Q: Can B12 shots boost my energy and help me lose weight?
A: Vitamin B12 shots have been given for years in hopes of increasing energy, promoting general health and even improving weight loss. Unfortunately, if your B12 level is normal, there is little evidence to support that they actually work for these purposes.
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However, if your B12 level is low, which is easily detected by doing a blood test, replacing vitamin B12 is very important. Low vitamin B12 levels are more common among those who:
- Are over age 65.
- Have gastrointestinal problems.
- Keep a strict vegetarian diet.
- Have had bariatric surgery.
Because B12 levels are not checked during routine blood work, a deficiency can go undetected for years.
If your B12 level is found to be below normal, vitamin B12 shots as well as B12 pills will be essential for your health. Getting your level back to normal will often improve symptoms such as numbness and tingling, generalized weakness, difficulty walking and memory trouble.
But if your B12 level is normal, taking additional B12 has not been found to be of benefit.
— Family physician Kenneth Goodman, MD