For an extra boost of energy, some people exercise, some drink coffee, and some get vitamin B12 injections. For those with a B12 deficiency, however, the injection can be the difference between health and illness.
What are vitamin B12 injections?
A vitamin B12 supplement, just like vitamin C or vitamin D, is administered by pill or injection. According to Harvard Medical School, vitamin B12 is naturally ingested through the food we eat, and cannot be made by the human body. B12 is responsible for the uptake of iron and the production of red blood cells, nerves, DNA, and an amino acid that affects mood and the immune system. The recommended dosage for adults is 2.4 micrograms per day.
Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency
Fatigue, mood change and memory loss are some of the possible neurological symptoms associated with low levels of B12. Physical manifestations may include muscle weakness, sore tongue, shortness of breath, diarrhea, numbness, and difficulty walking. Severe deficiency can cause deep depression, paranoia, delusions, incontinence, loss of taste and smell, and other neurological damage. Any of these symptoms can also signify other medical issues, so it is important to determine the cause through a blood test.
Who needs vitamin B12 injections?
Milk, eggs, fish and poultry are good sources of vitamin B12. These are often lacking in the diets of vegetarians and vegans, making them susceptible to B12 deficiency. People with intestinal disorders like Chron’s or Celiac disease, or alcoholics, are also at risk of deficiency. Intestinal surgery and stomach stapling can cause malabsorption, and the elderly are more prone to deficiency as well.
Vitamin B12 injections are preferable to oral supplements because they are available to the body instantaneously. The injection passes directly into the bloodstream, unlike the pill which needs to be absorbed by the intestines. In addition, the oral supplement must be taken daily, while the vitamin B12 injection is administered once a week.
There is a lot of interest in vitamin B12 injections. Researchers are investigating the effect of B12 on conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, breast cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol. In the meantime, get a blood test if you are in a high risk category. It could mean the difference between sickness and health.