You might be out of energy, but you’re not out of luck. Although it’s possible that you may be deficient in essential vitamins and nutrients, our energy-boosting intravenous (IV) and intramuscular (IM) injections may be exactly what’s needed to recharge your mind and body.

Our Vitamin B12 injections for energy can improve physical stamina and mental agility. They can also combat cortisol overproduction, which leads to weight gain and skin problems. Anaemia can also be treated with B12, and as it assists with the transformation of carbohydrates into glucose, it can be taken intramuscularly as a weight loss supplement.

Vitamin C injections help preserve the body’s natural energy resources. As vitamin C encourages electron production in the body, they can prevent physical burn out.

Combining both of these ingredients with folic acid, another B vitamin, can help protect DNA and provide an even more pronounced energy boost. This is especially helpful for athletes and gym bunnies, who are most prone to physical burnout.


Have you heard about B12 shots for energy? I remember living in Miami and people would just rave about having a shot and suddenly bursting with energy for the rest of the day. I was curious but never really got in to it at that point.

However, years later talking with a friend and Dr about some issues I was having potentially related to my low iron and my low platelet count, which no one seems able to pin point a cause for he recommended B12 shots.

There was an immediate caveat: only buy the good stuff.

Which of course lead me to wonder, but how does anyone know what the good stuff is? I have smart people who can guide me, but most of us have Instagram influencing our ideas of what’s good with skinny teas and waist trainers.

A few things I quickly learned:

  • If you aren’t deficient it’s not going to do much for you
  • It’s not cheap
  • Get ready for needles
  • This is not a magic weight loss pill

That’s right, you’ll need to get over sticking yourself with a needle.

In the shots I tried, I only had one issue where it left a bruise because I got all tense and freaked myself out so I went in the muscle. You just need to relax and get to a fleshy part. The shots don’t need to be in your bum or anything crazy, I just used my thigh and made sure to not tense up.

What is Vitamin B12?

It’s a water soluble vitamin so you could just be making expensive red pee. That’s right if you’re also eating beets this is going to be a wicked weird few days in the bathroom.

What you need to know about B12 shots before trying them! #healthyliving

Symptoms of Low B12

One of the things I love from blood testing via Inside Tracker is that you begin understanding there is a difference between being in a normal range and an optimal range for performance! So you might be within range, but maybe not functioning your best.

  • Anemia
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Lack of energy
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tingling sensations in hands or feet
  • Balance problems

What’s super important to also note is that if you have issues with high caffeine use or poor sleep, you can’t fix that with B12. So if you’re just here for the energy, you need to fix any other underlying issues if you aren’t low in B12.

Causes of Low B12

It’s easy to be low in vitamin B when people first transition to plant based eating, but there are other potential causes.

  • High stress levels (i.e. combo of training and life)
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of b12 sources in diet
  • Poor digestion, hindering absorption
  • Heartburn drugs can interfere (because we need acid to absorb B12)

While the websites will define for you how much too take and how often, I just felt the recommendation was too high and stuck to taking it once a week for the first round. The second time I took it every few weeks because it didn’t seem I needed it as much.

Maybe I didn’t because I’d started to replenish my stores with better food or different training, who knows.

Food Sources of Vitamin B12

One of the things we talk about in the vitamins that runners need is how to start with food first. Unfortunately, our food quality isn’t what it used to be or we have genetic markers that make it harder for us to absorb nutrients. and that’s why we sometimes need to supplement.

  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Clams or sardines
  • Salmon, trout, tuna
  • Beef
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

Previously I’d largely removed many of those from my diet, trying to fix my digestion, which is why I was in fact low. Over the last year I worked very hard at increasing my protein intake to an adequate level for my activity and that’s gotten all my numbers back up.

Why I tried B12 Shots?

For a number of years, I’ve had a low red platelet count and frequently a high red cell volume. One of the potential causes for red cells expanding is a lack of B12, which all are on the way to various types of anemia (except I don’t have low iron).

Since I was also having some major issues with low energy and mood, the Dr who helped me get through my original no estrogen issue suggested giving B12 shots a try.

As noted above, I potentially had two things working against me: no dairy or eggs and digestive issues.

I decided to take 1 shot, 1 time a week for 6 weeks.

During that time I can 100% say that my mood and my energy levels went up substantially. I was convinced this was absolutely what I needed, so I placed an order for another round of shots. Additionally, after a few months of taking these shots, my estrogen levels started to come back up a bit. Then again, anything over 0 was an improvement, ha!

However, when I took another one I didn’t really notice anything and I decided that maybe I’d gotten my levels backup.

I stopped taking it at that point and instead started using just one a month, which seemed like it gave me a small boost at high points in training. But since I never dropped back to the massive levels of fatigue I was previously feeling, I haven’t felt it was something to continue using since those ended.

Now, I opt to get it through other sources:

  • Vega Complete Plant Based Protein Powder
  • Vitamin B complex, which is going to give you all the variations (again with pills quality is HUGE!)

From all of my research, this is actually pretty normal. Get your levels up with shots and then transition to something lower dose or once a month for maintenance. BOOM saving you time and money.

Can you overdo it on B12?

Not really. As a water soluable vitamin, you’ll simply pee out the excess. Which mostly means you’re spending money for red urine.

Will Vitamin B12 help with weight loss?

One of the other benefits often attributed to these shots in weight loss. Maybe that’s true if you get a good energy boost from it, but simply taking a B12 shot will not be your magical bullet to a tiny waist. I lost a couple lbs while using it, but those came back (because I’m pretty sure it was water) and overall my body looks exactly the same.

Wondering if a B12 shot will boost your energy or help you lose weight? Here’s the low down!

Is a shot better than a pill?

Some people believe it’s better to bypass the digestive system with the shot and I’m in that camp because my stomach can get so fincky with pills. But in most cases, no. Drs seem to believe you’ll get the same benefits from either one.

What to know about shots?

As with all supplements, there is high and low quality. The typical form of B12 used in doctors offices is cyanocobalamin, a cheaper and subpar form of B12. Methylcobalamin form is the “active” form of vitamin B12 and does not require conversion in the body to be used.

Have you ever tried B12 shots?

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There’s Something You Really Need to Know About IV Vitamin ‘Shots’

Want to boost your immune system, reduce your physical signs of ageing, or cleanse your blood to get rid of toxins? Intravenous (IV) vitamin therapy, or vitamin drips, promise to help.

Some claim they can even benefit serious conditions like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, the eye condition macular degeneration, the pain of fibromyalgia and depression.

Celebrities have promoted them on social media. The demand has led to alternative therapy lounges popping up around the world, including in Australia. Patients can kick back in comfy leather chairs while they’re hooked up to IVs in the infusion lounge, watch Netflix and have some tea.

But do they work? Or are you just paying for really expensive urine? Let’s look at what the science says.

What is IV vitamin therapy?

IV vitamin therapy administers vitamins and minerals directly into the bloodstream via a needle that goes directly into your vein. Fans of the therapy believe this enables you to obtain more nutrients as you avoid the digestion process.

Providers of these injections say they customise the formula of vitamins and minerals depending on the perceived needs of the patient.

Right now for example, many Australian lounges are offering drip “cocktails” containing immune boosting vitamins like vitamin C and zinc to help protect against the flu. Other popular therapy sessions come under names like “Energy Cocktail” and “Glow”. One vitamin IV therapy session can take 30-90 minutes and will cost between AU$80 to $1,000 (US$55 to $700).

Does IV vitamin therapy work?

IV therapy itself is not new and has been used in the medical profession for decades. In hospitals, it is commonly used to hydrate patients and administer essential nutrients if there is an issue with gut absorption, or long-term difficulty eating or drinking due to surgery.

Single nutrient deficiencies like vitamin B12 or iron are also often treated in hospital with infusions under medical supervision.

But the “cocktails” IV vitamin therapy clinics create and administer are not supported by scientific evidence. There have been no clinical studies to show vitamin injections of this type offer any health benefit or are necessary for good health.

In fact, there are very few studies that have looked at their effectiveness at all.

There is one review on the use of the “Myers’ cocktail” (a solution of magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and a number of B vitamins). But it just contains a collection of anecdotal evidence from singular case studies.

Another trial looked into the effectiveness of IV vitamin therapy in reducing symptoms of 34 people with the the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia. It found no significant differences between those who received the “Myers’ cocktail” once a week for eight weeks and those who did not.

In fact, the authors noted a strong placebo effect. In other words, many people said their symptoms improved when they were only injected with a “dummy” cocktail.

Another study that examined IV vitamin use in fibromyalgia patients was missing a placebo group, involved just seven patients and showed only short-term improvement in symptoms. The only other published study examined IV vitamin therapy use for asthma. But that study was of even poorer quality.

What are the risks of IV vitamin therapy?

Even when it comes to vitamins and minerals, you can have too much of a good thing. For example, if you take in more of the fat soluble vitamin A than you need, your body stores it, risking damage to major organs, like the liver.

IV vitamin therapy “cocktails” also often contain significant levels of the water soluble vitamins C and B. These are processed by the kidneys and excreted into urine when the body cannot store any more. This makes for some very expensive urine.

There is also the risk of infection with IV vitamin therapy. Any time you have an IV line inserted, it creates a direct path into your bloodstream and bypasses your skin’s defence mechanism against bacteria.

People with certain conditions like kidney disease or renal failure shouldn’t have IV vitamin therapy because they cannot quickly remove certain minerals from the body. For these people, adding too much potassium could lead to a heart attack.

People with heart, kidney or blood pressure conditions should also avoid IV vitamin therapy as there is risk of fluid overload without consistent monitoring. The consequences of fluid overload in these patients can include heart failure, delayed wound healing, and impaired bowel function.

What’s the bottom line?

For most of us, the quantities of vitamins and minerals needed for good health can be obtained by eating a healthy diet with a wide range of foods and food groups. Obtaining vitamins and minerals from your diet is much easier, cheaper, and safer.

Unless you have a medically diagnosed reason for getting a vitamin infusion and it was prescribed by your doctor, you are always better off obtaining vitamins and minerals through food.

Emily Burch, Accredited Dietitian/Nutritionist & PhD Candidate, Griffith University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Do You Need Vitamin B12 Injections?

Is it possible to inject motivation? Many people seem to think so, judging by the popularity of vitamin B12 injections at weight-loss centers around the country. But do these injections really work? And who are they really for? Below, we break down the ABCs of vitamin B12 to help you better understand how this vital nutrient contributes to your overall well-being.

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 plays a huge role in some of your body’s most important processes, including nerve function and cellular metabolism. Without it, your body could not form new red blood cells or DNA.

Because the body cannot produce vitamin B12 by itself, it must absorb it from food—specifically animal products such as meat, fish, milk, eggs, and cheese. Some other foods such as cereals and bread products may also be fortified with vitamin B12.

What is vitamin B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when the body does not have enough vitamin B12 to function correctly. There are many reasons this might happen: if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and do not take a vitamin B12 supplement, you might eventually become deficient. You may also become B12 deficient if you are having trouble absorbing the nutrient. A condition known as pernicious anemia can cause this, as can certain diseases of the digestive tract. Additionally, some medications may interfere with your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from the food you eat.

Because your liver can store several years’ worth of vitamin B12, you may not realize you have a problem absorbing vitamin B12 until your stores run out and symptoms present. The National Institutes of Health reports that between 1.5% and 15% of the public has a deficiency.

What are B12 deficiency symptoms?

Because vitamin B12 is essential to red blood cell formation and nerve function, symptoms can be quite widespread. Patients with vitamin B12 deficiency often report one or more of the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities
  • Poor balance
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Swollen tongue
  • Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
  • Depression
  • Memory loss or dementia

However, since many of these symptoms can be attributed to other conditions, it’s important to see a physician who can test your B vitamin levels and properly diagnose the deficiency.

Should I get vitamin B12 injections?

If tests show you are vitamin B12 deficient, your physician will likely recommend a course of injections to help boost your levels. This is especially true if your deficiency is caused by an inability to absorb the vitamin from food—since the vitamin is injected straight into your bloodstream, it’s easier for your body to start using it right away.

Where can I find B12 injections near me?

Will vitamin B12 shots give me energy?

That depends: if you have been experiencing fatigue as a result of a B12 deficiency, then chances are you will feel more energized as your body begins to use and store B12 again. However, many people who are not B12 deficient believe that getting regular B12 injections helps keep their energy levels up. It’s unclear whether they are experiencing a real increase in energy or if this is the placebo effect at work.

The good news is that B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning whatever your body doesn’t use or store will be flushed out of your body naturally. So while there’s no scientific evidence that bonus B12 in your system will give you extra energy, there’s also no harm in it if you choose to go that route.

Should you use B12 injections for weight loss?

In recent years, B12 injections have been touted as a popular weight-loss tool, with many clinics offering them as part of a diet and exercise package. But do they actually help you lose weight?

Again, the answer here is… it depends. If poor energy levels from a vitamin B12 deficiency are making it impossible for you to lose weight, then injections could certainly go a long way to getting you energized and back in the gym. Vitamin B12 also helps to break down carbohydrates and turn fats and proteins into energy, so if you’re not getting enough B12, your body might not be doing these things well, resulting in some unwanted weight loss.

Of course, if your B12 levels are just fine, there’s no evidence to suggest that introducing an excess of the vitamin into your body would help you meet your weight-loss goals faster.

What are lipotropic B12 injections?

Lipotropic injections are B12 injections specifically formulated to help with weight loss. Unlike standard B12 injections, which just contain the vitamin, lipotropic injections also include a cocktail of other nutrients believed to help aid weight loss, such as methionine, choline, inositol, and betaine. It’s believed that this combination of nutrients helps stimulate liver function and kick-start fat burning, however more studies are needed to determine whether or not they are effective.

What are the side effects of vitamin B12?

According to the NIH, vitamin B12 has not been shown to cause any harm. However, in some people, it might cause diarrhea, blood clots, and allergic reactions.


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I was hesitant for this rite of passage. In what sort of world did a newer team member of a company get a shot of B vitamins injected into their backside to be an official part of the crew?

Welcome to the Gene Food world.

Last week, I was in sunny San Diego for a work retreat with John and Taylor, when after breakfast one morning, John proposed getting B vitamin shots together. A look of glee combined with mischief spread across Taylor’s face — he had gotten a vitamin B12 shot within his first two weeks of working with John two years ago, and now it was my turn.

So, what are these B vitamin shots all about, and why should I get one?

And why did Taylor keep smiling our entire walk to the clinic?

What’s in a Vitamin B12 shot?

It depends. Vitamin B12 shots are pretty popular — just type into Google and you’ll probably see some locations to get them near you if you live in a hip city.

In San Diego, we stopped by KOI Wellbeing in the charming Bird Rock neighborhood. KOI offers a variety of vitamin injections as well as IV therapy. We went with the “B Balanced” shot, a combination of 1,000 micrograms of methyl B12 and 500 mcg each of B5 and B6, plus methyl folate as an add-on.

Note: B12 shots are intended as an occasional top off, we wouldn’t take these high doses of B vitamins over the long term in light of some of the research that has come out discussing the increased risk of cancer with prolonged high doses of B vitamin supplements.

We received the most active (and highest quality) form of B12, methylcobalamin.

Types of B12

B12 form What it does
Methylcobalamin Most active form of B12 found in the human body. Converts homocysteine into methionine and provides overall protection of nervous and cardiovascular system.
Cyanocobalamin Synthetic version of B12. Very stable but uses cyanide, requiring the body to expend energy to remove it.
Hydroxocobalamin This B12 is the main one found in our foods and converts to methylcobalamin in our bodies.
Adenosylcobalamin Least stable form of B12, responsible for energy formation during citric acid cycle.

Benefits of B12 shots

B12 shots are an easy way for people to address one of the most common vitamin deficiencies and increase their energy and boost their mood. Vitamin B12 is important for proper red blood cell formation and brain function in addition to DNA synthesis, energy production and nerve cell health. It’s also really important when it comes to converting homocysteine back into methionine. Supplementing with B12 may do a whole range of good stuff for us, including possibly preventing dementia and improving healthy fetal development during pregnancy.12

Because B12 is almost exclusively found in animal sources, strict vegans and vegetarians are much more likely to be deficient. People with gastrointestinal disorders like Celiac or Crohn’s disease and older adults also may have issues with absorbing B12. A B12 deficiency can lead to anemia and permanent nerve damage.3

Some indicators of a B12 deficiency also may be linked to problems with low B6 or folate, which we’ll get into in a minute.

Recommended B12 Intake

Adults, both male and female, should have 2.4 mcg of B12 daily, according to the National Institutes of Health. Pregnant or breastfeeding Moms need a little bit more. Dietary B12 supplements usually come in the form of cyanocobalamin, but this is the cheapest form of B12, our vitamin B12 injection contained methyl B12, which is more readily absorbable.

As a general rule, only about 10 mcg of a 500 mcg supplement is absorbed in healthy people.4

Although most people get enough B12 in their diets — about 3.4 mcg daily is the median in the U.S. — some may want to consider an injection because of how they process certain vitamins due to changes in genetics.

Vitamin B and MTHFR mutations

This brings me to my next point. While most of us, unless we’re hardcore vegans, are getting enough B vitamins, are our bodies actually processing them efficiently?

It may depend on your MTHFR genes.

For those interested in a deep dive into MTHFR and taking B vitamin supplements, we did a recent podcast episode titled “The Latest Science on MTHFR, Dosing B Vitamins, APOE4 and more with Dr. Aaron Gardner.”

I have one copy of the C677T allele of MTHFR, which means I process folic acid less efficiently. This can cause high homocysteine levels, which can increase my risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia.567

John and Taylor also each have an MTHFR mutation, so we all added methyl folate (B9) to our Vitamin B12 shots.

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How I felt after my Vitamin B12 shot

Before my Vitamin B12 shot, I had felt drained and tired. I had had three nights in a row of about 5 hours of sleep, and even two cups of coffee at breakfast that morning hadn’t perked me up.

The process of getting the shot was pretty simple and took only a few minutes. The vitamins are injected near the back of your hip, so you have to unzip your pants and get a little comfortable with a stranger. Luckily, I had some privacy and got to chat for a little bit with the health professional. Everyone was super nice at KOI and the space was bright, clean and inviting.

While I was surprised to feel a little sore on my backside immediately after the injection, within 10-15 minutes I did feel an improved mood and like the bags had lifted from under my eyes. Either it was the coffee kicking in or the shot — but I bet on the shot. John, Taylor and I took a quick walk to the beach and with the crisp wind whipping around and sun shining on our faces, it felt like a refreshing post-spa experience. Once we got into the warm car to go home, I started to feel a little tired again but otherwise was much more alert than I had been earlier that morning. I told Taylor, whom I usually joke around all day with at work, that I felt “less sassy than normal.” Improvement, or no?

John and the woman administering our shots both mentioned I might be able to taste a little of the vitamin injection in the back of my throat, and that I might see a little orange tinge to my urine later — both were true. John said I would probably feel best the next morning, but again, I’m not sure if it was the actual full night of sleep I finally got or the shot that did make me feel pretty much back to my normal, pre-fatigued self (with a little less sarcasm included).

B12 Injection Side Effects

The clinic where we got shots is staffed by doctors. It is crucial to check with your doctor before taking a B12 injection.

Vitamin B12 shots can cause some side effects, such as diarrhea or feeling as if your whole body is swollen, although I didn’t notice any negative symptoms after mine other than a sore backside for a few hours.

Commonly reported side effects include:

  • Soreness at injection site
  • Strange taste in your mouth
  • Upset stomach

Be sure to speak with your doctor immediately if you have any serious, but rare, side effects, including muscle weakness, leg pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, and others. Anyone with allergies or medical conditions, or people who are on antibiotics or other medication that may interact with B12, should consult their doctor before receiving a vitamin injection. It’d also help to know what MTHFR mutations you have, if any, so consider getting a DNA test done to ensure you’re getting the vitamin shots that would work best for you.

Would I get a vitamin B12 shot again?

I would definitely consider it, though I’d like to get a test for whether or not I have any other vitamin deficiencies to better tailor my experience. The rest of KOI’s vitamin injection offerings looked tempting — they have weight-loss support shots and ones for muscle repair after workouts, for example — so I’d be curious to check out a local wellness clinic at home in Austin for similar options.

If you’re creeped out by shots — or getting them done in front of your coworkers — and you have an MTHFR mutation, a different type of vitamin form may able to help. Let us know in the comments how vitamin B12 injections have worked for you!

Vitamin B12 (injection)

Generic Name: cyanocobalamin (injection) (sye AN oh koe BAL a min)
Brand Name: Vitamin B12, Vitamin B-12

Medically reviewed by on Dec 6, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

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What is Vitamin B12 ?

Vitamin B12 is used to treat vitamin B12 deficiency in people with pernicious anemia and other conditions.

Vitamin B12 may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use Vitamin B12 if you are allergic to cobalt, or if you have Leber’s disease.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to Vitamin B12 or cobalt, or if you have Leber’s disease (an inherited form of vision loss). This medicine can lead to optic nerve damage (and possibly blindness) in people with Leber’s disease.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • eye problems or Leber’s disease (in you or a family member);

  • kidney or liver disease;

  • iron or folic acid deficiency;

  • any type of infection; or

  • if you are receiving any medication or treatment that affects bone marrow.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy or while you are nursing.

How is Vitamin B12 given?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Vitamin B12 is injected into a muscle or under the skin. A healthcare provider may teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.

Your dose needs may change if you become pregnant, if you breastfeed, or if you eat a vegetarian diet. Tell your doctor about any changes in your diet or medical condition.

Always follow directions on the medicine label about giving Vitamin B12 to a child. Your child’s dose will depend on age, weight, diet, and other factors.

For pernicious anemia, you may have to use Vitamin B12 for the rest of your life. Do not stop using the medicine unless your doctor tells you to. Untreated vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia or irreversible nerve damage.

Pernicious anemia is also treated with folic acid to help maintain red blood cells. Folic acid alone will not treat Vitamin B12 deficiency or prevent possible damage to the spinal cord. Use all medications as directed.

You will need frequent medical tests.

Vitamin B12 can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using Vitamin B12.

Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

Use a needle and syringe only once and then place them in a puncture-proof “sharps” container. Follow state or local laws about how to dispose of this container. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose.

Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using Vitamin B12?

Avoid drinking large amounts of alcohol while you are being treated with Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • heart problems–swelling, rapid weight gain, feeling short of breath;

  • fluid build-up in or around the lungs–pain when you breathe, feeling short of breath while lying down, wheezing, gasping for breath, cough with foamy mucus, cold and clammy skin, anxiety, rapid heartbeats; or

  • low potassium level–leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling.

Common side effects may include:

  • diarrhea; or

  • swelling anywhere in your body.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Vitamin B12?

Other drugs may affect Vitamin B12, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01.

Medical Disclaimer

More about Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)

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Consumer resources

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Other brands: Neuroforte-R, B-12 Dots, Cobal 1000, Nascobal, … +4 more

Professional resources

  • Cyanocobalamin (FDA)

Related treatment guides

  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency
  • B12 Nutritional Deficiency
  • Pernicious Anemia
  • Schilling Test

Who needs vitamin B-12 shots and why?

While B-12 supplements and foods fortified with the vitamin are readily available, vitamin B-12 shots are only available by prescription, so a clinical diagnosis is always necessary.

It is important to note that low levels are rare in most healthy adults because the human liver stores several years’ worth of vitamin B-12.

However, some groups of people are more at risk of deficiency than others and may wish to discuss the possibility of B-12 shots with their doctor. These at-risk groups include:

People with signs and symptoms of B-12 deficiency

Anyone who is displaying any of the signs and symptoms of a B-12 deficiency or pernicious anemia should consult their doctor immediately.

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

B-12 deficiency risk factors

Share on PinterestBoth diabetes and some medications for type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Also, the following risk factors can increase the chance of developing vitamin B-12 deficiency:

  • alcohol abuse
  • smoking
  • certain prescription medications, including antacids and some type 2 diabetes drugs
  • having an endocrine-related autoimmune disorder, such as diabetes or a thyroid disorder
  • eating a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease
  • gastric bypass or the removal of parts of the stomach
  • aging

People with gastrointestinal issues

A gastrointestinal tract that does not function normally may inhibit vitamin B-12 release or absorption. For this reason, people with disorders such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease may be at higher risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Individuals who have undergone gastrointestinal surgery, including weight loss surgery, may have less of the cells necessary to secrete stomach acid and intrinsic factor. As a result, they may struggle to absorb B-12.

Vitamin B-12 shots, rather than oral supplements, may be particularly helpful for people who have gastrointestinal issues because injections tend to bypass these areas.

Older adults

Research suggests that vitamin B-12 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).

Furthermore, lower levels of stomach acid can encourage the growth of certain bacteria in the gut that use B-12, reducing the amount of the vitamin available to the body.

The Institute of Medicine recommend that adults over 50 meet their vitamin B-12 needs with fortified foods, B-12 shots, or other supplements, as these man-made forms appear to be more readily absorbed than naturally occurring B-12.

Vegetarians and vegans

As vitamin B-12 is found mainly in fish, meat, eggs, and dairy, people who do not consume these foods are at risk of B-12 deficiency and may benefit from regular B-12 shots or other supplements.

Research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that vegans and some strict vegetarians have low levels of vitamin B-12.

Of 232 vegans studied, over half were classed as being deficient in vitamin B-12. The deficiency was observed in just 7 percent of the vegetarians studied, and in only one of the omnivores.

Vegetarian or vegan women who are pregnant will need to be especially careful about supplementing or consuming fortified foods, as vitamin B-12 transfers to the baby via the placenta and breast milk.

Infants who have vitamin B-12 deficiency can experience permanent and severe neurological issues.

Naturopathic Womens Wellness

You may be wondering, what’s the big deal with Vitamin B12 “shots” (injections). Lots of people are talking about them these days –What are they good for? Do they really give you more energy? Do they hurt? Can anyone get them?


Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is required to make red blood cells. It also plays an essential role in the production of your DNA, plays a role in the production of ATP the enrgy unit for the cell and supports the proper functioning of your nervous system. Additoinally it helps the body detoxify by making toxins and hormones more water soluble so they can leave the body. In short, we need B12 for brain health, nerve health, hormone health, detoxification, immune support and energy.


The average adult should get 2.4 micrograms a day to maintain healthy stores but if you are deficient you need a lot more. Like most vitamins, B12 can’t be made by the body, and must be obtained via food or supplements.


Natural sources of Vitamin B12 include animal products such as beef, eggs, fish, poultry, and dairy. However, it can also be found in foods fortified with B12 like bread, cereal, and non-dairy milk (soy, almond, or rice).

You’re at risk of deficiency if you don’t get enough from your diet or aren’t able to absorb enough from the food you eat. For example, B12 is an important nutrient for vegans and vegetarians because they do not eat meat and/or dairy products.

B12 is incredibly complicated to absorb. It requires lots of stomach acid and a molecule call intrinsic factor that is produced in the stomach. All of those elements must come together in the stomach and the intrinsic factor must bind to a receptor in the ileum (the end of your small intestines)

As we age, there also is less absorption of B12 due to reduced stomach acids. Unfortunately, B12 deficiency is common, especially in the older population.

Some people don’t consume enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs, while others can’t absorb enough, no matter how much they take in. As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common, especially among older people.

Even if you ARE getting enough B12 from food, your levels can be depleted by both internal and external factors.


B12 deficiency defined – B12 levels of under about 200 umols/L of blood is termed a B12 deficiency, where neurological symptoms begin to appear. However, most functional medicine doctors prefer B12 levels to be at least above 600 umols/L because it plays such a crucial role

Causes of B12 deficiency can include stress, alcohol, smoking, digestive issues, cardiovascular disease and illness, or poor nutrition. Metformin (a glucose-lowering medication for type II diabetes) is also known to deplete the vitamin.


Symptoms of B12 deficiency – Deficiency can cause anemia. B12 also keeps homocysteine low. High homocysteine is an independent risk factor for heart disease and can cause inflammation in the body. B12 deficiency can result in neurological symptoms such as neuropathy: numbness and tingling, depression, dizziness, anemia and fatigue. Suboptimal levels can result in fatigue.

· Pale or Jaundiced Skin

· Weakness and Fatigue

· Sensations of Pins and Needles

· Changes to Mobility

· Cracked lips and Mouth Ulcers

· Breathlessness and Dizziness

· Disturbed Vision

· Mood Changes

· High Temperature

· Irregular periods


A serious vitamin B12 deficiency can be corrected two ways: weekly shots of vitamin B12 or daily high-dose B12 pills.

Supplements of B12 come in three main forms: cyanocobalamin, hydroxycobalamin and methylcobalamin.

WHICH ONE DO WE USE? Methylcobalamin is the active form of B12, which is easily absorbed and passes the blood brain barrier, making it an effective treatment for depression and mental fatigue. Cyanocobalamin must be converted to hydroxycobalamin, which is then converted to methylcobalamin. Many people have inadequate enzymes to convert cyano and hydroxycobalamin to the active form. Therefore, supplementing with methylcobalamin is the best option.


B12 can be used to treat:

· Fatigue

· Asthma

· Allergies

· Eczema

· Some types of anemia

· Nervous system disorders

· Estrogen dominance

· Support detoxification

· Mental clarity

· Irritability and Depression

· Weakness

· Anxiety

Benefit of injections you bypass the digestive system, better absorption. This especially important for people taking acid blocking medications, low acid production or other digestive issues. People with these issues simply will not get adequate absorption orally.

Injections of B12 can be used to treat depression, obesity, weight gain, fatigue, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis and dementia among other conditions. In most people, B12 injections provide a welcome energy boost. A series of shots of 5000 mcg of methylcobalamin is a powerful treatment for depression; B12 helps the body make serotonin, the happy neurotransmitter.

By Dr. Hillary Roland, ND

B12 shot lose weight

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