Vitamin B12 (aka “cobalamin”) is an essential vitamin for our bodies that is naturally found in animal products. It supports nerve cell functions and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as DNA synthesis.
B12 shots are injections of this vitamin used to treat low levels (deficiency) in humans. While B12 may also be ingested orally, shots are a quick way to get your body’s level of this vitamin back to where it should be.
What Is A B12 Shot Used For?
There are several benefits that a B12 shot can bring. These include the following:
Enhanced Production of Red Blood Cells.
Low vitamin B12 levels can prevent your body’s red blood cells from forming properly. They may become large and oval-shaped where they should be small and round. This deformation may prevent your blood cells from entering into your bloodstream from the bone marrow at the rate they should, with anemia as the result. B12 shots can prevent this situation from developing.
Increased Energy and Concentration.
As a result of better blood cell production, you’ll likely experience increased energy levels, and a greater capacity for concentration. This is because the more blood cells that successfully enter into your circulatory system, the more oxygen your brain and other vital organs will receive.
An anemic individual has trouble converting fats and proteins into energy. Since B12 shots help prevent the development of anemia, your metabolism will likely work at a faster rate, resulting in weight loss.
Reduced Risk of Macular Degeneration.
Researchers believe that B12 shots may reduce the amount of homocysteine in your system, an amino acid that has been linked with age-related macular degeneration.
A Boosted Immune System.
A lack of B12 not only affects the production and distribution of red blood cells; it also hinders the body’s ability to produce white blood cells, which are vital in fighting off bacterial infections, viruses, and other invading cells. By promoting the production of white blood cells, B12 shots may boost your immune system’s ability to work, thus enhancing your overall health.
Improved Sleep Patterns.
Tryptophan is an amino acid closely associated with drowsiness and the sleep cycle. While it is naturally produced within the body, vitamin B12 is an important contributor to the production process. A B12 shot can thus help you fall asleep more easily, and then stay asleep.
Prevention of Hair Loss.
When cells are not metabolized efficiently, it is difficult for the body to produce new hair growth to replace lost hair. In some cases, regular B12 shots can help to reverse this trend, and even restore your hair’s original growth rate.
Prevention of Osteoporosis.
Studies have linked vitamin B12 deficiency to low mineral density in bones. Over time, this low mineral density may cause bones to become fragile and easily breakable, and lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Regular B12 shots may help to prevent this outcome, and support your bone health.
Improved Mood and Decreased Risk of Depression.
While the correlation between vitamin B12 and mood is not fully understood by scientists, research has shown that B12 does have a role in synthesizing and metabolizing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to happiness and a sense of well-being. Therefore, B12 shots that promote higher serotonin levels may result in a better mood, and a reduced risk of falling into a depressed state.
B12 Shots and Treating B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 is critical to the human body. From red and white blood cell production to various neurological functions, B12 works to fuel vital bodily functions. Without B12 we can experience fatigue, a weakened immune system, and a lack of concentration. Unfortunately, some individuals suffer from a chronic lack of vitamin B12, also referred to as B12 deficiency. This deficiency can be treated with B12 shots.
Who Is At Risk for B12 Deficiency?
Most people receive adequate amounts of B12 through their daily food intake. However, some individuals have a higher risk of developing a B12 deficiency based on their diet or underlying conditions that interfere with B12 absorption.
Vegans and Vegetarians
Vitamin B12 is most commonly found in animal products such as meat and eggs. For vegans and vegetarians who avoid these food sources, it can be difficult to attain the necessary B12 levels. Certain foods such as cereal can be fortified with B12, but without vigilant monitoring, B12 deficiency is a very definite possibility.
B12 shots are one way to combat diet based B12 deficiency. A B12 shot is administered with an injection, which doesn’t require any dietary compromises on the patient’s behalf.
Acid Reflux Patients
Individuals who suffer from acid reflux may have been prescribed medication by their doctor classified as a proton pump inhibitor. While effective at treating acid reflux, one unfortunate side effect is that it can negatively impact B12 absorption. Over time this can lead to a B12 deficiency.
Because B12 absorption primarily occurs through the digestive process, B12 shots can help with this type of deficiency. Normally, B12 is absorbed through the stomach and then delivered throughout the body via the bloodstream. B12 shots are injected into the body and bloodstream without having to be absorbed by the stomach.
Patients Prescribed Metformin
The diabetic medication, Metformin, has been linked with decreased B12 levels. While the underlying cause of this trend is unknown, it remains a very real correlation. Patients prescribed metformin should try to monitor their B12 intake to prevent this decrease.
Patients who don’t have the luxury of keeping track of their B12 levels can turn to B12 shots to maintain healthy levels of B12. Regardless of the cause, B12 shots can be used to bring B12 levels up to normal.
If you frequently partake in alcoholic beverages, you may be at risk for B12 deficiency. Alcohol can cause irritation to the lining of the stomach, which can impact B12 absorption. Likewise, B12 is largely stored in the liver, and can be depleted with frequent alcohol exposure. A B12 shot works to replace this lost B12 while also bypassing stomach absorption. This makes for quick and effective B12 distribution.
Patients with Pernicious Anemia
Another group that is at risk for B12 deficiency is individuals who have been diagnosed with pernicious anemia. Pernicious anemia refers to a condition in which the immune system attacks a protein that is necessary for B12 absorption. When this protein is attacked, it lessens the rate of B12 absorption through the stomach.
Individuals with Digestive Problems
As previously stated, B12 is primarily absorbed through the stomach when we eat B12 rich foods. Any individuals who have digestion problems or underlying conditions that limit nutrient absorption are at risk for B12 deficiency. Again, B12 shots skip the digestive process, which helps limit the loss of B12.
Not everyone has a B12 deficiency, but everyone can benefit from the occasional B12 shot. Whether you’re looking to up your energy level, recover from a cold, or just improve your concentration, a B12 shot may be the boost you’re looking for. Find your local Hydration Room today to schedule a visit.