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Vitamin B12 – Your Questions Answered

November 09, 2022

Vitamin B12 is a popular treatment at REVIV which is given both intramuscularly and combined with other ingredients in an intravenous infusion. B12 can potentially provide a number of wellness benefits.

REVIV answer the frequently asked questions we get asked in our clinics…

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is one of the essential nutrients we should all be taking in to promote a balanced lifestyle. The main role of vitamin B12 within the body is regulation, and it is widely taken as a supplement to maintain and improve energy levels and nerve cell health.

I consume food that contains vitamin B12, why would I need to supplement?

B12 is found mainly in meat, shellfish, fish, crustaceans, cheese, milk eggs and some fortified breakfast cereals. It can also be found in beetroot, potatoes, spinach, mushrooms and alfalfa.

Ideally everyone would get vitamin B12 from their food. It is an essential vitamin, and it is vital for the body and as it supports hundreds of vital reactions that occur. Many of us do maintain vitamin B12 levels through diet alone.

Dr Michael Barnish, Head of Life Science at REVIV Global, says: “Vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common around the world because not everyone can get enough from their food. Those that need to increase their vitamin B12 level may not want to increase their red meat consumption due to other risks that are associated with this. Vegans and vegetarians consume low amounts and may need to consider supplementation, whether this be a daily oral version or an injection every month.

 

Some people get enough B12 from eating a balanced diet aloneDr Michael Barnish, Head of Life Science at REVIV Global, says: “Vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common around the world because not everyone can get enough from their food. Those that need to increase their vitamin B12 level may not want to increase their red meat consumption due to other risks that are associated with this. Vegans and vegetarians consume low amounts and may need to consider supplementation, whether this be a daily oral version or an injection every month.”

Some people get enough B12 from eating a balanced diet

Dr Barnish adds: “For vitamin B12 to get into the blood stream, the stomach acid pH must be perfect, to activate an enzyme, called intrinsic factor, to take B12 into the blood stream. Therefore, those that drink alcohol regularly, smoke, have stomach protector medications or have poor diet, may have limited ability to get B12 into the bloodstream. Therefore, B12 from the food or from oral supplements may not reach the bloodstream successfully.”

Injectable B12 bypasses the gut and could help to bring the levels up to an acceptable range. At REVIV we explore nutritional needs with our customers and can check a person’s B12 levels we look at both the active and total circulatory levels to make a clear assessment.

What are the symptoms of being B12 deficient?

Typical symptoms can include fatigue, pins and needles or numbness to hands and feet, feeling faint, heart palpitations and depression. There are a number of other symptoms that can occur, so it is important to rule out other health conditions to ensure you receive the right treatment. Depending on your health status it might be suggested that a blood screen be done either by REVIV or through a medical facility to ensure the right treatment.

 

Vitamin B12 can be given as an intramuscular booster shot

Who is at risk of a B12 deficiency?

People who are vegetarian or vegan may be at a higher risk of B12 deficiency as natural sources of the vitamin in food sources are usually found within red meats, fish and dairy products.

People suffering from gastrointestinal conditions, such as Crohn’s Disease, can also suffer from a lack of B12 due to chronic inflammation of the stomach lining. This can again lead to a reduced absorption of B12.

People who are diagnosed with pernicious anaemia which is an autoimmune medical condition that most likely will lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency, whereby the cells in the stomach attack the intrinsic factor within your body, the protein that binds to B12.

This would then mean that less B12 is absorbed by the body. The cause of pernicious anaemia can be autoimmune or genetic and is usually seen in conjunction with suffering other autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes.

However, the incidence of this condition is very rare, with 0.1% of the general population (Andres and Serraj, 2012) affected.

Certain medications can also affect the absorption of B12, for example taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) such as Omeprazole.

Which is usually taken to reduce stomach acid production, this can in turn lead to less B12 absorption as stomach acid is required to release the vitamin into your body.

Are there different types of B12 supplement?

Yes, there are a number of different types of vitamin B12 that can be supplemented. At REVIV, we use either hydroxycobalamin or methylcobalamin in our booster shots.

Hydroxycobalamin is naturally produced in the digestive tract when your body breaks down food items, and this can then be converted (methylated) into the activated form of B12, methylcobalamin, within the body. This type of B12 is usually given by GP surgeries to treat a B12 deficiency.

Methylcobalamin is an activated form of vitamin B12, naturally occurring and readily bioavailable to be used by the body. If you have previously had hydroxycobalamin with little effect, a REVIV practitioner may advise you try methylcobalamin instead.

Following a consultation, the medical practitioner will discuss the differences in treatment and which option would be better suited. For more information about the different types of B12 click here.

 

 

Every person has a unique genetic make up

 Is it safe to have a B12 injection?

REVIV prides itself on maintaining excellent safety protocols, with our treatments developed and researched by a medical team with over forty years combined experience.

Any time you have an injection administered in a REVIV clinic, the practitioner delivering that treatment will be registered with a governing body and have undergone thorough training to ensure you receive the best possible experience being a REVIV customer.

REVIV is also CQC (Care Quality Commission) regulated, meaning it has been externally inspected by the independent regulator and deemed a safe healthcare environment.

Do I need a blood test prior?

The majority of our treatments require no prior blood testing to be administered safely. For example, vitamin B and C are water-soluble, meaning your body can flush out any excess product safely after absorption after having taken on what it needs directly from the bloodstream. This means injections of B12 are safe to receive with no prior blood testing if your kidneys are filtering normally, as any surplus of the vitamin your body cannot use will be flushed out in the urine. All of our customers receive a detailed consultation prior to every treatment to receive a prescription from a registered professional, so any existing health conditions or risks can be identified at this early stage.

 How long will it take me to see the effects of a B12 injection, and how long will those effects last?

A very common question in REVIV clinics, especially from people that may have not received a B12 injection before.

Every person has a unique genetic make-up, and how their body will take on and metabolise vitamins and minerals. This means that it may change from person to person on how quickly and for how long the effects of your treatment may take action. As a rule of thumb, the more deficient you are in a certain vitamin, the greater the initial effect could be.

This means that the question itself is very dependent on you as an individual, and how much your body requires and takes on B12 once it has been administered.

Why come to REVIV?

Our clinical teams are all registered medical professionals, doctors and nurses, and experts in nutritional health. The appropriateness for any therapy is always checked, and all therapies are prescribed by a fully registered prescriber.

How do I get booked in with REVIV for a B12 injection?

You can book in with your local REVIV clinic via telephone or our online booking requesting form found here revivme.com. You will then be contacted by one of our reception staff with available appointments on your chosen day or a suitable alternative. We can accept walk-in appointments during clinic opening hours, but you may have to wait longer for your treatment or be asked to return at an alternative time depending on the day’s bookings.

B12 screen blood tests can also be booked in one of our flagship clinics if you wish to learn the levels of B12 in your body currently. These are currently priced from £35. Again, these may be booked via telephone or the online request form. A registered practitioner can discuss the process of blood testing further if you require any assistance.

References
Andres, E. & Serraj, K. (2012) ‘Optimal management of pernicious anaemia’ in J Blood Med (3) pp. 97-103, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3441227/
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