According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, many people are deficient in at least one vitamin if not more.
Are you getting enough vitamin B12? Most people don’t realize that B12 isn’t the easiest vitamin to come by. In fact, your body doesn’t produce B12 so the only way to get it is from external sources.
Unless you’re mindful of your diet, you’re probably not getting enough vitamin B12.
Luckily, you can get vitamin B12 from a shot or a pill. When it comes to B12 shots vs pills, you might be asking yourself, “Which option is the best?”
Keep reading to find out what you should know about vitamin b12 shots vs pills.
1. What is Vitamin B12?
The vitamin B12 is water-soluble, which means that it can break apart in water and travel through your cardiovascular system by entering your blood. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the overall functioning of your body.
Not only does B12 help create and regulate your body’s DNA but it also aids in the creation of blood cells.
The vitamin is found in certain animal products, such as meat, eggs, and milk. However, this is not convenient for certain people, especially vegans and vegetarians.
If you want to get vitamin B12 from a clean source, you’ll be glad to know that it can be fortified in cereals and soy milk, for instance.
When it comes to food as sources of B12, people still find it difficult to maintain a sufficient amount of B12 in their bodies. It doesn’t help that this particular vitamin can be difficult to absorb.
In addition to animal products and fortified foods, vitamin B12 can come in the form of a dietary supplement.
2. Are You At Risk of a Deficiency?
Some people are more at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency than others. With this in mind, it helps to know if you should take extra precautions with your diet and overall health.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, then you won’t be getting your B12 from animal products, which means you need to make sure that you’re getting it from either fortified foods or from shots or pills.
People who suffer from an autoimmune disease called pernicious anemia are also at risk of a B12 deficiency. The reason for this is that they lack an important protein called intrinsic factor which is found in people’s stomachs. This protein is responsible for helping your body absorb vitamin B12.
If you were born with a small intestine or if it was made smaller due to medical surgery, then you’re also at risk. You should consult with your doctor to determine if your shortened colon is still able to absorb B12.
Specific diseases that affect the bowels, such as inflammatory bowel disease, gastritis, and Celiac’s disease, can also negatively affect your stomach’s ability to absorb vitamin B12.
If you suffer from alcoholism or if you’re treating your diabetes by using metformin, then you need to take precautions to ensure that you’re getting proper nutrients.
Overall, it’s important to get regular blood tests to confirm that your body is not deficient in any vitamins. By taking a test, you’ll be able to spot any week points in your diet and fix it before it becomes a major health problem.
3. B12 Shots
B12 in the form of a shot is not something you can buy at a supermarket, for instance. Rather, B12 shots are something that your doctor would prescribe if they’ve diagnosed you with a B12 deficiency. This procedure is generally the case with injectable vitamins.
When it comes to B12 injection vs oral, a pill will usually have less concentration of the vitamin and your body will take longer to absorb it. If you do have a B12 deficiency, a doctor would prescribe a B12 injection because it acts on the body quickly.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has deemed the B12 shot as the best way for someone with a deficiency to begin the process of recovery. Rather than consuming the B12, the shot is administered through muscle tissue. Afterward, a small but still significant portion of the B12 will be absorbed immediately while the rest of it will travel through your bloodstream.
If you’ve just gotten out of a surgery in which the surgeon has removed the lower part of your intestine, called the ileum, then it might be necessary for you to take a B12 shot. When your stomach is ineffective at absorbing B12 a shot in your muscle tissue is the only viable method.
4. B12 Pills
The most popular way to take vitamin B12 is in pill form because you don’t need to deal with setting up a doctor’s appointment and you can take them on the go with a bottle of water.
However, you should keep in mind that vitamin B12 pills are not the same thing as a multivitamin.
Multivitamins can be taken at any time of the day and they ensure that you can get the proper amount of different vitamins, including potassium, vitamin C, selenium, iodine, beta carotene, vitamin A, and many more. The amounts in a multivitamin are supplementary, which means they add to the nutrients you get in your diet to make sure everything is rounded out.
If you’re a vegan, for instance, then a multivitamin will not be a sufficient source of B12 on its own. This is because the amount of vitamin B12 in a given multivitamin is about 250 micrograms. On the other hand, a vitamin pill that is dedicated to only B12 will give your body a total of about 1,000 micrograms of B12, assuming your body can absorb every bit of it.
With this in mind, if you’re taking vitamin B12 in pill form, make sure it’s not a multivitamin. Additionally, it’s best to take the pill in the morning or over the course of the day.
If you take a B12 pill at night, it could disturb your sleep. The reason for this is because vitamin B12 plays an important role in energy production which could cause you to toss and turn in the middle of the night.
5. Which Form Should You Take?
B12 shots and B12 pills are both effective at providing the body with that necessary vitamin. However, each form is taken for different reasons.
If you don’t have pernicious anemia or another health issue that would severely increase your risk of suffering from a B12 deficiency, then a doctor probably won’t have a reason to prescribe a B12 shot.
On the other hand, if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, then you should probably take vitamin B12 pills about once a week to ensure you’re body is getting what it needs.
Even if you do eat animal products, you might still need to take a B12 pill as a precautionary measure.
A blood test is the most reliable way to find out if you’re lacking in a certain vitamin. When you have your results, a doctor or nutritionist can advise you on the best course of action.
6. Is a Vitamin B12 Deficiency Dangerous?
You might be wondering what you have to worry about when it comes to a vitamin B12 deficiency. Unfortunately, if you’re lacking in vitamin B12, then the symptoms can be extremely serious and dangerous.
Symptoms of a deficiency in vitamin B12 can include pale skin, loss of vision, loss of appetite, constipation and other bowel movement problems, fatigue, dizziness, heart palpitations, and more.
A deficiency will not only affect your body in a negative way but it will also affect your mind. People who are suffering from a deficiency in vitamin B12 can experience loss of memory, depression, and other changes in their behavior because of their mood.
Worst of all, because vitamin B12 is essential for the production of new blood cells, a deficiency could make you anemic.
To treat a deficiency you’ll need to take high-dosage vitamin injections as prescribed by your doctor. Even still, if your deficiency has gone too far, you might end up with permanent nerve damage.
It’s always best to prevent a health issue rather than treat it after it has already occurred.
Are You Ready to Choose Between B12 Shots vs Pills?
Now that you know about vitamin B12 shots vs pills, you can decide which one is best for you. Vitamin deficiencies are no joke and can wreak havoc on your health. By taking the proper precautionary measures, you can ensure that your body is getting all of the vitamins and nutrients it needs.
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