B12 Injections: Explained
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Vitamin B12 injections can improve the way you look and feel. Like the other seven B vitamins, vitamin B12 is essential to metabolism and digestion – it helps your body use fats and proteins, and converts food into the fuel it needs for energy. The B vitamins are essential to optimal nervous system function and are even necessary for healthy hair, skin, eyes, and liver. Vitamin B12 works with vitamin B9 to produce red blood cells and help the way iron works in your body, optimize your immune system, and improve your mood.
If you are like most people, you cannot get enough of the stuff. Quick meals, crash diets, certain medical conditions – even old age – cause a decline in your vitamin B12 levels. Unless you address the problem, you will struggle with fatigue, shortness of breath, nervousness, diarrhea, numbness, or a tingling sensation in your fingers and toes. You can even suffer nerve damage.
Vitamin B12 and all the other B vitamins are water-soluble, which the body does not store. This means you must continually restock your supply of this vitamin to stay healthy. You get vitamin B12 from food, especially from the meat, fish, and dairy products you eat. Scientists also make this vitamin in laboratories for use in pills or as injections.
Cyanocobalamin is a manmade form of vitamin B12 that is suitable for injections. Aside from just calling it “vitamin B12 injections,” you can refer to it by one of its many brand names: Cobal, Cyanoject, Cyomin, and Vibal.
History of vitamin B12 injections
Vitamin B12 injections make getting enough vitamins easier than it used to be. Vitamin B12 supplements got their start at the beginning of the 20th Century when doctors were trying to solve pernicious anemia. One physician, Dr. Newcastle, found he could regurgitate his own gastric juices to share with his patients to improve their absorption of nutrients; this practice did not have a sustainable business model. In 1920, scientist Dr. Whipple suggested eating raw liver; after verification of his research in 1926, people with pernicious anemia would eat at least a half pound of raw liver every day.
Fortunately, science advanced vitamin B12 supplement technology quickly. Karl A. Folkers and Alexander R. Todd discovered, isolated, and gave vitamin B12 its official name, cobalamin, in 1948. Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin soon determined the molecular structure of this vitamin, paving the way for mass production. Today, you can get vitamin B12 supplements through convenient injections.
Who benefits from vitamin B12 injections?
Vitamin B12 injections are essential in the treatment of treat vitamin deficiencies, and in the prevention and treatment of pernicious anemia. You have a vitamin B12 deficiency if you have sub-optimal levels of this vitamin in your bloodstream. Doctors measure levels of this vitamin through a blood test. The normal range is 200 – 900 pg/mL, or picograms per milliliter, so vitamin B12 injections might be right for if your vitamin B12 blood test results are lower than 200 – 400 pg/mL.
With the busy lifestyles and poor nutritional habits, most modern Americans may benefit from vitamin B12 shots. You may benefit if you:
- Have low levels of vitamin B12 in your blood
- Are aging
- Do not metabolize your food properly
- Have a high risk for heart disease
- Are a vegan who does not eat animal products
- Have a condition, such as pancreatitis or Crohn’s disease, which prevents you from absorbing nutrients
- Have had weight loss surgery
- Are too busy to eat a well-balanced diet
- Were ever diagnosed with Helicobacter pylori, an organism in the intestines that can cause an ulcer
- Struggle with an eating disorder, including binge eating or poor nutritional intake
- Have HIV
- Suffer from pernicious anemia
Vitamin B12 injections are essential if you have pernicious anemia. Your body uses vitamin B12 to produce healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen to cells around your body. Pernicious anemia is a serious condition where your body cannot produce enough healthy red blood cells because it does not have enough vitamin B12. In cases of pernicious anemia, any red blood cells the body does manufacture do not divide normally and are often too large to get out of the bone marrow where they are produced. The lack of blood cells and the oxygen they carry cause you to feel tired and weak. Severe or chronic pernicious anemia can damage your heart, brain, and other organs.
The word “anemia” means “lower than normal red blood cells.” Scientists originally used the word “pernicious” – which means “deadly” – when naming this condition because it was often fatal. With ongoing care and regular vitamin B12 injections, those with pernicious anemia can now live long, healthy lives.
Today, medical professionals now recognize vitamin B12 injections as effective treatments for a variety of other conditions.
Before using vitamin B12 injections, the administrator should look at the contents of the vial to make sure it is free from contamination or discoloration. The administrator will inject the solution just beneath the skin or into a muscle, as directed by the prescribing professional. At the start of treatment, you might receive vitamin B12 injections every day. If you have pernicious anemia or another condition, you might take vitamin B12 shots every month.
Side Effects, Precautions, and Interactions
All medications, including vitamin B12 shots, may cause unwanted or unhealthy side effects. Most side effects are non-serious and disappear with continued use. The most common adverse reactions include redness or swelling at the injection site, mild diarrhea, itching, or a feeling that you have swelling.
Most people tolerate vitamin B12 shots well but this therapy is not appropriate for everyone. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist if you have allergies to cobalt, used in the synthesis of vitamin B12, or to any drugs. You may not be able to use vitamin B12 injections if you have ever had low blood potassium levels, gout, other vitamin deficiencies, or certain disorders of the blood or eyes. These injections may not be right for you if you have kidney disease or are pregnant.
Injectable vitamin B12 may interact with other medications to cause unexpected or unwanted results. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist before using vitamin B12 shots if you are taking drugs that affect blood cell production, such as HIV and anti-cancer medications.
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