In the more recent months, you’ve probably heard of adding things to your diet like kombucha and vinegars—and let’s not forget how hot avocados are right now. There are also vitamins and supplements that are getting their time to shine, too, like probiotics, collagen, and turmeric. One of the newest star vitamins currently is vitamin B—specifically vitamin B12, in the form of an injection.
Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient that is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. The amount of vitamin B12 your body needs depends on your age. Most people can get enough vitamin B12 in foods they eat already, such as fish, meat poultry, eggs, dairy products, and foods that are fortified with B12 (like some breakfast cereals). However, according to the National Institutes of Health, upwards of 15% of people are deficient in vitamin B12—and some studies indicate that number may be higher. People may be deficient in vitamin B12 if they don’t eat animal products, or if their body does not absorb it well naturally.
People who are deficient in vitamin B12 are often prescribed B12 shots. This method is a very effective way of reversing or preventing a deficiency because it allows for 100% absorption directly into the tissues. These days, vitamin B12 shots have even become popular in people without the vitamin deficiency. In fact, most local naturopaths or health and wellness clinics offer them on a walk-in basis with no prescription. Advocates for vitamin B12 injections say the shots can:
- Increase energy levels and combat fatigue
- Speed up metabolism
- Help improve sleep patterns
- Increase concentration
- Improve mood
- Boost the immune system
- Help with weight loss
- Possibly help with hair growth or stop hair loss
Research suggests that, unless you have a condition that prevents your gut from breaking down and absorbing vitamin B12, oral supplementation is just as good as an injection. If you often feel foggy-brained even after a good night’s sleep, try a B12 supplement for a week or two to see how you feel before trying injections. However, if you’re an otherwise healthy person, B12 injections are completely safe—and if you see positive results, there’s no reason to stop getting them.
This article first appeared in the July/August 2018 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.