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B12 and other B-vitamins

B-vitamins are water-soluble, and you can get most of them from real (i.e. not processed) foods. So if that’s primarily what you eat, you may have most of them covered. If not, then choose a good quality vitamin B-complex supplement.

But B12 is different and many of us are likely not to have high enough levels because we don’t absorb them effectively. In fact, a Tufts University study suggests 40 percent of us between ages 26 and 83 are in the “low normal” range, where we may be experiencing symptoms.

What are the implications of insufficient Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to abnormal neurologic and psychiatric symptoms including ataxia (shaky movements and unsteady gait), muscle weakness, spasticity, incontinence, hypotension, vision problems, dementia, psychoses and mood disturbances.

A 2008 study from Oxford University found that vitamin B12-deficient older adults are six times more likely to develop brain shrinkage, a main cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Signs you may have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  • Low energy and weakness

  • Irritability and mood swings

  • Confusion or “fuzziness”

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Persistent sleep problems

  • Weak immunity

  • Digestive problems

  • Tingling in the extremities

  • Hearing and vision loss

  • Memory problems

What are the benefits of Vitamin B12 shots?

At highest risk

  • People over the age of 60. As you get older your body’s ability to absorb B12 from food or supplements diminishes.
  • People who use PPIs (e.g. Nexium, Prilosec, Prevcid), or metformin.

  • People with Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis or IBS.

  • Women with a history of infertility or miscarriage.

  • Vegans and vegetarians: Vitamin B12 does not occur in plants. The most B12-rich foods are liver, eggs, beef, salmon and milk.

  • People with high homocysteine

Don’t take cyanide

The most common form of B12 in supplements and injections is cyanocobalamin.It’s easy to remember that it’s the most undesirable form when you look at the first 5 letters. Cyanocobalamin includes a small amount of cyanide.

The best forms are the natural ones: methylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. If you take an oral supplement, check the label.

Shots, not shot

Vitamin B12 shots are most effective when taken at regular intervals (usually weekly or monthly). Since it’s water soluble, your body uses what it needs and excretes what it does not.

Wanna give it a try?

InOut Labs offers vitamin B12 shots in our Morton Grove clinic. No appointment necessary. Buy one for $20 or a discounted punch card of five for $75. We offer only methylcobalamin or hydroxocobalamin.
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