11 Jan 2023
A B12 infusion is a procedure in which vitamin B12 is administered into the body through an IV. This form of therapy is often used to treat deficiencies in vitamin B12. It can also be used to boost energy levels. If you are not getting enough vitamin B12 from your diet, then your doctor may recommend that you take an oral supplement or try an IV infusion.
This article will share everything you need to know about vitamin B12 infusions and who might benefit from one.
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, plays an essential role in the body. It is responsible for red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and the production of DNA. The human body does not naturally produce vitamin B12, so it has to be consumed through the diet or supplementation, in order to get adequate amounts. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in foods such as fish, eggs, meat, poultry, and dairy products.
Because vitamin B12 is bound to the protein in food, it has to be released before your body can absorb it. The process of vitamin B12 absorption begins when you are chewing your food. Once vitamin B12 is freed, it binds with other proteins in the saliva, as it continues to move through the digestive tract. Once the free vitamin B12 reaches the lower digestive tract, it is then absorbed. Vitamin B12 supplements and foods that are fortified with vitamin B12 are already in the free form and do not require the separation step.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products such as meat and dairy products. For this reason, vitamin B12 deficiencies are common amongst people who eat vegetarian or vegan diets. Vitamin B12 deficiencies also become more common with age. You are more likely to have a B12 deficiency if you’re over the age of 60.
Natural sources of vitamin B12:
Vitamin B12 is essential for the human body to function properly. Some functions of vitamin B12 in the body include:
Required for red blood cell formation
Aids in neurologic processes such as myelination
Helps with DNA synthesis
Acts as a cofactor for two important enzymes
Vitamin B12 is necessary for healthy nervous system function. The body needs vitamin B12 in order for the central nervous system to properly develop. “Myelination” is a nervous system process that helps the neurons communicate better by keeping them insulated. Vitamin B12 is required for myelination to occur, keeping the neurons functioning and communicating well.
One of the most well-known benefits of vitamin B12 is it’s role in red blood cell development. Red blood cells help to deliver oxygen to the body tissues and transport CO2 out of the body as waste. When B12 levels are low, your red blood cell levels can get low, leading to poor oxygenation throughout the body.
In addition to helping with red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis, vitamin B12 also acts as a cofactor for two enzymes, methionine synthase and L-methylmalonyl-CoA, helping to further facilitate healthy body functions. Methionine is a type of protein that helps with growth and development, metabolism, and detoxification. L-methylmalonyl-CoA is required for the metabolism of certain fatty acids and amino acids. Without this enzyme, the body would not be able to use certain molecules as energy sources.
Keeping your vitamin B12 levels where they should be benefits your body in a number of ways. Some benefits of vitamin B12 include:
Mood regulation. Vitamin B12 plays a role in the serotonin pathway, and individuals with depression are sometimes found to have a deficiency. Keeping your vitamin B12 levels where they should be might place you at a lower risk of developing severe depression.
Pregnancy health. Supplementing vitamin B12 during pregnancy is important to help ensure that the fetus develops properly. Low B12 levels in pregnancy are associated with low birthweight, and neurodevelopmental delay.
Brain health. Vitamin B12 serves as an essential nutrient for the neurons of the brain. The loss of neurons in the brain is referred to as brain atrophy and may lead to memory loss and depression. Keeping B12 levels where they should be can help prevent this and other cognitive dysregulation.
If your doctor has recommended that you supplement vitamin B12, then you may be looking into what types of options are available to you. There are three main ways to supplement vitamin B12: oral supplements, intramuscular injections, and infusions or IV therapy.
IV infusions go directly to the bloodstream, so they work quickly. If you want to give your body a boost of extra vitamins, you can try an IV therapy infusion that contains a mix of different vitamins and fluids, depending on your needs. Many IV therapy infusions also contain vitamin B12, so you can boost your B12 levels while also getting a mix of other beneficial nutrients.
Vitamin B12 supplements can easily be ordered online and taken by mouth. These supplements are generally considered safe and offer minimal side effects and risks, when taken as directed.
Another type of vitamin B12 supplementation is a vitamin B12 injection. B12 injections are administered intramuscularly, meaning they are given as a shot into a muscle in the arm or thigh. They are typically more effective than an oral supplement and are similar to an IV infusion but act a bit slower than IV infusions.
Vitamin B12 supplements can cause some side effects. Because vitamin B12 can interact with other medications, it is very important to tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications so that they can determine if vitamin B12 supplements are safe for you.
Some potential side effects of vitamin B12 supplements include diarrhea, itching, skin rash, headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Vitamin B12 injections are used to treat individuals who have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Your doctor may recommend that you try a vitamin B12 injection or infusion if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency or anemia caused by your deficiency.
Some other common uses of vitamin B12 supplements include:
Helping increase energy levels to burn fat
Supporting healthy neurological function
Improving heart health
Reduce chances of depression
Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when your body is not getting enough vitamin B12. This can also occur if your body is not absorbing the B12 that you are getting from the food you eat. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause several different more severe complications if left untreated, including anemia and neurological problems.
Anyone can be affected by a vitamin B12 deficiency. People who are over the age of 60 are more likely to have a vitamin B12 deficiency than other age groups. Anywhere from 1.5% to 15% of people struggle with a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Tiredness and weakness
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Loss of appetite
Unexplained weight loss
Sore mouth or tongue
Yellowing of the skin
Feelings of depression and irritability
Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause neurological symptoms such as:
Numbness in the hands and feet
Confusion and memory impairment
Difficulty walking or speaking
Neurologic symptoms from vitamin B12 deficiency may not be reversible. For this reason, it is incredibly important to seek treatment for a vitamin B12 deficiency as soon as possible to prevent complications.
Because vitamin B12 is needed to make red blood cells, a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia. Anemia occurs when your red blood cell count is low. There are other types of anemia that are not caused by a B12 deficiency and not everyone who has a vitamin B12 deficiency will develop anemia.
There are several different reasons why a person may develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. Typically, vitamin B12 deficiencies occur because a person is not getting enough vitamin B12 in their diet. This commonly happens to people who eat a vegetarian or vegan diet since vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs, and fish.
Other causes of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Gastritis - Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. Because gastritis causes a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, it makes it difficult for your body to absorb vitamin B12.
Pernicious anemia - Pernicious anemia is a rare medical condition that causes your body to lack intrinsic factor, which is a protein that is required in order for your body to absorb vitamin B12. If you have pernicious anemia then you likely also will have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Digestive disorders - Digestive issues such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease can make it difficult for the body to properly absorb vitamin B12, leading to a deficiency.
GI surgery - If you have had surgery on your digestive system, such as gastric bypass surgery, you may have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12.
Alcohol abuse - Over consumption of alcohol can damage the digestive tract and cause vitamin B12 deficiency.
There are a few different ways to go about getting a vitamin B12 injection or B12 infusion. You will need a prescription from a doctor first, so you will want to make an appointment to have your vitamin B12 levels checked to confirm that you have a deficiency.
Once your deficiency has been confirmed, your doctor will recommend treatment. They may recommend oral supplementation first or they may recommend an injection or infusion. You can usually get a vitamin B12 injection in your doctor's office.
To get a vitamin B12 IV infusion you will probably need to visit an infusion clinic or use a mobile IV service. Mobile IV infusion services offer convenience and accessibility, since they come directly to you. A mobile IV infusion service works by having an advanced practitioner, like a physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or physician, evaluate you and your needs. Then a trained infusion nurse comes to you during your scheduled time. Simply pick the infusion you would like to have and wait at home for your visit to occur.
If you need to boost your B12 levels quickly and you do not want to carve too much time out of your schedule, try a mobile IV infusion service like VegasIV. Schedule your visit today.
Book an appointment, and our trained nurses will come to you and administer the best package for you in the comfort of your home or hotel room.
To learn more about vitamin B12, here are some further readings:
Vitamin B-12 - Mayo Clinic
The Relationship of Vitamin B12 and Sensory and Motor Peripheral Nerve Function in Older Adults - NIH
Vitamin B12 Deficiency - Cleveland Clinic
Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet - NIH
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