Introduction into Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 Injections

Vitamin supplements are very popular. People often believe they’ll act as a safety net and help to ensure adequate nutrient intake. Supplementing with vitamin B12 is particular common, because deficiency is widespread. In fact, many people regularly get injections with vitamin B12. These are claimed to help with energy levels, brain function and weight loss to name a few.

What is vitamin B12 and what does it do?

Vitamin B12 is a water – soluble vitamin, also known as cobalamin. It plays a vital role in brain function and the production of DNA and red blood cells. Chemically, vitamin B12 can exist in a number of different forms, but all of them contain the mineral cobalt. The vitamin can be stored in the liver for a long time, so it may take a few years for a deficiency to develop.

Bottom line: Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin that plays an important role in brain function and red blood cell production.

Many people are deficient

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin B12 is 6 micrograms per day. Deficiency is common, especially in people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. In fact, It’s thought that up to 90% of people following these diets have a deficiency. This is because B12 is only found naturally in animal foods. However, vegans and vegetarians are not the only ones who are deficient. Even some meat eaters don’t absorb it very well unlike other vitamins, the absorption if vitamin B12 depends on a protein produced in your stomach, called intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor binds vitamin B12, so that you can absorb it into the blood. People who don’t produce enough intrinsic factor can become deficient. Deficiency is particularly common in elderly people, because the ability to absorb vitamin B12 can decrease with age. Other people at risk of deficiency include those who have had intestinal surgery, including weight loss surgery. Those with diseases that affect the gut, such as crohns disease or celiac disease, are also at risk.

Bottom Line – Those at greatest risk of vitamin B12 deficiency are vegans and vegetarians, who get little to no B12 from the diet. Deficiency can also be caused by poor absorption.


Vitamin B12 shots are very effective

An untreated vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to neurological problems or pernicious anaemia, which occurs when your body doesn’t have enough B12 to produce the amount of red blood cells it needs. Vitamin B12 shots are the most common way to prevent or treat a deficiency. The injections are given intramuscularly, or into muscle. We inject only in the arm, and you will be shown how to do this during your training. Injections are usually given as hydroxocobalamin or cyanocobalamin at the doctors as these are much more cost effective for the healthcare system. These are very effective at raising blood levels of B12 and preventing /reversing a deficiency but we don’t feel as effective as another we will discuss later.


Bottom Line – If you are deficient in vitamin B12, then the injections are very effective at raising your blood levels.