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Uses and Side Effects of B12 Injections

Uses And Side Effects of B12 Injections Everyone Needs to Know

The administration of B12 injections is recommended in case of individuals affected by pernicious anemia or a vitamin B12 deficiency. This HealthHearty write-up provides information on the uses and side effects of B12 shots.
Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Vitamin B12, which is also referred to as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in protein synthesis, metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, production of red blood cells (hematopoiesis), and the production of myelin and nucleoprotein. It is essential for the healthy functioning of the human body. According to the Institute of Medicine, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg/day. In case of pregnant women and nursing mothers, the RDA is 2.6 mcg and 2.8 mcg, respectively. This vitamin is naturally found in animal products such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products.
Vegetarians can opt for fortified breakfast cereals and foods or dietary supplements to make sure that the body's requirement for this vitamin is met. Supplementation might be recommended in case of individuals affected by pernicious anemia, a type of anemia that is characterized by the body's inability to produce intrinsic factor, which in turn results in malabsorption of vitamin B12. The symptoms of this deficiency include anemia, fatigue, lack of energy, lack of appetite, etc. The administration of vitamin B12 injections or supplements can help in alleviating these symptoms. It is believed that administration of B12 injections might aid in weight loss.
Administration of B12 Shots
Before administering this intramuscular injection, sterilize the region. Thereafter, inject the solution. One important step that will affect the rate of absorption is where the solution is injected. When you insert the needle through the skin, pull the plunger a little to check if you aspire any blood. If you do, then it means that you have hit a blood vessel. An intravenous injection is not the preferred route for the administration of these injections, which is why you will need to administer the shot again.
One of the biggest mistakes that many people make is to pinch the fat in the region to give a subcutaneous injection. As a result, the drug that is supposed to be administered in the subcutaneous tissue or in the muscle will land up elsewhere. Although studies are still being conducted, it is believed that an intramuscular injection is absorbed at a slightly lesser rate than a subcutaneous shot. Hence, do not pinch the muscle when injecting.
Another aspect that one needs to keep in mind is the angle of the injection. The angle of injection is an important factor to consider, especially in case of thin children. In such cases, the angle of injection needs to be closer to the horizontal than the vertical plane as the shot is being delivered. This is to ensure that you do not go too deep because the efficacy of B12 shots is higher when delivered just below the surface of skin.
B12 Shots for Weight Loss
It is a myth that the administration of this injection alone can lead to weight loss. It is essential to follow a strict diet and exercise regimen. Vitamin B12 leads to an increase in body metabolism, and helps boost the energy levels. This helps to increase stamina, which in turn makes it possible to exercise for a longer period without getting easily fatigued. Although there isn't really any clinical proof that supports the use of these injections for weight loss, it has gained a lot of attention in the past few years. It acts as a catalyst towards weight loss by boosting the metabolism. However, you need to be cautions about the side effects of vitamin B12 overdose.
Side Effects
The side effects of these injections might include:

➻ Mild diarrhea
Upset stomach
Feeling of nausea
Pain at the site of injection
Tingling in the extremities
Slight joint pain
Other relatively rare but more serious side effects include heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, difficulty breathing, redness and rashes, etc.
The vitamin B12 dosage depends on many factors such as the person's age, body weight, body requirement of B12, deficiency levels, etc. These injections are not very easy to administer and can often be very painful. Hence, it is best to attain your required levels of vitamin B12 from your regular diet rather than taking such supplements.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.