Vitamin B12 is a common nutrient deficiency, especially in the elderly. It’s also prevalent in those who are taking medications for acid reflux and people on antibiotics. Since the source of vitamin B12 is from animals, it can also affect those with strict vegetarian or vegan diets. It’s an essential vitamin that’s important for metabolic and hormonal functions including production of digestive enzymes and red blood cell formation.
Signs that you might be suffering from B12 deficiency include:
- Bleeding gums and mouth sores
- Chronic fatigue
- Depression and anxiety
- Digestive problems like constipation, nausea, diarrhea or cramping
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Poor memory
- Rapid heartbeat and palpitations
- Shortness of breath
Vitamin B12 deficiency can also interrupt and elevate homocysteine levels that can impact neurological and cardiovascular health. Some people have difficulty absorbing and utilizing B12 due to genetic conditions. If a diagnosis from your doctor shows you are deficient in B12, one of the most efficient ways to combat this is by receiving B12 injections. Most patients see immediate improvements in mood, cognitive abilities and increased energy levels.
Some of the benefits of B12 injections include:
- Aids fetal development during pregnancy
- Fights depression, cognitive decline and dementia
- Helps reduce fatigue
- Helps regulate hormone production
- Helps with the production of creatine for building muscle mass and reducing muscle weakness
- Helps with weight loss by improving metabolism
- Improves a low sperm count
- Improves appearance of skin, hair and nails
- Improves exercise routines by providing more energy
- Improves memory
- improves sleep
- Lowers risk of coronary heart disease.
- Treats anemia with the conversion of macronutrients
- Treats diabetic neuropathy
Diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency is through blood tests to determine whether or not you’re in the optimal range. Testing homocysteine levels in the blood is another way to diagnose the problem. Your doctor will usually administer injections of vitamin B12 in doses of 1000 mcg.
Depending on your body’s ability to store vitamin B12, injections may be repeated until the deficiency is resolved. If you cannot absorb vitamin B12 from food, an initial injection cycle of 8 to 10 administrations over two to three months, then injections once a month thereafter may be necessary.
There are usually no adverse health effects with vitamin B12 injections. Vitamin B12 can interact with certain medications, so it is always best to check with your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions.