Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in brain function and red blood cell production. Given the vital roles that vitamin B12 plays in your body, a deficiency can have serious health consequences. In fact, low blood levels of the vitamin have been linked to several health problems. Vitamin B12 shots are the most common way to prevent or treat a deficiency. The injections are prescribed by a doctor and given intramuscularly, or into muscle.
Low levels of vitamin B12 have been linked to a decline in brain function. Two recent reviews found that there may be a link between low blood levels and the development of dementia (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source). However, results have been mixed and treatment with vitamin B12 wasn't effective at improving brain function in people with normal brain function (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).
It's been suggested that there may be a link between low vitamin B12 levels and depression. However, one review found that treating depression with vitamin B12 didn't reduce the severity of symptoms. Nevertheless, it was suggested that taking the vitamin on a long-term basis could help prevent a relapse into depression (22Trusted Source). Currently, there is a lack of quality research in this area. Higher quality studies are needed to find out if there is a link between vitamin B12 and depression (23Trusted Source).
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the loss of bone mass results in weaker bones and an increased risk of bone fractures. Interestingly, low blood levels of vitamin B12 have been linked with reduced bone mass (24Trusted Source). Therefore, it's been suggested that taking vitamin B12 may reduce your risk of osteoporosis. However, studies have provided mixed results (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source).
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is a condition that causes you to gradually lose central vision, usually in both eyes. In people aged 50 and over, adequate consumption of vitamin B12 is thought to be important for maintaining good vision and protecting against macular degeneration. In one large study, 5,200 women received 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 daily, as well as other B vitamins and folic acid (28Trusted Source). 7 years later, the study found a 35% lower risk of age-related macular degeneration among the women who took the supplements. Although the reduction in risk can't be attributed to vitamin B12 only, it does suggest that getting enough may be important.
Recently, vitamin B12 injections and infusions have become popular among healthy people who don't appear to have a deficiency. Advocates of this approach claim that regular injections can boost energy levels and help with weight loss and mood.
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