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Does Vitamin B12 Help With Weight Loss?

Many people find themselves struggling to lose weight, but with the right mindset, you can find lasting weight loss success. Incorporating positive measures into your lifestyle and routine can help you safely achieve your weight management goals without harming your health.

A nutritious and balanced diet, prioritizing regular exercise into your schedule, and taking vitamin supplements featuring vitamin B12 are all beneficial measures that may help you achieve success in your weight loss journey.

This article explores the potential for Vitamin B12 and looks to answer the question, “Does Vitamin B12 help with weight loss?”

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Understanding Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin (a vitamin that dissolves in water) that your body can store in your liver for years at a time. B12 and the other B vitamins help your body produce red blood cells, maintain proper central nervous system (including your brain and spine) function and health, and metabolize protein.

Vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin or cyanocobalamin) is a vitamin you can obtain from many foods, but you can also take vitamin B12 supplements if you cannot get enough through your diet. Vitamin B12 is important for numerous body processes and systems, including your metabolism and nervous system.

Vitamin B12 plays a role in many bodily functions, including:

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  • Circulation
  • Digestion
  • Energy production and use
  • Respiration and breathing
  • Temperature regulation

Vitamin B12 is naturally present in animal-derived food sources, and it is added to some foods that do not naturally contain B12, such as some breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast products. The addition of vitamin B12 to foods can be particularly helpful for vegans and vegetarians who do not get sufficient vitamin B12 through their diet.

Vitamin B12 and Weight Loss: Examining the Connection

Although additional research is necessary to conclude vitamin B12’s direct relation to weight loss, preliminary studies have shown a connection between being overweight or obese and an increased likelihood of vitamin B12 deficiency.

A 2019 study that included 9,075 participants aged 20 or older of various weights and conditions determined that the obese participants were more likely to have lower serum vitamin B12 concentrations (indicative of vitamin B12 deficiency) than the non-obese participants.1 However, more extensive research is needed to understand why this difference in serum vitamin B12 concentration occurs.

A study published in 2013 included a total of 977 patients (414 who were obese, 212 who were overweight, and 351 at a healthy weight who were placed in the control group) and found that the obese and overweight patients had significantly lower vitamin B12 levels than the individuals at a healthy weight.2

Timing B12 Supplements for Weight Loss

If you are interested in vitamin B12 supplements when aiming for weight loss, you may be surprised to learn that timing can be crucial for your daily supplementation. B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning you can safely ingest it with or without food at any point in your day.

People with deficiencies may wish to supplement with B12 on an empty stomach with a glass of water to ensure optimal absorption due to the surplus of acid in your stomach when it is empty.

Practical Tips and Considerations

If you are looking to implement B12 into your weight loss regimen, you should always speak to your doctor. They may recommend vitamin B12 injections or supplements. B12 shots work best for weight loss when they are combined with other traditional weight loss methods like diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.

Older adults, vegetarians and vegans, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are especially vulnerable to developing vitamin B12 deficiency and should speak with their doctor about taking vitamin B12 supplements to correct or avoid a deficiency.

Vitamin B12 supplements are generally considered safe for most people if they take the right dose, but potential risks or side effects of excessive vitamin B12 intake are possible.

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Complicating matters, some of the side effects overlap with symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. Common side effects caused by taking high doses of vitamin B12 include diarrhea, fatigue, and nausea. Vitamin B12 supplements may also cause negative interactions with some medications, such as:

  • Aminosalicylic acid (Paser)
  • Colchicine (Colcrys, Gloperba, and Mitigare)
  • Metformin (Formeta, Glumetza, and others)
  • Proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole (Prilosec) or lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements

These medications may reduce the available amount of vitamin B12 in your body, as well as diminish your ability to absorb vitamin B12.

How Do You Know if You Have a B12 Deficiency?

Correctly recognizing the symptoms of a deficiency in vitamin B12 allows you to seek immediate treatment to address the issue effectively.

Some of the most common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Changes in mood and behavior
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin)
  • Memory problems
  • Nausea
  • Soreness in your mouth or on your tongue
  • Fatigue
  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting

Last Words

Losing weight can be difficult, but taking vitamin B12 supplements in injection or pill form may help you increase the effectiveness of your diet and exercise efforts.

Your body uses vitamin B12 for many central nervous system and metabolic processes, such as absorption and digestion of nutrients and energy production and use. Vitamin B12 is stored in your liver and dissolves in water, so excess amounts of this vitamin are flushed out of your system in your urine. However, taking vitamin B12 in excess can cause side effects such as headaches, numbness or tingling in your hands and feet, and gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Many people get sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 from the foods they eat. Animal products like meat (including fish, poultry, and red meat) and dairy foods like cheese and milk naturally contain vitamin B12. This vitamin is also added to some foods, such as certain breakfast cereals and nutritional yeasts, which helps people who follow vegan or vegetarian diets get more vitamin B12 from foods. However, if you have or are at risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency, you can take a vitamin B12 supplement to avoid or correct the issue.

Studies have found that people who are obese or overweight or have insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome are more likely to have vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 supplements can interact with certain medications, and taking too much vitamin B12 can cause side effects, so it is important to talk to your doctor to see if using vitamin B12 for weight loss is right for you.

Stay Healthy Together: Group IV Therapy Discounts for Friends and Families!

If you want regular IV therapy in the comfort of your home, reach out to Concierge MD. We offer discounts for groups of 2 or more for mobile services. This means that families, friends, and/or colleagues can enjoy sessions together during the same appointment.

Concierge MD is excited to help you reach your health goals on your schedule. Call or click the button below today!

References

[1] Inverse Association Between Serum Vitamin B12 Concentration and Obesity Among Adults in the United States. Sun Y.

[2] Association of vitamin B12 with obesity, overweight, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, and body fat composition; primary care-based study. Baltaci D.



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