Have you heard about B12 shots for energy? I remember living in Miami and people would just rave about having a shot and suddenly bursting with energy for the rest of the day. I was curious but never really got in to it at that point.
However, years later talking with a friend and Dr about some issues I was having potentially related to my low iron and my low platelet count, which no one seems able to pin point a cause for he recommended B12 shots.
There was an immediate caveat: only buy the good stuff.
Which of course lead me to wonder, but how does anyone know what the good stuff is? I have smart people who can guide me, but most of us have Instagram influencing our ideas of what’s good with skinny teas and waist trainers.
A few things I quickly learned:
- If you aren’t deficient it’s not going to do much for you
- It’s not cheap
- Get ready for needles
- This is not a magic weight loss pill
That’s right, you’ll need to get over sticking yourself with a needle.
In the shots I tried, I only had one issue where it left a bruise because I got all tense and freaked myself out so I went in the muscle. You just need to relax and get to a fleshy part. The shots don’t need to be in your bum or anything crazy, I just used my thigh and made sure to not tense up.
What is Vitamin B12?
It’s a water soluble vitamin so you could just be making expensive red pee. That’s right if you’re also eating beets this is going to be a wicked weird few days in the bathroom.What you need to know about B12 shots before trying them! #healthyliving Click To Tweet
Symptoms of Low B12
One of the things I love from blood testing via Inside Tracker is that you begin understanding there is a difference between being in a normal range and an optimal range for performance! So you might be within range, but maybe not functioning your best.
- Lack of energy
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Tingling sensations in hands or feet
- Balance problems
What’s super important to also note is that if you have issues with high caffeine use or poor sleep, you can’t fix that with B12. So if you’re just here for the energy, you need to fix any other underlying issues if you aren’t low in B12.
Causes of Low B12
It’s easy to be low in vitamin B when people first transition to plant based eating, but there are other potential causes.
- High stress levels (i.e. combo of training and life)
- Poor diet
- Lack of b12 sources in diet
- Poor digestion, hindering absorption
- Heartburn drugs can interfere (because we need acid to absorb B12)
While the websites will define for you how much too take and how often, I just felt the recommendation was too high and stuck to taking it once a week for the first round. The second time I took it every few weeks because it didn’t seem I needed it as much.
Maybe I didn’t because I’d started to replenish my stores with better food or different training, who knows.
Food Sources of Vitamin B12
One of the things we talk about in the vitamins that runners need is how to start with food first. Unfortunately, our food quality isn’t what it used to be or we have genetic markers that make it harder for us to absorb nutrients. and that’s why we sometimes need to supplement.
- Clams or sardines
- Salmon, trout, tuna
- Fortified breakfast cereals
Previously I’d largely removed many of those from my diet, trying to fix my digestion, which is why I was in fact low. Over the last year I worked very hard at increasing my protein intake to an adequate level for my activity and that’s gotten all my numbers back up.
Why I tried B12 Shots?
For a number of years, I’ve had a low red platelet count and frequently a high red cell volume. One of the potential causes for red cells expanding is a lack of B12, which all are on the way to various types of anemia (except I don’t have low iron).
Since I was also having some major issues with low energy and mood, the Dr who helped me get through my original no estrogen issue suggested giving B12 shots a try.
As noted above, I potentially had two things working against me: no dairy or eggs and digestive issues.
I decided to take 1 shot, 1 time a week for 6 weeks.
During that time I can 100% say that my mood and my energy levels went up substantially. I was convinced this was absolutely what I needed, so I placed an order for another round of shots. Additionally, after a few months of taking these shots, my estrogen levels started to come back up a bit. Then again, anything over 0 was an improvement, ha!
However, when I took another one I didn’t really notice anything and I decided that maybe I’d gotten my levels backup.
I stopped taking it at that point and instead started using just one a month, which seemed like it gave me a small boost at high points in training. But since I never dropped back to the massive levels of fatigue I was previously feeling, I haven’t felt it was something to continue using since those ended.
Now, I opt to get it through other sources:
- Vega Complete Plant Based Protein Powder
- Vitamin B complex, which is going to give you all the variations (again with pills quality is HUGE!)
From all of my research, this is actually pretty normal. Get your levels up with shots and then transition to something lower dose or once a month for maintenance. BOOM saving you time and money.
Can you overdo it on B12?
Not really. As a water soluable vitamin, you’ll simply pee out the excess. Which mostly means you’re spending money for red urine.
Will Vitamin B12 help with weight loss?
One of the other benefits often attributed to these shots in weight loss. Maybe that’s true if you get a good energy boost from it, but simply taking a B12 shot will not be your magical bullet to a tiny waist. I lost a couple lbs while using it, but those came back (because I’m pretty sure it was water) and overall my body looks exactly the same.Wondering if a B12 shot will boost your energy or help you lose weight? Here's the low down! Click To Tweet
Is a shot better than a pill?
Some people believe it’s better to bypass the digestive system with the shot and I’m in that camp because my stomach can get so fincky with pills. But in most cases, no. Drs seem to believe you’ll get the same benefits from either one.
What to know about shots?
As with all supplements, there is high and low quality. The typical form of B12 used in doctors offices is cyanocobalamin, a cheaper and subpar form of B12. Methylcobalamin form is the “active” form of vitamin B12 and does not require conversion in the body to be used.
Have you ever tried B12 shots?
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