B12: Shot for the Summer

What is B12?

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin. It’s essential for blood formation, as well as brain and nerve function.

Why is B12 important?

Every cell in your body needs B12 to function, but your body is unable to produce it. So, to get B12 you have to take supplements or eat food with B12 in it! Without enough B12, you could develop anemia

Even if you’re a meat eater you could be deficient in B12 if you don’t have enough of the protein ‘intrinsic factor’. This is because B12 depends on this protein to be absorbed in the blood, without that, the B12 can’t be absorbed which could lead to deficiency. 

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is one of the most common types of vitamin deficiencies, especially among vegetarians, vegans, and older adults. 

Which foods have B12?

B12 is found naturally in milk, eggs, shellfish, meat, and organ meat. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you should look for a vegan/vegetarian dietary supplement to take daily.

Signs of B12 Deficiency

Because the vital role B12 has on the body, a deficiency could mean serious health issues. Below are some common signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency:

  • Decreased cognitive function

  • Fatigue

  • Lethargy

  • Depression

  • Headache

  • Constipation

  • Sore, swollen tongue

  • Vision changes

Do B12 shots hurt?

If you’ve given blood or gotten a flu shot, it feels just like that! A little pain, but nothing you can’t handle. 

How often should you get a B12 shot?

It depends on how fatigued you are. B12 can be stored in your liver for a while, so it just depends on how fast your body metabolizes the B12 and if your body creates enough of the protein needed to absorb into the bloodstream. As with any other supplement, speak with your doctor first before giving a B12 shot a try!