Many new patients that come in for consultations about our program ask the question whether we inject B-12 because pretty much all of the doctor programs they have been to previously have shot them up with Vitamin B-12. They are sort of surprised when I say that providing parenteral B-12 is NOT a normal component of the SP Program.
First, a bit of background on Vitamin B-12 (also known as “cobalamin”): This is a water soluble vitamin found in food sources such as eggs, meat, fish, poultry, milk and milk products. Vitamin B-12 plays an important role in brain health, the formation of red blood cells, DNA production and energy metabolism. The symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency may include fatigue (mostly from the anemia caused by poor red blood cell production), neuropathy and fatigue.
Diagnosing Vitamin B-12 deficiency is pretty easy. A blood test can be obtained that measures Vitamin B-12 levels. Another sign on blood testing is the presence of large red blood cells. This is called “macrocytosis” and if you go into your lab portal to check the most recent labs your doctor has taken, check out the MCV, MCH and MCHC numbers. If these are flagged as above normal, then it is important that your doctor check specifically the Vitamin B-12 serum level.
So, to the question raised in this entry: Does injecting Vitamin B-12 promote weight loss? Studies show that fat metabolism may be adversely impacted when Vitamin B-12 levels are LOW. In this situation, bringing the Vitamin B-12 levels up to normal will help with weight control. HOWEVER, there are no conclusive studies that demonstrate that people with normal Vitamin B-12 levels will benefit much in terms of losing weight by receiving “extra” Vitamin B-12.
The bottom line: The reason why we do not routinely provide Vitamin B-12 injections as part of our program is because when people show no symptoms/lab tests that are indicative of Vitamin B-12 deficiency, there is little-no benefit of injecting them with this vitamin. Are Vitamin B-12 injections dangerous? No. Are they expensive? Not very. Can you harm someone with too much Vitamin B-12? Like any vitamin, I believe that “megadosing” is not a great idea. Given all of these factors, when a patient comes in requesting Vitamin B-12 as part of their protocol I try to talk the person out of this providing the above information but if the person still insists, I am of harming them by providing a 1000 microgram injection and maybe the “placebo boost” will help the person get into the right mindset.
If you have normal Vitamin B-12 levels (most of us do) then think twice before asking for Vitamin B-12 injections as part of your weight control journey.