This is my first of many “Spotlight Series” posts, highlighting various services, therapies, or nutrients that I offer in my practice.
I’d like to start with “B12 shots”. These are small injections of vitamin B12 into the shoulder or glute muscle. These have become very popular in recent times.
Functions of vitamin B12:
- Energy production
- Proper red blood cell formation
- Methylation (a chemical reaction that directs various body processes like healing, DNA expression, neurotransmitter synthesis, detoxification, and immunity)
B12 deficiency can lead to:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Numbness, tingling or weakness
- Poor memory
- Alzheimer disease
- Abnormal immune function
- Multiple sclerosis
- Ringing in the ears
- Chronic inflammation
Sources of B12:
B12 is found ONLY in animal products and fortified foods. It is made by bacteria in the digestive tract, even in humans. However, our B12 is made in the large intestine, rather than the stomach as in cows, and therefore not absorbable anymore (only water and electrolytes are absorbed from the large intestine). Therefore, strict vegans must supplement with B12.
Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is sometimes added to B12 shots. Folic acid and B12 work together to perform the above functions, so it’s important to be sure you are getting both.
Why should I get an injection instead of a sublingual or oral form?
- You may want to try an injection if you:
- Have a gastrointestinal condition (Celiac, Crohn’s) or have had stomach surgery, reducing your ability to absorb the vitamin.
- Have low stomach acid. This can be caused by advanced age, stress, or antacid drugs.
- Lack of a stomach secretion called intrinsic factor (pernicious anemia).
- Are not finding benefit from your current oral supplement.
How often should I get a B12 shot?
- Unlike the other B vitamins, B12 can stick around for years in the liver so it does not need to be replenished every day. Some people feel good with weekly injections, others prefer monthly. Check with your health care practitioner to figure out the best frequency of injections for you.
- Testing can also give you a good idea of your current B12 levels.
Call Complete Health Clinic at 403-995-4640 to book your B9/B12 injection today!
- Dr. Annie