B-12 Injections, A Magical Solution or a Waste of Money?

I opened my email this morning and had a LivingSocial offer for “B-12 injections or Weight-Management Services” from a local business. B-12 shots are a common offer by weight loss clinics. Many people, especially this time of year, see an offer like this and say, “well that’s something I haven’t tried, why not?” But, before you take them up on their generous offer I thought I would share some hard facts about B-12 and whether shots are necessary or helpful.

Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods, including salmon, tuna, cod, scallops, shrimp, beef, yogurt, turkey, and chicken.  Although most sources of B12 are animal sources, even vegans can get Vitamin B12 in fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, non-dairy milks, and meat alternatives. Some nutritional yeast products are also fortified with vitamin B12. The recommended amount of B12 is 2.4 micrograms per day for ages 14 and older. For reference, a 3 ounce serving of salmon has 4 micrograms and 1 cup of milk has 1.2 micrograms.

After researching B12 and looking at studies and reputable sources, I discovered that in the end there is no real evidence that supports the role of B12 injections or B12 supplementation in general if someone is not already deficient, for weight loss or any other reason. If you aren’t deficient and get excess, because it is a water soluble vitamin, you just excrete the excess in your urine. Deficiency of B12 is rare except in vegans, the elderly, or people with malabsorption issues, such as those with Celiac. Most of us easily get enough through diet.  We often go straight to supplements when a few small changes in our diets could be more than sufficient to meet our needs.

If B12 supplementation is found to be necessary because of a deficiency, B12 can be taken orally or sublingually (under the tongue) in appropriate doses and it is just as effective as a shot. Why not avoid having to go through the pain, extra expense, and hassle of having a shot?  As a bonus, an oral supplement is about 1/3 the cost of injections.

My conclusion: Before signing up for B12 shots, have your levels tested. If you are not deficient then supplements aren’t necessary. Regardless of your B12 status, don’t expect B12 supplementation to be helpful in your efforts at weight loss. In my opinion, some doctors and weight loss clinics offer the injections for revenue and to give people the placebo effect of feeling better and having more energy.  Don’t take the bait!

Food is your body’s fuel and energy source if you allow it to be. If you feel fatigued often, a good place to look for solutions is your diet. The next would be sleep patterns and stress levels.  Instead of getting shots as a temporary solution, why not work on changing habits just a few at a time for long term success and improved energy and health?