B12 Injections: What is B12 and Who Needs It?
I am happy to announce that I am now officially offering Vitamin B12 shots! But what does that mean, and who needs them?
What is Vitamin B12 and How do I know If I Have A Deficiency?
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. It is not generally present in plant foods other than through fortification processes. It is required for neurological function, DNA creation, red blood cell formation, homocysteine regulation (an amino acid recognized as being a marker for a number of diseases), and acts as a cofactor for a number of processes and reactions in the body.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency can include: decreased cognitive function (memory, understanding, focus), fatigue, depression, anxiety, nerve issues, weakness, constipation, soreness of the mouth or tongue, etc. There are also certain drugs and health conditions that can increase the likelihood of developing a B12 deficiency such as: alcohol abuse, antacid use, smoking, celiac disease, other digestive concerns, pregnancy, a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, and even natural aging.
Vitamin B12 levels can be checked with a simple blood test. While the ‘normal range,’ is typically between 138-652pmol/L, the reality is that many patients feel better if B12 levels are in the higher end of that range. B12 is stored quite well by the liver, so sometimes we don’t see low levels on bloodwork even in someone who might be experiencing low intracellular levels of B12.
Injections vs. Oral Supplementation
Studies suggest that about 56% of an oral B12 supplement is absorbed, but this is largely dependent on the capacity of intrinsic factor (a glycoprotein released by the stomach that is needed for B12 absorption). If intrinsic factor is compromised, a much smaller percentage of this supplement is absorbed. B12 injections bypass some of the potential barriers to absorption so can be very helpful especially in patients with digestive concerns or pill fatigue.
The B12 that I use in my practice is methylcobalamin - one of the coenzyme forms of vitamin B12 that is easy for the body to use.
Who needs B12 injections and how often they are needed depends on the individual patient and is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Concerned about your B12 levels? Want to boost your mood and energy? I can help!
I offer injections within your regular Naturopathic Visits, or separately in a Naturopathic Injection Visit. Book an appointment today!