Sunday, May 3, 2015

Should You Take Vitamin B-12 Shots?

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You've heard some doctors at weight loss clinics are prescribing vitamin B-12 shots and supplements, but aren't sure if you need them? The natural response is to consider trying vitamin B-12 shots or supplements, just to see if they will indeed help you lose weight.

We need vitamin B-12 for red blood cell production, a healthy nervous system, and to prevent anemia. Vitamin B-12 is also needed for the production of DNA.

While weight loss clinics claim to have marvelous results from delivering B-12 shots and supplements, there is no hard scientific evidence to back this up. It's unusual to find people who have a vitamin B-12 deficiency because your body stores B-12 for up to years. While a vitamin B-12 shot may help you if you are truly anemic or deficient (which can be determined by a blood test), it will not improve your metabolism or make your more energetic if you are already getting enough vitamin B-12. Consult a licensed physician before you get on a B-12 shot or supplement regimen, especially if you already take medications--sometimes vitamin B-12 can reduce the effectiveness of certain prescription drugs.

Most people get plenty of vitamin B-12 if they regularly eat animal products. If you eat dairy products, shellfish, meat, eggs, or fortified products, you probably get plenty of vitamin B-12. Vegans—people who do not eat any animals products at all—are particularly susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency. However, if vegans eat fortified cereals, they probably aren't at high risk of deficiency.

If you get between 2.6-2.8 micrograms of vitamin B-12 a day, you're probably getting enough. You can get this much in a simple bowl of fortified cereal with a cup of milk. Usually people with B-12 deficiencies are actually having trouble using the B-12 they’ve ingested. The problem may be that your intestines are functioning properly and allowing your body to take in the B-12, or it could be that your body has stored the B-12, but can't release it for use. It's uncommon to find B-12 deficiencies in Americans because of our typical diets (high in animal products) and because our bodies can store B-12 for years.

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