It’s no secret that we’re savvier than ever when it comes to taking supplements. In fact, a study found that nearly half of us are now popping health-boosting pills in a bid to improve nutrition levels. But, as with everything in the wellness world, vitamins are fast advancing, and B12 shots are just one of the ways you can take your healthy lifestyle to the next level. The likes of Hailey Baldwin and Lea Michele are already fans of the procedure, and both have shared Instagram snaps of themselves taking a literal shot to the butt.
“I’m a big fan of B12 shots,” Lea wrote during a trip to Nurse Jamie’s office, before listing off a whole heap of wellness benefits, including weight loss and a bolstered immune system. But is this really the saviour celebs proclaim or a total fad? Keep scrolling to discover whether getting B12 injections is for you.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Michele credited B12 injections for weight loss, and she might be onto something. The shot improves your metabolism, so your body is able to burn calories more effectively. It has also been credited with improving your quality of sleep, increasing concentration, lifting your mood, fighting off infection and upping your energy levels. If that list isn’t impressive enough, you’ll be surprised to know that B12 has also been linked to hair growth by way of topping up the nutrients that are able to resist hair loss. An injection alone won’t be enough to completely cure thinning hair, but it’s one of several factors known to make a difference in certain cases. Then there’s the benefit of choosing an injection over a pill: Instead of having to remember to pop a capsule every day, you only need one monthly appointment.
WHO SHOULD TRY IT?
Those with a vitamin B12 deficiency will see the biggest benefits of getting a shot, so look out for common symptoms like fatigue, regular headaches and feelings of faintness. Because B12 is found in meat, vegans and vegetarians may discover they’re deficient, as well as those who smoke, take certain prescription medicines or have a gastrointestinal disorder. If you’re dealing with the latter, injections are usually recommended over oral supplements, as they bypass the stomach and are directly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Let us give you a word of warning, though: Many fall into the trap of thinking more B12 equals more energy for everyone, and that simply isn’t going to be the case. The vitamin is water-soluble, so when you take it in excess, your body is going to eliminate what it doesn’t need. If your B12 levels are fine as is, instead of multiplying your energy, you’ll be wasting money on a treatment that’s only effective if you have a deficiency. Check with your GP first.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
A slight sting is a given with any injection, but there are a number of other side effects you might have to deal with after a B12 shot. The most common include nausea, diarrhoea, the feeling that your body is swelling, a rash, dizziness, headaches, fever and infection around the jab site. The more serious side effects—irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath and muscle cramps—are rare, but you should immediately contact emergency services if you experience them.
WHERE CAN I GET AN INJECTION?
In the UK, you can only get B12 injections for medical purposes with a prescription. However, a number of clinics are able to offer the jab as a nutritional therapy. Take the Harpal Clinic, for example—prices start at £35 for one session carried out by an IV physiologist, with a course of six injections available for £189.
Bailey RL, Gahche JJ, Miller PE, Thomas PR, Dwyer JT. Why US adults use dietary supplements. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(5):355-61. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2299
Almohanna HM, Ahmed AA, Tsatalis JP, Tosti A. The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2019;9(1):51-70. doi:10.1007/s13555-018-0278-6
Ajisaka K, Fujimoto H. Regioselective syntheses of trehalose-containing trisaccharides using various glycohydrolases. Carbohydr Res. 1990;199(2):227-34. doi:10.1056/NEJMc1304350