Adequate levels of vitamins and nutrients are important for keeping all systems in your body functioning properly — including functions related to weight and metabolism. One vitamin that plays a vital role in many of these processes is vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin. Because it helps boost the metabolism, improve oxygenation, and increase energy, B12 is often included in comprehensive weight-loss and wellness programs.
What is vitamin B12?
B12 is one of the 8 different B vitamins, all of which help the body convert food into energy. B vitamins are necessary for healthy skin, hair, and eyes, as well as a healthy liver. B vitamins are water soluble, meaning they dissolve in water and are not stored in the body, so they must be replenished every day.
In particular, vitamin B12 helps maintains healthy nerve cells and aids in the production of DNA. Along with vitamin B9, or folate, B12 helps create red blood cells, aid the function of iron in the body, and produce a compound that supports the immune system and mood.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common, especially among older people. As we age, our ability to absorb the nutrients in our foods decreases. Older people have less stomach acid, which the body needs to absorb B12. Other people who have difficulty absorbing nutrients may also have low B12 levels — such as individuals who have had gastric bypass surgery or who have certain digestive disorders. Excessive alcohol consumption can also interfere with B12 absorption.
Low levels of B12 can lead to:
- Digestive issues
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes
- Difficulty walking / balance problems
- Cognitive impairment or memory loss
A person can also have low levels of vitamin B without any obvious symptoms. A severe prolonged B12 deficiency can lead to joint pain, depression, and loss of taste and smell.
Sources of B12
B12 is naturally found only in foods that come from animals, such as meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy. This means vegetarians and vegans are also at risk of low B12 levels. Some other foods, such as plant-based milk substitutes and cereals, may be fortified with B12.
Because B12 from food or from pills may not be fully absorbed by the body, many health experts recommend taking B12 as a sublingual (under the tongue) spray. This allows the vitamin to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, without having to go through the digestive system and be dissolved in the stomach.
B12 injections are another way for the vitamin to bypass the digestive process and be more readily absorbed by the body. Using a spray or injections can help increase energy in people who have low levels of vitamin B12.
How does B12 help with weight loss?
Vitamin B12 does not directly cause weight loss, but it does help with many functions throughout the body related to weight and metabolism. First, it helps the body break down the food we eat and use it for energy. Also, because B12 is necessary for proper cellular respiration and the formation of red blood cells, it can help your body transport oxygen and it use more efficiently, which increases the metabolism. And by helping restore energy levels, balance, concentration and mood, it can foster a general sense of increased wellness and help motivate people to exercise more.
Many B12 injections are also combined with other beneficial compounds that help increase energy, reduce stress, improve sleep quality, strengthen the immune system, and help the body burn fat.
At Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers, we offer therapeutic B12 injections as part of our UltraWellness labs, which help uncover chemical imbalances in the body that may be keeping you from achieving optimal health. Request a no-cost consultation today to discover how we can help you reach your goals and achieve physical well-being!