Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Should one take vitamin B12 injections for deficiency?

Vitamin B12 injections are advisable for people who have vitamin B12 malabsorption problems in the intestines.

Vitamin B12 deficiency for prolonged periods can cause permanent nervous system damage. It can also cause heart disease, stroke, and brain damage.

Many individuals with severe vitamin B12 deficiency are advised vitamin B12 injections. However, there is an interesting way to look at this.

In the developed world, the diet is rarely deficient in vitamin B12. It is often based on animal foods such as meat and dairy, which are high in vitamin B12. Some of the vegetarian foods are fortified with vitamin B12. So it is uncommon to develop vitamin B12 deficiency in the western world due to insufficient presence of vitamin B12 in diet.

Typically, 6% of the people in the developed world have vitamin B12 deficiency. Most often, it is caused by an inability to absorb vitamin B12 properly in the intestines. Giving vitamin B12-rich foods or supplements by oral root won’t help in such situations. So western medical protocols involve vitamin B12 injections.

In countries such as India, nearly 47% of the people have vitamin B12 deficiency. It is mainly because of vegetarian diets of people as well as non-fortified vegetarian foods. So it is not the malabsorption of vitamin B12 but its inadequate presence in the foods, which is the main cause of its deficiency in India and similar countries.

So people in India are better off trying vitamin B12 supplements first, before resorting to injections. Do discuss this point with your doctor. To learn more about B-vitamins: Everything you want to know about B–vitamins.

First published on: 9th June, 2022
Image credit: Kyle Roxas on Pexels

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