Webster’s dictionary defines a Fad as: a practice or interest followed for a time with exaggerated zeal. Or in one word, a craze. Fads are common in the worlds of fashion and retail, with all of us being influenced by them at some point. We have even seen fads make their way into healthcare with the build-up of certain “alternative” and “holistic” treatments which get pushed onto naive consumers without any evidence based proof of their benefits . The most recent of these medical fads is the Vitamin B12 shot, which I had someone ask me for to “cure their hangover”.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is real, and can be serious for those who suffer from an actual deficiency. But offering Vitamin B12 shots to people who are not deficient as a way to increase energy, strengthen your immune system and help in weight loss is not only ridiculous, it’s almost like practicing Voodoo.
There are many causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency. The main reason that we become deficient in vitamin B12 is that our digestive system does not adequately absorb the vitamin from the foods we eat. Meat, fish, eggs and other animal products are foods which contain Vitamin B12. That’s why vegetarians, especially strict vegans (people who don’t eat any animal products, including meat, eggs, or milk) have a higher risk of getting Vitamin B12 deficiency. Other causes include:
- Alcohol Abuse
- Autoimmune disease which prevents the absorption of Vitamin B12 (Pernicious anemia)
- Thinning of the lining of the stomach (Atrophic Gastritis)
- Long-term use of acid-reducing drugs
- Surgery in which part of the stomach and/or small intestine is removed.
- Conditions affecting the small intestine, such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease
The resulting symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include neuropathies (numbness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet), anemia (low blood counts), difficulty walking, memory loss, etc. There’s a simple blood test that can be ordered by your physician which will check the levels of Vitamin B12 in your bloodstream and diagnose Vitamin B12 deficiency. The treatment of mild Vitamin B12 deficiency is even easier– you just need to increase the amount of Vitamin B12 in your diet. Eat more meat, eggs or fish. Those with a more serious deficiency can take oral vitamins which contain B12. Except for severe cases, there is absolutely no need–or benefit– in receiving injections of Vitamin B12.
The price of Vitamin B12 shots can range from $20-$120. The cost of Vitamin B12 oral supplements: $4.99 for 100 capsules. You be the judge.
Have you had Vitamins B12 shots before? What was your reasoning for getting them? Did you notice any results? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave us a comment below.