TO B-12 OR NOT TO B-12

Vitamin B12 injections have recently gained continuous traction and been integrated into common practices for many medical and naturopathic providers for wellness and maintenance of health; however, skeptics in the area have frequently questioned the evidence and rationale supporting B12 supplementation. This article will explore the history of B12 supplementation and examine some of the literature regarding B12 shots and its usages.

Vitamins are compounds that help the body work and engage in various regulatory actions that are crucial to life. There are two categories of vitamins, water-soluble vitamins like C and B vitamins, and fat-soluble vitamins such as A,D and E. The difference between the two subtypes defines the vitamins in addition to the possibility of toxicity with supplementation. Water- soluble vitamins are easily dissolved in water-based environments like blood, and get excreted if there's excess. Fat-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are stored in fatty tissue and may accumulate to harmful and toxic levels with over utilization.

Vitamin B12 is a must in various metabolic process in the body, also participates in red blood cell production, functioning of the nervous system, regulating sleep and mood, and even affecting levels of other chemicals in the body that assist with maintenance of organs like the brain, eye and heart. Deficiency in vitamin B12 can subsequently lead to red blood cell deficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep-mood ailments or problems with peripheral nerves.

B12 is found naturally in animal products and absorbed in the digestive tract after binding to a molecule created by the stomach called intrinsic factor.  Various factors which range from physiology and diet can then decide on the amount of B12 absorbed. Studies have shown that 10-40% of the general public are deficient in B12. Certain population groups like vegan, vegetarians tend toward such deficiency because of diet. Others that suffer with gastro-intestinal ailments like Crohn's disease or the chronically ill, alcoholics, the elderly, as well as individuals that have undergone gastric surgery are also often deficient of B12.

For individuals suffering from lack of B12, supplementation can usually reverse the symptoms associated with deficiency. B12 can be supplemented in three ways, orally, intramuscularly (IM) with B12 shots and shots, and eventually intravenously with IV drips. Oral supplementation of B12 results in slower absorption and provides just a portion of the available compound to the body compared to IM or IV use. Because of this much larger doses need to be consumed more often to achieve the same concentration of B12 in the body with oral replacement. IV replacement is the most effective in raising B12 levels, but could subsequently drop off as a result of excretion of water-soluble vitamins. Thus IV vitamin drips administered together with B12 shots is perfect because it rapidly replaces levels, but has a constant supply as a consequence of the intramuscular depot of B12 injection.

In conclusion, B12 deficiency is common in the general public. Low levels of vitamin B12 may lead to serious health issues and affect quality of life. B12 replacement therapy is safe and may be delivered by several procedures.