Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 (also called “Cobalamin”) is one of the most important supplements that our body requires in order to function properly.
It is from the family of B vitamins and is considered one of the essential vitamins for our brain and nervous system to function. Vitamin B12 is one the components of the red blood cells and it is involved in the metabolism of amino acids and fatty acids and in short, it contributes to the metabolism of every single cell in our body.
Due to the importance of B12 to our body function, it is one of most popular treatments we offer at our clinic in North Vancouver. We get so many questions about Vitamin B12 injections. Things like: Am I a right candidate for it? What symptoms should I have in order to seek the shot? How frequent should I receive the shot? What change/changes will I see after receiving the shot(s)?
In this blog, we are going to explore the subject and answer all these questions.
Cynocobalamin vs Methlcobalamin: What is the difference?
There are two main forms of vitamin B12, known as Cynocobalamin and Methylcobalamin.
Cynocolabalamin is the form that is found easier and it is more accessible in dairy and animal products. It has to be converted to Methylcobalamin by the Liver in order for our body to be able to utilize it. At our clinic we offer the Methylcobalamin B12 shots, as we want to avoid any pressure or any extra load of work on the liver. As a result, the absorption of the vitamin is faster and better.
Are you the right candidate for B12 shots?
Our diet, lifestyle, and general health can determine to some extent whether we are deficient in Vitamin B12 supplement or not. Here are some examples of people who might suffer from B12 deficiency:
Vegans & Vegetarians
In general, if you are a vegetarian or vegan individual, you might look into checking your Vitamin B12 via a blood test to find out if you are deficient.
We always witness in our clinic that individuals who are vegan or vegetarians are often deficient in vitamin B12. Since vegan and vegetarian individuals do not consume red meat and in case of vegans, they avoid dairy, they have to find other sources of food to make up the deficiency of vitamin B12 consumption.
People who suffer from abnormal bowel movements
If you suffer from abnormal, irregular bowel movements, including regular constipation or diarrhea, you might want to look into the amount of B12 absorption from your daily diet. When consumed orally (pills, animal protein, dairy, etc), the absorption of vitamin B12 takes place in the small intestine. So people who suffer from bowel movements issues tend not to fully absorb the vitamin B12 from their daily diet.
Check our previous blog post with more info about natural remedy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
People who take certain medications
If you are taking certain medications including Metformin (for diabetes), you might want to detect the level of your vitamin B12. According to researches, deficiency of vitamin B12 occurs in more than 30% of people taking Metformin.
In addition, people who are taking anti-acid (proton pump inhibitors: e.g, Omeprazole) medications for stomach issues, would have problems absorbing vitamin B12 from their diet.
Women with abnormal heavy menstrual bleeding
Women who suffer from heavy and long menstrual bleeding, might want to check and see if they are going deficient in their Vitamin B12 storage.
Individuals with heavy menstrual bleeding are at the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency since they loose a lot of blood every month. These individuals would suffer from palpitation, low energy, and shortness of breath which are considered anemia symptoms and vitamin B12 deficiency.
5 Major Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Although There are numerous symptoms associated with the deficiency of vitamin B12, here are the five main symptoms:
1.Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
One of the major complaints people present at our clinic is that no matter how much work out they do or how strictly they watch out for their diet, it seems like they are not losing any excess weight and they fail to accomplish their weight loss goals.
These group of people are otherwise seem healthy and they have no hormonal issues. At this stage, they seek for Vitamin B12 injections to improve their overall metabolism, to assist the liver break down the fat cells, and curb their appetite. This approach has produced significantly wonderful results to our patients and it has become a very popular and successful treatment option.
2. Low energy, fatigue , lethargy
Lack of Vitamin B12 is linked to low circulation of blood and oxygen in our body; therefore, as a result, we witness people complaining of tiredness and fatigue despite of their healthy diet and sufficient amount of sleep.
People with low energy and fatigue report being tired both in the morning and evening. In addition, they do not have the energy to run any errands or do exercises after work. They report that they want to stay in bed all day and do nothing.
3. Anxiety and/or depression
Not enough Vitamin B12 in our body can cause psychological and neurological problems.
Considering the lifestyle they people pursue these days (long hours of work with immense level of stress and not having regular eating habits), it has led individuals to suffer from anxiety and or depressive episodes. More and more people are reporting to have less or no motive in life and are constantly experience negative thoughts.
Check our blog post about how acupuncture can help treat depression and anxiety
4. Numbness in the fingers and toes, muscle weakness
At our clinic, we see individuals who complain about numbness and tingling in their hands, fingers, feet and toes, which are corrected with regular vitamin B12 injections. Sometimes difficulty walking and lack of balance is associated with vitamin B12 deficiency.
5. Heart racing
One of the main reasons of heart palpitation is blood deficiency or anemia.
Individuals with B12 deficiency anemia benefit from regular injections of vitamin B12. These individuals usually complain of heart racing after drinking a coffee or according to them it just occurs for no obvious reason to them.
Other symptoms of B12 deficiency may include:
- low energy
- no menstrual period
- anxiety and depression
- shortness of breath
How Frequently Should Vitamin B12 Shots Be Administered?
For individuals who have a major deficiency of the vitamin B12, we recommend receiving the shot once a week for up to 8 weeks. After the 8 week period, and depending on individual, we recommend to continue with the shots biweekly or once a month, until till they recover from their symptoms.
Individuals who do not experience major vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms can still benefit from vitamin b12 injection depending on their symptoms. Whether it is work-related stress that affects their quality of life, insomnia, low energy and bowel movement problems (constipation or diarrhea), they can receive shots once every two weeks or once a month. The vitamin B12 injection has cumulative effect and we always hear great positive feedback from our patients who are receiving the shot regularly.
Where and How to Get Vitamin B12 Shots?
Find a reliable clinic and talk to the person giving you the shots. They will help you identify if you are the right candidate to get the shots and answer all your questions.
At our clinic in North Vancouver, we administer intramuscular vitamin B12 injections to make it easier for the patients to handle. The injection is relatively painless. The standard amount of B12 injection according to Health Canada is 2000 mcg per week.
For people who never had Vitamin B12 shots before, we offer an allergy test to rule out any possible allergies to the components of B12 injection.
Contact us to book an appointment for Vitam B12 injections or to ask us any questions you may have.
Vitamin B12 injections are covered by extended health care if you have acupuncture coverage.