What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that can be found in many meat and dairy products. It can be taken as oral medication or as an injection if necessary. Vitamin B12 helps your body produce red blood cells and DNA cells, it also helps with nerve function and cell metabolism. The vitamin is essential for our bodies, but we cannot produce it ourselves. Foods that are high in vitamin B12 include; animal liver and kidneys, clams, sardines, beef, tuna, salmon, milk, yogurt, and cheese. If you are worried you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency, add more of these items to your shopping list!
Why Would I Need a Vitamin B12 Shot?
A vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. People can become deficient when they are not eating enough vitamin B12 rich foods, or their bodies may struggle with absorbing the vitamin. The following groups of people are at a greater risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Vegans or vegetarians
- People 75+ years
- Having a digestive system disorder like Crohn’s or celiac disease
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
- Having Sjögren’s syndrome
- Taking certain medications like oral birth control or metformin
Common symptoms of a vitamin deficiency include fatigue, numbness, poor balance, memory loss, and breathlessness. If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms often you may need to talk to your healthcare provider about the potential of having a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Benefits of B12 Shots
If it turns out, you do have a deficiency your doctor may recommend you start getting vitamin B12 injections. Getting injections can really improve your health, especially if you have been struggling with any of the common symptoms for some time. Here are some benefits you may see once you start receiving vitamin B12 shots regularly:
- Increased energy levels and concentration
- Improved metabolism
- Better sleep
- Decline in hair loss – this one is more common for men, but vitamin B12 deficiency can be to blame!
- Boost your immune system
You may need to receive injections more or less frequently depending on the severity of your deficiency. Your healthcare provider will be able to determine the frequency of your injection needs after running some blood tests. For more information about B12 shot benefits, check out this article from Medical News Today.
Potential Side Effects of B12 Shots
Although it is rare some people can have some mild to more severe side effects from vitaminB12 shots. Pain or swelling at the injection site, itchiness, or diarrhea can occur. If these symptoms last longer than a few days contact your doctor right away. Some more severe, but rare, side effects that can occur are low potassium levels, muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, chest pains, or blurred vision. If these symptoms occur, seek medical attention right away. For more in depth information on potential side effects, read this article from WebMD.
What We Offer at Complete Health Partners
At Complete Health Partners, we offer the vitamin B12 shot at all three of our clinics. For self-pay prices, the injection will cost $25. For information on whether insurance will cover the shot, call your insurance provider before your visit. If you are worried you are experiencing a vitamin B12 deficiency, you can book an appointment with one our primary care providers to do a full blood panel draw. Then we can see if your vitamin B12 levels seem healthy and determine if injections are needed. Keep in mind that vitamin B12 is essential for your body, so increasing vitamin rich foods to your diet will only improve your health. Do not forget to add some yogurt and salmon to your cart next time you are out shopping, your body will thank you!
6749 Charlotte Pike, Nashville, TN 37209
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166 E Main Street, Hendersonville, TN 37075
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