A healthy body requires the ideal balance of nutrient intake on a regular basis. As a result of nutrient imbalance, individuals tend to end up with health issues, with an impact on various functions. As an essential vitamin, B12 is required in the desired levels in the body, for functions that include development of the brain, the nerves, and blood cells. It is vital for the healthy functioning of various parts of the body. Individuals who do not consume or intake adequate quantities of Vitamin B12 are advised shots/supplements to make up for the deficiency. While it is an essential vitamin, there are possibilities of adverse effects when taken incorrectly or in excessive dosages – here is an in-depth look at vitamin b12 side effects.
Overview and vitamin b12 side effects
A better understanding of vitamin b12 side effects is possible only with fairly detailed knowledge of the essential vitamin and the manner in which it works. Available in a host of food products consumed daily – meat, dairy products and fish, Vitamin B12 is often also synthetically made in laboratories. The purpose of vitamin B12 shots/supplements is to boost or make up for the deficiency of B12 in the blood. It is also administered to fight cyanide poisoning and to combat high blood levels of homocysteine.
Individuals who suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency are likely to exhibit or experience health issues that include fatigue. In extreme cases, patients may also experience neurological changes that could be life changing in nature. Known as a water-soluble vitamin, B12 has an impact on functions that include DNA synthesis, health of the nerve cells, and formation of red blood cells. B12 also plays an important role in energy production, and in various neurological functions. As a consequence of vitamin B12 deficiency, there is every possibility of these functions being affected in a manner so as to have undesirable effects in routine activities and abilities.
The plant based and animal-based vitamin typically binds itself to the protein molecules, and during the digestive process, it is separated from the protein. Following this, vitamin B12 is absorbed into the blood and reaches the various parts of the body. Before we look at vitamin b12 side effects it is important to note that this process of separation, and processing requires sufficient stomach acid levels in the body. This will release vitamin from the protein and the sequence of actions includes its subsequent absorption into the blood stream. The is facilitated by a substance known as the intrinsic factor and individuals with inadequate intrinsic factor are known to have a type of anemia. Medically known as pernicious anemia, patients with the condition have impaired ability to absorb vitamin B12 and end up with the deficiency.
How much of vitamin B12 is ideally required?
Its time to look at the typical average ideal requirement of vitamin B-12, and then to dive into vitamin b12 side effects. The recommended daily average intake of vitamin B-12 for males and females aged 14 and above is 2.4 mcg or micrograms per day. This generally increases for pregnant women and lactating women, with the recommended daily average pegged at 2.6 mcg to 2.8 mcg. A detailed description of a balanced diet and recommended daily average of nutrients is explained in this article.
What are B-12 shots?
As mentioned above, B-12 shots are necessitated or recommended when individuals do not get the required daily intake. B-12 shots are basically injections of the nutrient in a form known as cyanocobalamin, which is essentially a synthetic version of the vitamin. This helps to quickly boost the vitamin B-12 levels in individuals who have been identified with a deficiency due to one of various reasons.
Available in various forms including injections, liquid, tablets, capsules and as nasal sprays, vitamin B-12 helps make up for the shortfall. It is also available in fortified food products, but the shots are administered when there is an urgent need to boost the levels of the vitamin. The condition is not common, as most adults typically have sufficient levels of the vitamin. This is because the liver is known to store vitamin B-12, and this is used to deliver the required levels of B-12 for cell metabolism and DNA production. As we head into the section dealing with vitamin b12 side effects, here is a quick look at individuals who are prone to vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Symptoms indicative of vitamin B-12 deficiency
The following symptoms are possible indicators of vitamin B-12 deficiency and it is important to understand the same before looking at vitamin b12 side effects. Pernicious anemia, which is one of the reasons for vitamin B-12 deficiency will typically manifest through symptoms that include fatigue for no apparent reason and a general feeling of laziness. Individuals with the condition may exhibit a clear decrease in cognitive functioning and will have memory issues. Vitamin B012 deficiency will also have an impact on the individual’s understanding ability.
Additionally, there is also the possibility of individuals ending up with bouts of constipation, and a faint feeling that is not attributed to any other reason. Various other manifestations include, irritability, throbbing headache, ulcers int eh mouth and a feeling of pricking sensation of pins or needles. The individual may also experience impact in vision and may also end up with a swollen tongue or a sore tongue. Finally, as a result of the various effects, the individual may have difficulty in maintaining balance and could have increased heart palpitations.
Commonly reported vitamin b12 side effects
Commonly reported vitamin b12 side effects may sometimes require medical attention to manage or prevent the condition from turning serious. For instance, there is the possibility of ankles swelling or the feet ending up swollen, and this side effect may require attention at a healthcare facility. While the possibility of developing vitamin b12 side effects is relatively low because of better tolerance and toxicity, there are certain possible effects.
Certain vitamin b12 side effects may not require any attention and will resolve naturally, while, certain effects will require medical attention. Pain at the location of the injection or redness is a possibility among a small section of individuals who receive the shots. Similarly, there is also the possibility of itching at the site of injection. In a small number of cases, there is also the possibility of individuals ending up with diarrhea, and this may also require medical attention, to prevent extreme dehydration. Swelling in the body is a possibility and this could actually extend to many locations in the body and it may be necessary to treat the same quickly.
Serious vitamin b12 side effects
The section above dealt with mild or moderate vitamin b12 side effects that may require medical attention when it is persistent or intense. The following vitamin b12 side effects are considered as serious in nature and may require medical attention in most cases. For instance, there is the possibility of individuals experiencing muscle cramps. This may affect movement, in addition to the need for pain management. Individuals with the condition may then require medical attention to mitigate the same. Heartbeats may end up with an irregular pace or rhythm and this requires medical attention at the earliest. As mentioned above, individuals may experience fatigue and when this is intense in nature, it is necessary to tackle the same. Swelling of the ankles or the feet, if left unchecked may turn serious and it is therefore considered as a medical situation when the sweeling increases or spreads to many parts of the body.
Vitamin b12 side effects as mentioned above may be mild, moderate, or serious in nature. The same category of side effects may actually be mild for some individuals, whereas it could be serious in some cases. For instance, certain individuals may experience itching or swelling that is mild in nature. The same side effects may be serious in nature for other individuals. Other vitamin b12 side effects that are regarded as serious include difficulty in breathing, sudden changes in vision and possible impact on speech. Individuals experience dizziness for no apparent reason are advised to seek medical attention.
Vitamin b12 side effects – possible drug interactions
Vitamin b12 side effects include possible drug interactions with other medications or formulations. This includes medications that are easily available as over the counter formulations. It is important to seek medical advice and recommendations before taking B-12 shots to prevent possible drug interactions that may be known or unknown. Medications such as aspirin, and certain antibiotics are known to have possible drug interactions and it is essential to take sufficient precautions or medical advice. Other medications that could trigger possible vitamin b12 side effects include metformin and oral contraceptives. Categories of medications such as H2 receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibitors are also known to end up with drug interactions.
In addition to the above, there is also the possibility of patients with allergies and medical conditions experiencing vitamin b12 side effects. Allergies to cyanocobalamin may trigger certain side effects. Individuals with low levels of potassium in a condition that is generally known as hypokalemia, may also experience certain side effects. Similarly, individuals with kidney ailments, or with pre-existing conditions such as polycythemia vera are also at risk of developing medical conditions or allergies. Other possible conditions that could trigger vitamin b12 side effects include eye conditions such as Leber’s disease or nutrient deficiencies. This includes folic acid and iron deficiencies in individuals.
Vitamin B-12 shots may be necessary for a section of individuals and the best practices include the need to identify risks and to follow the recommendations of treating specialists always. Individuals with pre-existing conditions are to seek medical advice, while patients on medications are to exercise full caution, in addition to consultations with specialists regarding drug interactions.