Vitamin B12 is vital for your overall health and well-being. From bolstering energy levels and supporting brain function to maintaining a healthy nervous system, this essential nutrient plays a vital role in numerous bodily processes. 

Join us as we explore the reasons why B12 is a key player in your health, uncover the potential risks of deficiency, and learn how about our services of vitamin B12 supplementation via intravenous therapy. Elevate your understanding and embrace the benefits of Vitamin B12 for a healthier and more vibrant life.

What is Vitamin B12?

All four types of Vitamin B12 are significant nutrients that our bodies rely on, obtained through our diet and supplements since we are unable to synthesise it internally. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble so our bodies can store this essential vitamin for up to four years. 

However, it is crucial to note that with each visit to the restroom, we gradually lose a portion of our stored B12. Therefore, consistent replenishment becomes vital to maintain optimal levels and support our overall well-being.

What is Vitamin B12’s Role in The Body?

Vitamin B12, a vital nutrient, serves a crucial role in the functioning of every cell in our bodies. Its main functions can be categorised into three key areas:

  • Red Blood Cell Formation

It plays a vital role in transporting oxygen through our blood.  It helps ensure that these cells are the ideal size; without enough, the cells can become too large to function properly.

  • Helps in the Production of DNA

It ensures the stability of important regions of chromosomes (DNA molecules).  DNA is the genetic material which forms the building blocks of our cells.

  • Supports the Immune System

It contributes to the normal, healthy functioning of our immune system.  This is pivotal to our well-being as our immune system is our only means of fighting infections to keep our bodies healthy.

How is Vitamin B12 Absorbed?

When looking at the Vitamin B12 we gain through our diets, the absorption process occurs in two stages.

  1. It is separated from the protein to which it is attached due to the presence of hydrochloric acid in our stomachs.
  2. Once separated, it combines with another protein, called intrinsic factor, and is absorbed further down in our small intestines.

However, if Vitamin B12 is taken as a supplement it is absorbed straightaway, as in part 2 above, as it is not attached to any proteins.

Health Problems Caused by Vitamin B12 Deficiency

The most common illness associated with a Vitamin B12 deficiency is anaemia.  It is estimated that up to 30% of the world’s population suffers from anaemia, very largely due to nutrient-deficient diets.  This is because it results in a lower level of healthy red blood cells available. Red blood cells transport oxygen through our blood and around our bodies, this is clearly a very serious condition.  Left untreated it is life-threatening.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Rapid Breathing
  • Indigestion
  • Constant fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Palpitations
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cognitive changes (loss of memory/inability to concentrate/poor judgement)

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause symptoms which affect our brains and nervous systems, such as:

  • Muscle Weakness
  • Pins and Needles
  • Numbness
  • Lack of coordination/balance
  • Incontinence
  • Psychological problems, ranging from anxiety to dementia

Who is at Risk of Having a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

  1. People who follow a strictly restrictive diet – one which may be undertaken to achieve rapid weight loss.
  2. Vegetarians and vegans are at risk as Vitamin B12 is largely gained from animal and fish sources.
  3. Older people experience lower levels of B12.  As we age, our bodies produce less stomach acid which is needed to absorb Vitamin B12 from our food.  Older people are also less likely to consume as much of the Vitamin B12 food sources as when they were younger.

Top Food Sources of Vitamin B12 in Animal Products

  • Shellfish: Clams, oysters, and mussels 
  • Fish: Fatty fish like salmon, trout, and sardines
  • Meat: Beef, lamb, and poultry, especially organ meats like liver
  • Dairy Products: Milk, cheese, and yoghurt provide Vitamin B12, especially when they are fortified.
  • Eggs: Both the yolk and white of eggs

Top Vitamin B12 Sources for Vegans

  • Fortified Plant-Based Milks: Some plant-based milk alternatives like soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk are fortified with Vitamin B12.
  • Fortified Cereals: Certain breakfast cereals are fortified with Vitamin B12, making them a convenient source.
  • Nutritional Yeast: This popular ingredient among vegans and vegetarians is often fortified with Vitamin B12.
  • Fortified Plant-Based Meat Alternatives: Certain plant-based meat substitutes may be fortified with Vitamin B12.

As with any list which details food sources containing specific vitamins/nutrients, it is still essential to maintain a balanced diet.

Vitamin B12 via Supplements

If you struggle to consume enough Vitamin B12-rich foods, you can get the recommended intake of Vitamin B12 through supplements in the form of a tablet or capsule.  There is no value in consuming doses higher than the recommended dosage. Consuming more B12 than necessary you may do yourself harm.  Before undertaking a course of supplements, it is always sensible to consult your GP.

Vitamin B12 Injection – The Quickest Absorption Method

In cases of severe Vitamin B12 deficiency, a GMC-registered practitioner may prescribe intramuscular Vitamin B12 injections. Additionally, Vitamin B12 can be administered as part of IV therapy; however, this specialised treatment must be prescribed and overseen by a GMC-licensed doctor within a clinical setting, such as the one offered at IVBOOST.

If you need vitamin B12 infusions to revive your health, you’ve come to the right place. We offer vitamin B12 shots aimed to get you back on track. Infusions in the form of our Immunity IV Booster and Myer’s Cocktail are also available.