Vitamin B12 also known as Cobalamin is an essential water-soluble vitamin that the body cannot synthesis internally. It plays an important role in many functions in the body including: DNA synthesis, energy production, metabolism, nerve cell health, red blood cell formation and neurological function.
How we get Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal derived foods, such as meat/poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk and other dairy products, (it is not present in plant based products), as well in those foods which have been fortified with vitamin B-12, such as breakfast cereals and breads. The best source of vitamin B-12 is in animal liver, particularly beef. According to Hunt et al, 2014, a deficiency in vitamin B-12 is relatively common, estimated to affect 6% of those under 60 years of age and 20% of those over that age.
Symptoms and causes of vitamin B12 deficiency
Anaemia, tiredness, weakness, irritability, depression, confusion, balance problems, loss of appetite, constipation and weight loss, as well as other neurological changes. Deficiency is usually related to a reduced intake, most commonly with vegetarian and vegan diets. As we age we have a reduced capacity to absorb B12. Pregnancy and breast feeding place increasing demands on the body and often we cannot take enough of the vitamin in through dietary sources to support these demands. More commonly it is due to poor absorption of the vitamin through the stomach due to a condition called pernicious anaemia. Hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates the vitamin B-12 from the ingested protein source and combines it with a protein that it makes called the intrinsic factor so that it can be absorbed by the body through the intestines; not everyone is able to manufacture the intrinsic factor, thus a deficiency manifests. Similarly those who may have a decrease in their body’s ability to absorb nutrients following weight loss surgery, celiac or Crohn’s disease will also have their vitamin B-12 absorption compromised. Alcohol consumption, even as moderate levels of regularity, as well as having an effect on the hydration of the body, can also impact on the absorption of vitamin B-12 due to the damaging effect that it has on stomach cells.
Why have a B12 injection?
Increased cognitive function, memory & understanding
What we recommend
We recommend one 2ml dose injection a week for 2 weeks followed by monthly 1ml injections.
This schedule can be individualised depending on your symptoms, lifestyle and individual needs.
Starter Course for Vitamin B12 (Total 5ml) - £150
Single 1ml top up injections - £35