Vitamin B12 Injections
Vitamin B12 is an important component of a healthy diet, contributing to the functioning of the brain, nerves and blood cells. While everyone requires this vitamin for healthy functioning, pregnant women and nursing mothers require somewhat more than average. Vitamin B12 is found naturally in many foods, including fish, seafood, liver, beef and dairy products and is added as a supplement to foods like cereals, to help ensure proper nutrition.
Vitamin B12 is used for treating and preventing vitamin B12 deficiency, a condition in which vitamin B12 levels in the blood are too low. It is sometimes used to enhance memory for people who have Alzheimer's disease and are deficient in the vitamin. While not scientifically proven, many people take vitamin B12 to prevent or improve various medical conditions. The vitamin, which may also be produced in the laboratory, is usually injected into the muscle of the thigh, upper arm or hip when necessary. Dosage and frequency of injections varies depending on the patient's condition.
Reasons for Vitamin B12 Injections
There are many reasons vitamin B12 injections may be prescribed or recommended. In some cases, patients may be deficient in the vitamin and suffering related symptoms, while in others, B12 may be considered potentially helpful in preventing or treating certain conditions. Vitamin B12 is necessary for patients with a low serum level of vitamin B12 because they take particular medications or because they suffer from pernicious anemia, gastrointestinal or autoimmune disorders, or alcoholism. Patients may also have low levels of vitamin B12 if they have had bariatric surgery, are strict vegetarians, or have used antacids or proton pump inhibitors for a prolonged period. Vitamin B12 deficiency is also more frequently found in individuals of advanced age. Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Memory loss or concentration
- Rapid heartbeat
- Excessive bruising
- Soreness of the mouth or tongue
Although there is no solid medical research to support these claims, many people believe that Vitamin B12 is helpful in improving concentration and boosting energy, as well as preventing or improving the following conditions: macular degeneration, a weakened immune system, infertility, sleep disorders, allergies, asthma, skin disorders and heart or kidney problems.
Administering Vitamin B12
As an alternative to being injected with vitamin B12 for certain conditions, patients are sometimes offered B12 supplements to be taken orally or applied as nasal gels. In many cases, though, patients' disorders prevent them from absorbing the vitamin unless it is administered by injection. Injections are the most effective means of administration of vitamin B12 since they do not depend on the body's ability to absorb the substance through the gastrointestinal tract. Although vitamin B12 injections may increase energy, restore memory, and improve quality of life for individuals with a deficiency, patients whose vitamin B12 levels are normal will not have improved health from this treatment.