B12 to be properly absorbed, your stomach and gastrointestinal system have to be functioning well. Certain medications, such as antacid, can affect how the vitamin is broken down and absorbed within the GI tract. Those lacking intrinsic factor, gastric acid functionality, and a properly functioning pancreas can experience a vitamin B12 deficiency.
B12 and Pregnancy or Breastfeeding Mothers
Many pregnant and nursing mothers don’t know that a B12 deficiency can have serious and last effects on newborn children. The National Institute of Health recommends that pregnant and nursing moms consume at least 2.8 micrograms of B12 per day. Mother’s adhering to vegan or vegetarian lifestyles should check with the health care professional to make sure they are getting the required amount of B12.
Also, mothers who are breastfeeding need to make sure that they are acquiring the proper amount of B12, as this is how infants of breastfeeding mothers absorb the vitamin. Lactating mothers that follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet should consult with their child’s pediatrician regarding supplements, as they may be necessary to assure that baby is getting their recommended vitamins and nutrients.
Signs and Symptoms of B12 Deficiency in Infants Include:
- Failure to thrive
- Hypotonia – low muscle tone
- Developmental delay
- Developmental regression (Roumeliotis et al., 2012).
B12 and Aging
Research has demonstrated that vitamin B12 deficiencies can affect older adults under the age of 65 more so than other age populations. Because older adults begin to produce less stomach acid or are affected by conditions that affect acid production such as inflammation, they are at a higher risk of developing a B12 deficiency. Low levels of stomach acid can increase the growth of intestinal bacteria in the stomach that feed on B12 – thus lowering usable levels within the body.
It is recommended that adults over the age of 50 increase their sources of vitamin B12 through diet, fortified foods, B12 shots, or other supplements that can increase their B12 consumption (NIH, n.d.).
How to Treat a Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency depends on what is causing the condition. Most conditions are treated with injections, diet, intravenous vitamin drips, or supplements to increase the lacking vitamin.
Injections for vitamin B12 are available in several forms. The most commonly used forms for deficiency treatment include hydroxocobalamin and cyanocobalamin. Health care professionals typically favor hydroxocobalamin as it remains in the body for a longer period of time. Initial treatment requires injections to be administered more frequently. As levels return to a normal range, the number of injections decreases and attention is paid to obtaining B12 from dietary sources.
For B12 deficiencies caused by diet-related conditions, patients may be prescribed a B12 supplement to take between meals. Those who have difficulty getting enough B12 in their diet may be required to take supplements for life to ensure that deficiency and symptoms are eliminated. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, fish, milk, dairy products, and eggs. Also, B12 shots benefit those who need immediate treatment in addition to long term management.
Types of B12 Shots and Supplements
There are three main methods of B12 supplementation: orally with food or fortified nutrients, intravenously, and intramuscularly through B12 shots.
The four primary forms of supplemental B12 include:
- Methylcobalamin – this active form of B12 works with many enzymes to synthesize amino acids, produce red blood cells, repair DNA, and assists with other physiological processes.
- Adenosylcobalamin – another intrinsic form of B12, adenosylcobalamin supports cellular metabolism and vascular function.
- Hydroxocobalamin – a natural type of B12 produced by bacteria in the digestive tract, hydroxocobalamin can be created in a lab through isolation of micro-organism cultures and is readily converted in the body into active forms adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin. Hydroxocobalamin is the generic form of the injectable B12 shots.
- Cyanocobalamin – is an artificial form of B12, cyanocobalamin contains a cyanide molecule that provides stability and prevalence of use. The amount of cyanide, which is typically regarded as a poison, is minuscule and does not cause harm within the body and is easily converted into its active form by the body (Cooperman, 2012).
While there are many different forms and methods of vitamin B12 supplementation, studies have shown that no one form is more effective than the other as there are no significant differences.
What B12 Shots Are and How They Work
Simply put, B12 shots are injections that are prescribed to treat vitamin B12 deficiency. Because some people are affected by conditions that cause B12 deficiencies or cannot get the recommended daily intake of B12 in their diet, a supplemental treatment is necessary to create the proper consumption and absorption of B12 to maintain healthy bodily function.
B12 shots consist of a synthetic form of B12. B12 injections can be self-administered or injected by a healthcare professional. These shots are injected directly into muscular tissue to eliminate any absorption barriers. Treatment schedules can vary on a case-by-case basis but typically take place over the course of three months.
Also read – How to Buy BPC-157 Online Safely
B12 Shot Side Effects
There are both B12 shot benefits and side effects, and side effects usually remain the same among the different forms of B12 supplementation. With any medication or treatment, there is the chance of unfavorable side effects, as many doctors will point out – it is important to understand the side effects and benefits to determine if the treatment benefits outweigh the treatment risks. B12 shot side effects include:
- Low blood potassium levels
- Possible anaphylactic shock
- Tingling and numbness
- Increased production of red blood cells by the bone marrow – polycythemia ver
- Congestive heart failure
- Low blood pressure
- Fluid accumulation in the lungs
- Vision problems
- Upset stomach
- Joint pain
- Muscle cramps
- Irregular heartbeat (Medline Plus, 2010).
B12 Shot Benefits
B12 shots can create immediate benefits. B12 shot benefits come in many forms and can improve health and wellness beyond treating a B12 deficiency. B12 shots benefit many who seek treatment.
B12 shot benefits, include:
- Increased energy levels and decreased fatigue – As a common symptom of B12 deficiency, fatigue, and a lack of energy have can have a great effect on the quality of someone’s life. B12 affects your energy on a cellular level and, as a primary B12 shot benefit, enhanced liveliness can improve the life of someone with a B12 deficiency tremendously. Increased energy is felt to be due to the resolution of anemia.
- Assistance with red blood cell formation and anemia prevention – Because B12 plays an important role in helping your body produce and regulate red blood cells, it is important to make sure that you are sourcing and absorbing an appropriate amount of vitamin B12. B12 shots benefit those who may be suffering from a B12 deficiency and can aid in alleviating symptoms caused by a lack of B12 in the body.
- Improved metabolism – An incredible B12 shot benefit is an increase in basal metabolic rate – better known as your metabolism. As many people suffer from weight gain and weight management, some take the necessary steps to determine if their weight or metabolism issues could be related to a B12 deficiency. If your metabolism is operating at a below-average rate, a B12 shot could be the answer to correcting your metabolism.
- Helping with weight loss – One of the most popular and widely enjoyed B12 shot benefits is the ability to aid in losing weight. Because B12 helps to regulate sleep, metabolism, energy, and mood, it improves the overall quality of life and influences how your body can lose weight and burn fat. Learn more.
- Improving sleep rhythm and patterns – Possibly the most useful B12 shot benefit, methylcobalamin can improve your sleep patterns through your circadian rhythm. The results in clinical studies are mixed. Problems with your circadian rhythm can manifest in many ways, such as difficulty falling asleep, problems relaxing at night, or low energy levels. Sufficient B12 levels can assist in proper sleep habits and behaviors (Ji et al., 2016).
- Increased concentration and mood – A B12 deficiency can greatly impact your mood and ability to focus if you are vitamin B12 deficient. A significant B12 shot benefit is that it can be used in conjunction with other treatments to improve mental health. Decreasing symptoms of depression and increasing your ability to concentrate can greatly increase the quality of life.
- Improve immune system function – As we point to the B12 shot benefits for weight, mental health, and sleep quality, it would be remiss not to mention that positive impact B12 can have on your immune system if you are deficient. B12 shots and supplements have been shown to restore immune system abnormalities which can affect your ability to fight off harmful viruses and bacteria. If you get sick frequently or stay sick longer than the average person, it is a good idea to consult your doctor on your B12 levels and consider a B12 shot if they are low to improve immune system function.
- Increased hair growth or prevention of hair loss – Your body requires several nutrients for optimal hair growth and growth function, and B12 is one of the necessary vitamins to assist in healthy hair.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for a B12 shot to take effect?
While it differs slightly between patients, the effects of a B12 shot are typically experienced with 48 to 72 hours of the initial injection. Depending on the severity of a deficiency, patients may require five to seven shots in their first week of treatment.
Are there any side effects of a vitamin B12 shot?
A few mild side effects are associated with the B12 shots, including pain or redness at the injection site, mild diarrhea, itching, or swelling. While these symptoms are usually nothing to worry about, you are advised to contact your health care professional if they persist or worsen.
Where to Get a B12 Shot
If you’re ready to enjoy the B12 shot benefits and begin leading a healthier and more balanced life, then you are probably wondering how to get started and where to get your B12 shot. First and foremost, make sure that you consider B12 shots that are pharmaceutical grade and of the utmost quality. You will also have to make sure that you are using the proper dosage and that the product you are using is not diluted, which can affect efficacy and success.
When considering where to start your journey to better health through B12 shots, it is best to begin with a trusted pharmacy. Invigor Medical with many benefits, which include:
- Meeting or exceeding rigorous national standards
- Highly qualified and credentialed staff
- State-of-the-art equipment
- The highest quality chemicals, and
- Quality sterile and non-sterile products.
If you want a high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade B12 supplement with multiple B12 shot benefits, then you should consider Invigor Medical’s Methylcobalamin supplement. To determine if this is the right option to improve your health and wellness, and to establish the proper dosage, you can reach out to your trusted health care professional to discuss whether or not this treatment is right for you and to obtain a prescription.
To learn more about Invigor Medical and how it can treat your possible B12 deficiency visit Invigor Medical’s website at https://invigormedical.com
Also read – What is the Right BPC-157 Dosage?
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.
- Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1998.
- National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Vitamin B12. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/#en85
- Hunt, A., Harrington, D., & Robinson, S. (2014). Vitamin B12 deficiency. BMJ 2014;349:g5226 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g5226 (Published 4 September 2014)
- Roumeliotis, N., Dix, D., & Lipson, A. (2012). Vitamin B(12) deficiency in infants secondary to maternal causes. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne, 184(14), 1593–1598. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.112170
- Cooperman, T.(2017). I’m over 50 and looking to take a vitamin B-12 supplement. Many contain a form of vitamin B-12 called cyanocobalamin, yet I read on the Internet that this form is toxic. Should I be concerned? Retrieved from https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/is-the-cyanocobalamin-form-of-b-12-dangerous/cyanocobalamin-safety/#:~:text=Answer%3A,is%20excreted%20in%20the%20urine.
- Medline Plus, (2010). Cyanocobalamin Injection. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a605007.html
- Ji, X., Grandner, M. A., & Liu, J. (2017). The relationship between micronutrient status and sleep patterns: a systematic review. Public health nutrition, 20(4), 687–701. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980016002603