The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the country’s collective health and wellbeing.  As lockdown starts to lift and those directly affected continue to recover from the disease, awareness of the value of vitamin and nutrient supplementation has risen.

Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 are two primary vitamins that people are being advised to supplement should they need it.  And the devil lies in the detail – ‘should they need it’.

For many people, a healthy diet and sunshine will be sufficient to maintain good levels of both vitamins in their body.  However, people with compromised health may benefit from supplementation.

Vitamins are naturally occurring but don’t be fooled: injectable Vitamin D and injectable Vitamin B12 are prescription-only medicines (POMs) and can only be administered by GMC-registered or NMC-registered practitioners in a clinic.

We are sorry to see unregistered and unlicensed practitioners advertising Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 shots and drips.  Furthermore, it has been worrying to see them claim these can prevent or treat Covid-19. There is no evidence for this. We therefore welcome the swift and definitive action from the CAP Compliance team whose new Enforcement Notice: Advertising Vitamin Shots (Coronavirus/Covid-19) – jointly published with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – comes into effect on June 12, 2020.

Such caution is crucial, but we must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Here at IV Boost, we are licenced to administer these treatments following a face-to-face consultation which establishes this is desirable and suitable.  We have already seen our fair share of people for whom this intervention is not necessary.  But we have also consulted patients for whom intravenous or intramuscular supplementation of Vitamin D and/or Vitamin B12 has been absolutely the right course of action.

The health benefits of these two vitamins are explained here.  As you will see, rich sources of both can be obtained from a healthy diet and this is the best place for most people to start.

However, for people who are genuinely depleted in either nutrient, a face-to-face consultation with a registered clinician would be advisable to establish if supplementation could help to restore healthy levels.

Why is Vitamin D so Important?

Vitamin D is a hormone and essential vitamin that helps maintain general good health and wellbeing. It plays an important role in the immune system and in the metabolism of calcium, teeth and bone formation.  It is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because the sun helps generate Vitamin D through the skin.

There is evidence of a growing deficiency in the general population which has prompted the Government to advise extra supplementation to certain foods to help combat the many health issues associated with a Vitamin D deficiency. 

Which Foods Are Highest in Vitamin D? 

  • Cod-liver oil
  • Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel & sardines
  • Butter
  • Egg yolks
  • Some fortified fat spreads

How to Correct a Vitamin D Deficiency

  • A Vitamin D deficiency is best determined with a blood test
  • Oral supplements – available from health food shops – can help and are usually well absorbed by the gut
  • In more severe cases, an intramuscular injection of Vitamin D can be prescribed to correct or prevent a deficiency

Why is Vitamin B12 so Important?

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin to help maintain health and vitality especially the immune, nerve and energy functions.  It participates in a large variety of metabolic processes to maintain an individual’s good health or to help restore good health. It can also be prescribed as part of a therapeutic plan even in the face of normal blood levels in some clinical circumstances.

Which Foods Are Highest in Vitamin B12? 

  • Liver & kidneys
  • Salmon & cod
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Some fortified breakfast cereals

How to Correct a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  • A Vitamin B12 deficiency is best determined with a blood test
  • Vitamin B12 can also be taken orally and is often an ingredient in a multivitamin tablet available in health food shops.
  • In more severe cases, intramuscular injection of Vitamin B12 by a GMC-registered practitioner can be prescribed. Another option is to include Vitamin B12 in an IV therapy but, again, this can only be prescribed and administered by a GMC-licenced doctor in a clinic setting.