b12-shots-imageVitamin B12 in the Body

       Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) works with folic acid in many body processes, including the synthesis of DNA, red blood cells and the insulation sheath (the myelin sheath) that surrounds nerve cells. It also speeds the conduction of the signals along those nerve cells.

Vitamin B12 may also be involved in the production of some neurotransmittersIt is needed, along with folic acid and vitamin B6, to keep homocysteine levels low which is very important in reducing the risk of developing heart disease.

In order to absorb the small amounts of vitamin B12 found in food, the stomach secretes intrinsic factor, a special digestive secretion that increases the absorption of vitamin B12 in the small intestine.

 Who May Benefit from B12 injections?

·       Vegetarians or vegans

·       Individuals taking certain medications (i.e., oral contraceptives, diabetes medication, or medication for heartburn)

·       Individuals over age 50-60

·       Individuals experiencing chronic stress and fatigue

·       Individuals suffering from certain neurological, digestive, or heart conditions

Why an injection?

Injections of hydroxycobalamin B12 are long acting and help the body achieve higher levels of B12 faster than does oral supplementation. In addition, by bypassing intestinal absorption, we can overcome barriers presented by certain drugs or metabolic conditions. Within as little as 2 hours and for up to 2 weeks after a B12 injection, patients report they feel more energy and uplifted, with an increased sense of well-being. Patients often respond well to a series of six to twelve B12 shots to bring them up to a healthy baseline. Once stores are replenished, the liver can store excess Vitamin B12—up to 10 years’ worth!

What are the potential risks and complications?

Sometimes there is a residual soreness in the affected muscle.  This shouldn’t last more than a day or two.  People who receive many shots in the same area might note some hardening of the skin tissues surrounding the injection site. If redness and swelling arise at the site, please call your doctor’s office. In extremely rare circumstances individuals may have an allergic reaction or develop anaphylaxis (medical emergency) to these injections. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include swelling of the tissues in the mouth/throat making it increasingly difficult to breathe and possibly extensive itching of the skin. For this reason, at a minimum, the first B12 injection should occur at the doctor’s office. It is also important to remain at the doctor’s office for 15 minutes after the first injection to watch for signs of anaphylaxis (medical emergency). Highly allergenic persons are advised to own an Epipen and to be prepared to call 911 if symptoms of anaphylaxis develop at home.