Rumor has it that vitamin B12 shots will give you a much-needed energy boost and ability to focus more. There are even claims that it's supposed to help increase your metabolism, so it's no surprise that this claim has many among us very much intrigued. But how much of this is actually true?
According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin B12 is a nutrient that keeps the nerve and blood cells healthy, makes DNA, and prevent megaloblastic amenia, which is known to make people tired and weak. "The B12 vitamin is necessary for proper red blood cell development and formation," says Ehsan Ali, MD, the Beverly Hills Concierge Doctor. "Red blood cells hold and transport oxygen throughout our body."
Ali explains that it is primarily naturally found in red meats, so vegetarians may have problems naturally including this essential vitamin in their diet.
"Strict vegetarians are often low in B12 because it's primarily found in red meat, much less so in veggies and plant-based products," he says. "People with an unbalanced nutritional intake, such as elderly people or those skipping meals, should also consider B12 shots as an option."
And what about those looking for a boost of energy? He says that may just be a common misconception. "Some patients believe that B12 shots provide a sense of added energy, but it is not a stimulant, and those feelings may be attributable to the placebo effect," he says, adding, "There isn't any medical evidence that suggests it directly stimulates weight loss."
As for intake, B12 shots can pretty much be administered by any doctor, with minor side effects, such as soreness from the shot itself. He also notes that the shots deliver B12 better than oral supplements do. "The B12 shot is absorbed 100% into the blood because it bypasses the stomach and is absorbed into the body at a much faster rate," he says. "Supplements taken by mouth lose a large portion of their nutrient load due to the acidity in the stomach."
So if you're finding yourself deficient in B12 because you don't eat red meat or have an unbalanced diet, a B12 shot could help you get this important nutrient—just consult your doctor first, and don't go into it thinking you've found a healthy version of your energy drink habit.
Next up, check out these anti-diet wellness tips to get you through the holidays.