Vitamin B12 is a common deficiency problem, with more than 90% of people on the vegan & vegetarian diets suffering from it. One way to reverse the deficiency is by going for vitamin B12 injections which studies have revealed to be effective and safe.
The B vitamins, such as riboflavin, niacin, folate, thiamine, and cobalamin are critical to the body. Among their many roles, are red blood cell production, conversion of food to energy, cell turnover and regeneration, and DNA manufacture and repair. Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is specifically needed for the body to manufacture and repair DNA, produce red blood cells and hemoglobin, and support brain function. Nonetheless, vitamin B12 deficiency is common, which is why people go for vitamin B12 injections to reverse the deficiency. Here is what you need to know about such shots, including whether they are good or bad for you.
Understanding vitamin B12 and its role in the human body
With many people showing interest in vitamin B12, you definitely would appreciate understanding what it is. It is a water-soluble vitamin, and one of the vitamin B complex. There are different forms of the vitamin, with each containing cobalt mineral, hence the name cobalamin for the B12 vitamins. This type of vitamin has numerous roles on the human body, including promoting and supporting healthy brain functionality, manufacturing and repairing DNA, and the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. These primary functions make the vitamin useful in the circulatory and nervous systems, as well as genetics and heredity.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is a global concern
On average, the human body needs at least 6 micrograms of vitamin B12. Sadly, many people do not meet this threshold, making them deficient in this essential vitamin. Since the vitamin exists naturally in animal products, most vegans and vegetarians are deficient in it, and research says that more than 90% of vegans & vegetarians are B12 deficient. Still, even meat-eaters suffer from the deficiency, showing that anyone can be affected by vitamin B12 deficiency. One reason for this is that how well vitamin B12 is absorbed into the bloodstream depends on a person’s production of intrinsic factors, or specific stomach proteins. Therefore, those who do not produce enough intrinsic factors can suffer from cobalamin deficiency. Such people include the elderly whose intrinsic factor production and vitamin B12 absorption have reduced, those with gut issues such as celiac or Crohn’s disease, and those who have been operated on the intestines for different reasons, including weight loss.
Are vitamin B12 injections necessary and effective?
Undoubtedly, you need vitamin B12 injections if you are deficient in this vitamin otherwise you risk suffering from neurological conditions or becoming pernicious anemic when your body cannot produce enough red blood cells due to insufficient vitamin B12. This may escalate and culminate into Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease which negatively affects your cognitive ability. The good news is that you can prevent all this by getting vitamin B12 shots, either as cyanocobalamin or hydroxocobalamin. Either of the shots is effective at raising vitamin B12 levels to reverse a deficiency, as well as preventing the deficiency from developing.
Potential health benefits of getting vitamin B12 shots
Admittedly, cobalamin is a critical vitamin that your body needs to function effectively. That said, here are the potential health benefits of vitamin B12 and the B12 injections.
i. A boost for brain function
Although vitamin B12 may not have a direct effect on brain function, having enough of this vitamin helps supply the brain with enough red blood cells. Consequently, vitamin B12 deficiency may be indirectly related to some forms of cognitive decline, including dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Still, getting cobalamin injections may not improve your cognitive ability if the brain is already functioning well.
ii. Reduced risk and better management of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a form of bone problem that leads to muscle mass wasting and an increased risk of bone fracture. Studies have shown that vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to increased risks of muscle mass wasting, although the line of relation remains unknown. Therefore, taking cobalamin shots may reduce your risk of osteoporosis and help you manage the condition better.
iii. Reduced risk of depression
Many people suffer from depression, and some are ending their lives because of this. Studies have shown that low cobalamin levels are linked to depression, although getting vitamin B12 injections may not necessarily treat depression. The mechanism is rather proactive than reactive and works to reduce the risk of depression but not manage a case of existing depression. Studies are still underway to pinpoint how vitamin B12 affects depression.
iv. Maintaining a good eyesight
Eyesight problems are common, with age-related macular degeneration affecting many today. In fact, the old fellows who are either approaching or are past 50 years are prone to macular degeneration, a problem that makes them lose central vision in the two eyes. Studies have concluded that taking vitamin B12 injections regularly for some years reduces the risk of eyesight issues at least by 35%. Although the shots may not necessarily prevent one from suffering from eyesight issues, they significantly lower the risk.
Are there any side effects of taking vitamin B12 injections?
Are you thinking about taking vitamin B12 shots? You might be realistically worried about whether the shots have any potential side effects. The good news is that the B12 vitamins are generally well-tolerated and safe. However, there are few cases of mild side effects, especially by individuals who are hypersensitive or allergic to the vitamin. Therefore, if you have a vitamin allergy, you may expect to have some mild side effects. In case this happens, your doctor will let you know what to do.
Vitamin B12 is a critical vitamin that helps keep the brain functioning well, promotes hemoglobin and red blood cell production, and supports DNA manufacture and repair. Its deficiency is common, especially among vegans and vegetarians, although meat-eaters can also suffer from this deficiency. One way to prevent and reverse the deficiency is by taking vitamin B12 injections, which this article has scrutinized for effectiveness. Generally, the shots are effective and safe and will support the brain and eye health, besides reducing the risk of depression. Side effects are rare, but you can expect to have some if you are allergic or hypersensitive to vitamin B12.