Some very good reasons to consider a course of Vitamin B12 shots
So, what is the big story about vitamin B12 shots?
It is no secret that the use of supplementation is vital to modern life. Our soil is depleted
of nutrients, the long cooling cycle of fresh produce further depletes the nutrients, and then
we also cook and freeze the remaining nutrients away!
Eating large amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables may help, but is not always practical. In most
instances the use of oral supplementation of vitamins can help with deficiencies, but there are cases
that need more drastic intervention, like a course of vitamin B12 injections.
What is this vitamin about?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. It is naturally present in some foods,
and is available as a dietary supplement. It can also be a prescription medication.
Vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cell formation and neurological functions.
Vitamin B12 is bound to protein in food. It is released by the activity of hydrochloric acid and gastric
protease in the stomach.
How would you know if you have a deficiency? Your serum or plasma will be tested for vitamin B12 levels.
Example: Values below approximately 170–250 pg/mL (120–180 picomol/L) for adults indicate a deficiency.
Vegetarians: Strict vegetarians and vegans have a greater problem than lacto-ovo vegetarians and nonvegetarians of developing
B12 deficiency because natural food sources of this vitamin are limited to animal foods.
Individuals who have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from foods, as well as vegetarians who consume no animal foods,
might benefit from fortified foods, oral supplements or intra-muscular injections.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms can include: anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite
and weight loss. Neurological changes, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can sometimes occur.
Other symptoms of deficiency include: difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia,
poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue. The neurological symptoms of deficiency can occur
without anemia, so early diagnosis and intervention is important to avoid irreversible damage.
During infancy, signs of deficiency include failure to thrive, movement disorders, developmental delays and
anemia. Please note that many of these symptoms are general and can result from a variety of medical conditions
other than vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products, but generally not present in plant foods. Fortified breakfast cereals can be another source. Some nutritional yeast
products also contain B12.
As oral supplementation
The body's ability to absorb vitamin B12 from dietary supplements is very limited. For example, only about 10 mcg of a
500 mcg oral supplement is actually absorbed in healthy people.
As prescription medication
Vitamin B12, in the form of cyanocobalamin and occasionally hydroxocobalamin, can be administered as
a prescription medication, usually by intramuscular injection. This method is often used to treat
this deficiency caused by pernicious anemia and other conditions that result in vitamin B12 malabsorption and
B12 can also be obtained as a prescription medication in a gel formulation applied
intranasally. This formulation appears to be effective in raising vitamin B12 blood levels.
Folic acid and B12
Please be advised of the following: Large amounts of folic acid can mask the damaging effects of vitamin B12 deficiency
by correcting the anemia caused by this deficiency, without correcting the neurological damage that also occurs.
Folic acid intake from food and supplements should not exceed 1,000 mcg daily in healthy adults.
Special groups at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency
* The elderly
* Persons with gastrointestinal disorders
* Persons who have had gastrointestinal surgery
Other benefits of Vitamin B12 which are currently being researched
* Possible decrease of cardiovascular risk
* Possible connection between B12 deficiency and dementia as well as Alzheimer's disease
* Possible application as energy enhancer and athletic performance and endurance booster
Healthy eating patterns
As discussed at the start of this article: Under normal circumstances the nutrients in our food should keep
us healthy. Due to many factors, this is often not applicable any more. But... it can be achieved. Here's how:
What is a healthy diet, with sufficient nutrients?
* Lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free/low-fat dairy products
* Lean meats in moderation, as well as poultry, beans, fish, egss and nuts
* Foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars
* A diet that stays within your body's daily kilojoule/calorie needs.
Bottom line: Under special circumstances, as outlined above, a course of vitamin B12 shots could bring
your health up to standard. A healthy diet, with occasional supplementation, should keep you fit as a fiddle!