B12 and Folate Injections…Do I need them?
What are the Benefits?
B12 and folate are two important water soluble vitamins which your body need for essential functions. They are responsible for:
- cell growth and division (DNA replication)
- nerve conduction (myelin sheath production)
- energy (carbohydrate metabolism)
- red blood cell and white blood cell maturation
B12 is found in all animal products. Sea vegetables, yeast, and algae are also good sources of natural B12, but it is difficult to consume adequate amount of B12 from these sources. This is why many vegans will take an extra B12 supplement daily.
But, even if you are a meat lover, you may still be deficient in B12. About 30% of B12 found in food is destroyed by the cooking process. Once the food enters into your body, you will need to produce enough stomach acid to free the B12 from the protein they are bound to. Then, your stomach will need to produce an “intrinsic factor” to attach to the free B12 so your intestine will absorb it, if your intestines are healthy enough to absorb it.
During certain periods of your life, your body may also use up more B12. When you are going through a stressful time, when your body is healing from injury/surgery, when you are pregnant, or when you are growing, you will feel a noticeable energy boost from each B12 shot, even if you are consuming a reasonably healthy diet.
The best sources of folate are fresh vegetables and fruits. However, significant amount of folate is lost when transported from a distance and stored before consumption.
Intramuscular B12 and folate shot is the fastest way to replenish low supply. It bypasses weakened digestive system to deliver the nutrients necessary for essential functions. Finally, there are many individuals with a mutation of the MTHFr gene. This mutation prevents their body from using the nutrients normally found in food
As a Naturopath, I use B12 and folate shots to treat a large number of conditions:
- prevention of birth defects
- digestive malabsorption
- gingivitis and periodontal disease
- megaloblastic anemia/ pernicious anemia
- skin diseases
- viral infections
- nerve damage and pain
- improve rate of tissue healing
- prevention of heart diseases
For individual who are deficient in B12 and/or folate, they will usually feel an increase in energy and general sense of well being within 24 hours of the shot. For some this feeling may last for 2-4 week before they will need to get another boost. For other people B12 and folate are only necessary boosts during periods of stress and/or poor health
Is It Safe for Everyone?
B12 and folate are water soluble vitamins which are easily eliminated from the body, if taken too much. When injected into a large muscle group, these nutrients are released slowly into the body over days and weeks. B12 and folate shots are well received by most patients.
However, in patients with multi-chemical sensitivity, B12 can be problematic if done too aggressively. Mulit-chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, and fibromyalgia patients usually have abnormal biochemistry. In these patients, B12 and folate have to be supplemented very slowly to avoid overwhelming their sluggish metabolism. It is also important to support them with other trace nutrients.