Vitamin B12 shots are one of the latest fads to hit the fitness and weight loss scene, with several celebrities even endorsing their health benefits. They claim that vitamin B12 injections help to increase their energy and improve their mood. Some claim that vitamin B12 can even increase the body’s metabolism and ability to convert food into energy, therefore encouraging weight loss.
But is there any medical or scientific evidence to support these dramatic claims? Or are vitamin B12 shots simply another health fad that will pass with time like the Atkins or South Beach diet? There are so many “snake oil” products on the market for weight loss because there is often a level of desperation felt by people wishing to lose weight, which often leads them to try new products that make dramatic claims as to their efficacy. But as the saying goes, most things that sound too good to be true usually are. Let’s take a look at the claims made about B12 shots and see if they live up to the hype.
What is the B12 vitamin and why is it important?
B12, also called cobalamin, plays an important role in the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, and in the formation of the blood. Cell metabolism is indeed dependent upon proper levels of vitamin B12, as are DNA and fatty acid synthesis, as well as energy production.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that the body cannot store it effectively as it can with fat soluble vitamins, and any excess amount of the vitamin will be flushed out. Historically, vitamin B12 was most well known for its relationship to pernicious anemia, a form of autoimmune disease affecting the ability of red blood cells to clot.
What are the benefits of vitamin B12 shots?
Theoretically, there will be no added benefit of a vitamin B12 injection unless the patient currently has a vitamin B12 deficiency in his diet. In developed countries, B12 deficiency is extremely rare, as the vitamin can be obtained in plenty through a healthy diet. Vitamin B12 is high in food such as meats, dairy, eggs, and green leafy vegetables.
If a person already has sufficient levels of vitamin B12 in the blood, they are theoretically unlikely to see any substantial health benefits by receiving a B12 injection. There is however, not likely to be any detrimental health effects either because vitamin B12 is water-soluble and any excess will be quickly expelled by the body. Short-term side effects may include headache, nausea, and irritability, but they usually quickly disappear.
But this does not explain all the anecdotal evidence supporting claims that B12 shots can indeed speed weight loss and improve mood. People who experience such benefits most likely are not eating a healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle which includes plenty of physical activity to begin with.
Don’t view B12 injections as a shortcut or miracle drug
Many people often look for shortcuts especially when it comes to weight loss. The truth is that scientific evidence shows that there are no shortcuts or miracle drugs when it comes to good health. The best advice is to obtain all your essential vitamins to eating a healthy diet, and living a healthy and balanced lifestyle with plenty of exercise. This is the best way to assure general good health both physically and mentally for the long-term.
A vitamin B12 injection may give a very short term improvement in energy levels and mood to people who currently have deficient levels of vitamin B12. As mentioned, this should be fairly rare in most developed countries because the vast majority of people are able to obtain sufficient levels of vitamin B12 in the natural diet.
So, in the final analysis, you would be wise to take the extravagant claims of the health benefits of B12 injections with a grain of salt. Focus on living a healthy lifestyle, rather than chasing the latest fad that promises quick and easy results based on a pill, shot, or injection.