What is Vitamin B12?

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is an essential compound that we get from animal based food sources. It's essential to maintain the normal functioning of the brain, nervous system and the processes involved in producing red blood cells. Sub-optimal levels of B12 can lead the body to express symptoms of tiredness, fatigue, malaise, poor memory and reduced mental function, also referred to as 'mental fog'. Check out the NHS website for more information.

Found naturally in meat, poultry, eggs and milk, Vitamin B12 is also a key component of many oral vitamin supplements, aimed at increasing energy levels. As the vitamin is water-soluble it quickly leaves the body in our urine via our kidneys, meaning that we need regular amounts. It's not harmful in high doses and plays a vital role alongside other vitamins and minerals in optimising the various processes within the body.

A regular, reliable and assured source of vitamin B12 is essential for those following a plant based diet. 

Why an injection?

Vitamin B12 can be found in animal based foods, fortified foods such as cereals and through oral vitamin supplements. However, the digestive system isn't always efficient in absorbing the compound, meaning a large amount can simply pass straight through unabsorbed. Taking certain medicines regularly can cause this, just as having certain bowel complaints can too. 

If we deliver the medicine directly into the deltoid muscle at the top of the arm we dramatically increase the usable amount available to the cells in our body; this is the benefit of the intramuscular injection route. One injection may replace the need to take a daily high-dose vitamin B12 tablet, but response to the injection varies amongst people in different circumstances. 

How much do we need?

The recognised 'normal' level of B12 in the UK (140pG/ml) is considerably lower than the 'normal' levels accepted in other developed countries such as America, Canada and Japan. In these countries levels of 200-550pG/ml are considered normal and known to be safe. It's therefore quite common for people with a blood test reading above the UK levels to still experience the symptoms of low B12. That's why VitaJab provides vitamin B12 injections to those that pass our medical screen and feel as though they have symptoms of malaise, fatigue or mental fog.

Our ethos is that being free of disease does not mean we are optimally healthy. Combining this mantra with the above information leads us to suggest that we should aim for our bodies to be rich in B12 for the long term protection and maintenance of health. If you are leading a healthy lifestyle that involves balanced nutrition, exercise, hydration and rest, but still feel tired, fatigued or not quite as mentally sharp as you’d like to be, why not see if our B12 service can help you?

Already have a regular B12 injection?

Many people in the UK are prescribed a 3-monthly B12 injection from their GP. Some people, however, feel that they would benefit from additional doses inbetween, based on their individual symptoms and response to the injections. So long as you haven't had a B12 injection in the past 28 days and aren't scheduled to have one in the next 28 days you can purchase a voucher for our B12 service at your nearest participating pharmacy. This is subject to passing our medical screen. 

It's good practice for the pharmacy team administering your injection to forward a standard notification letter to your GP. With the safe environment of a private consultation room, the highest professional standards and regular training & accreditation pharmacies offer the safest, most convenient and accessible means of receiving this service.