Another Shot at Weight Loss: Is B12 the Magic Bullet or Bunk?

Last evening the topic in my college nutrition class was vitamins.  As we came to the topic of vitamin B12, several students inquired about B12 for weight loss.  One student said her former pediatrician suggested she take B12 to help with weight loss.  Several  students in other course sections asked repeated questions about B12 shots for weight loss.  I must admit I was stumped as to why they would even ask about this. THEN, the spa Groupon email came this morning advertising B12 shots.  The Groupon ad suggests B12 injections as an additional therapy for boosting energy and the body’s metabolism for those looking to lose weight.  The price: a mere $69.00 for 12 vitamin B12 injections.  This a major savings from the original hefty retail value of $480.00!  This all begs the question as to if there is any benefit to B12 injections for weight loss.

We do like to take pills and look for magical methods to lose weight easily. Unfortunately, I would have to say this is just another one of those gimmicks.  I can find no sound scientific basis for suggesting additional B12 from supplements or injections to aid in weight loss.  If someone is tired from the anemia due to a B12 deficiency (called pernicious anemia), then administration of B12 will indeed give that person more energy because the person needs the B12 to treat that specific type of anemia.  But, for the rest of us, that B12 will neither give us more energy or boost our metabolism.  There are ways to boost one’s metabolism, but chowing down on more B vitamins or injecting them is not a way to raise our metabolic rate.  We get energy from the calories in our foods and resting our bodies.  B vitamins do not give us energy, they are needed in small amounts to help the biochemical reactions that occur in our bodies to release energy from foods-that gives us energy!

Most people who eat animal protein are getting more than sufficient amounts of B12.  B12 is derived from animal protein, and since many Americans eat more protein than recommended, B12 is not usually an issue.  For vegans,  it may be necessary to take a B12 supplement to meet requirements.  However, many foods are fortified with B12 (such as cereals which may have 100% of B12 requirements provided in a single serving) so not all vegans would necessarily need to be taking a supplemental form of B12.

Have you tried B12 shots for weight loss?  Did you see any benefit?  Right now over 200 Groupon deals have been sold!  Is this a waste of money or helpful for your waistline?

 

 

 

 

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