Unlike most other known vitamins, vitamin B-12 is needed in much smaller amounts. It is also the only vitamin that cannot be reliably gotten from different plant-based foods and exposure to sunlight. A deficiency in Vitamin B-12 can lead to different health problems, such as fatigue and permanent neurological changes. Vitamin B-12 deficiency is very detrimental to one’s health, so it is important to supplement it if you notice that you’re running low on this essential nutrient. This article considers why Vitamin B-12 injection is better than the other forms of B-12.
Vitamin B-12 injections and pills are both effective for fortifying the levels of the vitamin in the body, thereby improving essential functions in the body system. Knowing the option that is better for you (vitamin B-12 pills or injections) depends on your body makeup and circumstances amongst other factors.
What Is Vitamin B-12?
Vitamin B-12 is an essential, water-soluble vitamin that helps in carrying out many important bodily functions, such as:
- Synthesis of DNA
- Production of energy
- Enhancement of the health of nerve cells
- Neurological functions, and
- Formation of red blood cells
Vitamin B-12 can be found in many foods (especially animal-based foods) where it is attached to the protein molecule in such food. It is separated from the food molecule during digestion and then absorbed into the bloodstream. There needs to be enough stomach acid so that the vitamin can be released from the protein. Its absorption into the bloodstream is enhanced by a substance known as an intrinsic factor.
People that are not able to absorb vitamin B-12 effectively may suffer from pernicious anemia; a form of anemia caused by a lack of intrinsic factor.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, the recommended average daily intake of this essential nutrient is 2.4 mcg (micrograms) for men and women over 14. Pregnant and nursing mothers require 2.6 mcg and 2.8 mcg respectively.
Symptoms of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
Vitamin B-12 injections and pills are given to tackle the deficiency of the vitamin. If its deficiency is not treated, it can cause permanent nerve damage. Thus, it is important to fight this deficiency in its early stage.
According to the NIH, the following are some of the symptoms of deficiency of Vitamin B-12:
- Weight loss
- Weakness and tiredness
- Memory loss
- Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of balance
A deficiency in vitamin-B12 can also affect the sensory, motor, and autonomic nerves. It can also harm the metabolizing of cells. So, it is important to detect the deficiency early so that the treatment will be effective.
Benefits of Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin and also a component of the B complex. A report published by the National Institute of Health showed that vitamin B-12 is important for different functions, such as the production and maintenance of red blood cells, protection of the nervous system, and protein and fat metabolism into glucose (which acts as the energy source for the body).
Mayor Clinic also explains that vitamin B-12, in combination with vitamins B-6 and B-9, controls and regulates the homocysteine level in the blood. An excess amount of homocysteine in the blood can lead to cardiovascular problems such as blood vessel disease and heart-related disease. The Mayor Clinic also explains that vitamin-B12 helps in DNA production.
Vitamin B-12 is naturally present in different animal products, and you can get enough of the vitamin from diet alone without taking the injection or pills. There are, however, some instances where this natural source may not be enough.
Vitamin B-12 Injection
This is the non-synthetic form of vitamin B-12. Apart from getting vitamin B-12 from foods, you can also get it from man-made sources known as methylcobalamin.
Vitamin B-12 injections contain high levels of methylcobalamin. The injections can be self-administered or administered by a doctor. They quickly boost the levels of vitamin B-12 in those that are deficient in the vitamin.
Methylcobalamin can be found in liquid, tablet, or capsule form. Some foods, like non-dairy milk, cereals, and yogurts, can be fortified with the man-made version of vitamin B-12.
Who Needs Vitamin B-12 Injections?
Although people can easily have access to foods and supplements fortified with vitamin B-12, vitamin B-12 injections are only available by prescription. Thus, you must be diagnosed by a physician before taking the injection.
Low levels of vitamin B-12 are not common in healthy adults because the liver stores a huge amount of vitamin B-12 that can be used for several years.
However, some people are at risk of being deficient in this vitamin, and such people may need to discuss the possibility of taking B-12 injections with their doctor. The following groups of people may need B-12 injections:
People Showing Symptoms of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
Anyone that is showing any of the symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency or pernicious anemia needs to consult their doctor as soon as possible. Some of the signs and symptoms include:
- Impaired cognitive function (such as problems with understanding or memory)
- Feeling faint
- Irritability or depression
- Changes in vision
- Poor balance
- Mouth ulcers
- Heart palpitations
- Sore and swollen tongue
People With Gastrointestinal Problems
Those with gastrointestinal problems may experience difficulty in releasing or absorbing vitamin B-12. Hence, people with issues like celiac disease and Crohn’s disease are more prone to vitamin B-12 deficiency.
People that have undergone gastrointestinal surgery (and weight loss surgery) may not have sufficient cells to secrete intrinsic factor and stomach acid. Thus, they may also struggle to absorb vitamin B-12.
Unlike pills, Vitamin B-12 injections may be helpful for individuals with gastrointestinal problems because injections will be able to bypass these areas.
According to research, vitamin B-12 deficiency affects lots of older adults than those that are below 65 years.
Older adults are easily affected by problems associated with a decrease in the production of stomach acid (such as inflammation in the stomach).
Also, a low level of stomach acid can lead to the growth of certain bacteria in the gut that uses vitamin B-12, thereby reducing the amount of B-12 that is available for the body to use.
According to the Institute of Medicine, adults over 50 years old can meet their B-12 needs through fortified foods, vitamin B-12 injections, and other supplements, because these man-made sources are more easily absorbed than the naturally occurring sources.
Vegans and Vegetarians
Since vitamin B-12 is mainly found in fish, eggs, meat, and dairy, those that do not eat these foods are at risk of being deficient in the vitamin and they may benefit from receiving regular vitamin B-12 injections.
Research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that vegans and some vegetarians have low vitamin B-12 levels. Out of the 232 vegans studied during the research, over 50 percent were deficient in vitamin B-12. The deficiency was noticed in just 7 percent of the vegetarians studied and in just one of those that are neither vegans nor vegetarians.
Vegan or vegetarian women that are pregnant need to be very careful about supplementing or eating fortified foods because vitamin B-12 is transferred to the baby through breast milk and placenta. Infants with vitamin B-12 deficiency may have permanent and serious neurological problems.
Why Vitamin B-12 Injection?
Vitamin B-12 injections are usually prescribed in severe cases of B-12 deficiency and when a quick restoration is needed.
According to the AAFP, vitamin B-12 injections produce more rapid results than pills and other oral forms. This makes them more appropriate for those suffering from a severe deficiency. Vitamin B-12 injections are usually administered intramuscularly (i.e. they are administered into a muscle), and about 10 percent is directly absorbed into the body. Vitamin B-12 injections are, therefore, effective replacements for seriously deficient individuals.
Harvard Health Publishing describes vitamin B-12 injections as being effective in treating pernicious anemia (a form of vitamin B-12 that is associated with the inability to produce healthy red blood cells). Since this is a critical condition, fast-acting vitamin B-12 injections are better than pills.
Also, the Harvard Medical School explains that vitamin B-12 injections are necessary after the surgical removal of the ileum. If the ileum has been removed, vitamin B-12 pills and other orally administered forms of the vitamins cannot be absorbed by the body. The effective way to restore the vitamin is via injections.
In a nutshell, here are some of the reasons why vitamin B-12 injection is better than the other forms of the vitamin:
Reduced Risk of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
The most important and obvious benefit of vitamin B-12 injections is treating vitamin B-12 deficiency without its associated symptoms and complications. Vitamin B-12 injections help in reducing the risk of some severe complications of the vitamin’s deficiency, such as:
- Heart disease
- Loss of vision
- Neurocognitive disorders
- Ataxia (coordination issues)
- Peripheral neuropathy, and
- Neural tube problems in the babies of women deficient in vitamin B-12
Easy Assimilation By The Body
Vitamin B-12 injections bypass the stomach and are then absorbed directly into the bloodstream. The injections enable the body to use 100 percent of the nutrients since they are directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Vitamin B-12 administered orally needs to be digested before it can be beneficial to the body, but a good portion of the nutrient of the pills is lost during digestion. This implies that you will need to take more than the recommended dosage to yield noticeable results.
B-12 Injections Are Helpful To Individuals With GI (Gastrointestinal) Issues
For people with certain conditions, a vitamin B-12 injection is their best option for absorbing the vitamin. Although most people can take vitamin B-12 orally, however, a small group of people cannot absorb the vitamin in the gastrointestinal tract due to conditions such as Crohn’s disease and other GI-related diseases.
Hence, vitamin B-12 injections are better alternatives to oral supplements for individuals with gastrointestinal problems, and adults with low levels of stomach acid or intrinsic factor.
Vitamin B-12 Injections Are Convenient
Vitamin B-12 injections are more convenient than pills. Instead of struggling with the challenge of remembering to take a capsule every day, you only need to visit your doctor once a month for your B-12 injection. The injection is administered into your muscle, mostly in the upper arm, thigh, or buttocks. A doctor or a nurse will give you the injection at the clinic or office. You can also ask your doctor to teach you how you can administer the injection by yourself at home.
B-12 Injections Promote Healthy Weight
Vitamin B-12 injections are effective for weight loss. They support the body’s metabolism which enhances the burning of calories more effectively.
The injections also improve sleep quality, boost mood, increase concentration, fight infection, and increase energy levels.
B-12 Injections Maintain A Sharp Brain
Due to the way vitamin B-12 supports the production of healthy cells, proteins, and nerve cells, lack of this vitamin can lead to dreaded brain fog. As stated earlier, vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to a lack of focus, fatigue, and memory loss. Vitamin B-12 injections can help to fight these effectively.
B-12 Injections Boost Energy Levels
If you are suffering from vitamin B-12 deficiency, a B-12 injection can make the energy levels function at the required level. The injections help in feeling more energetic, boosting the mood, and fighting lethargy.
Caution: Consult Your Doctor
Ensure you always get in touch with your doctor before you take a course of action. You need to have a health goal that you are adhering to while supplementing vitamin B-12. Some of the supplements may interact with some underlying health conditions and medications. Don’t make the mistake of self-diagnosing a vitamin B-12 deficiency. The best approach is to get a health professional’s approval first.
This article has reviewed some of the reasons why vitamin B-12 injection is better than other versions of the vitamin. As revealed in the article, there are differences between vitamin B-12 injections and oral supplements. A major difference is bioavailability. B-12 injections are not only reliable, they are also a consistent method of increasing vitamin B-12 bioavailability than oral supplements, with a higher portion of the treatment absorbed into the bloodstream.
Most people can do without the vitamin B-12 injections since a regular oral administration can meet the daily requirement of 2.4 mcg.
So, the bottom line is that vitamin B-12 injections are important if you are immunocompromised or deficient in vitamin B-12. B-12 injections are also helpful if you want a quick boost in energy level. Our bodies are different and they react differently to some treatments.