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Vitamin B12 Injections: Are they Good or Bad?

Updated: Aug 20, 2019

Vitamin supplements are very popular, many people regularly get injections with vitamin B12.

These can help with energy levels, brain function and weight loss, to name a few.

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the body, including:

· energy production

· DNA synthesis

· nerve cell health

· red blood cell formation

· neurological function

Am I likely to have B12 deficiency?

Younger adults – It is becoming more common to find younger adults difficient in Vitamin B12. A study published last year found one in 12 women aged between 19 and 39 were B12 deficient, despite consuming at least the UK recommended minimum intake.

Vegetarians and vegans - As vitamin B12 is found mainly in fish, meat, eggs, and dairy - people who do not consume these foods are at risk of B12 deficiency and may benefit from regular B12 shots or other supplements. It's thought that up to 90% of people following these diets have a deficiency.

Older adults - Research suggests that vitamin B12 deficiency affects a greater number of older adults than those under the age of 65. Older adults can be affected by conditions that are linked to a decrease in stomach acid production, including inflammation in the stomach (atrophic gastritis). Also, lower levels of stomach acid can encourage the growth of certain bacteria in the gut that use B12, reducing the amount of the vitamin available to the body.

What are the signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency?

Some common signs and symptoms include:

· decreased cognitive function, such as issues with memory or understanding

· fatigue

· lethargy

· constipation

· feeling faint

· depression or irritability

· headache

· difficulty maintaining balance

· sore, swollen tongue, which may be pale yellow or very red

· heart palpitations

· mouth ulcers

· paraesthesia (pins and needles)

· vision changes

What are the most common uses for Vitamin B12 injections?

· vitamin B12 deficiency

· fatigue

· pernicious anaemia

· General health

· myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome

Are there any side effects?

It’s not common to see side effects but they could include:

· injection site bruising

· injection site pain

· bruising

· jittery feeling

· burning pain at injection site

· diarrhoea

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