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Consumer

Do You Need A Vitamin B12 Shot?

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She anchors...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Vitamin B12 shots have become something of a celebrity fad, with proponents claiming the supplement boosts energy levels, reduces stress and help with weight loss.

Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Lindsay Lohan and Katy Perry all reportedly get them; Rihanna and Rita Ora have even shared photos of themselves hooked up to drips.

“Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin also called cobalamin. We need it in our body to help it work normally, especially as far as making new cells like red blood cells and help your nervous system work properly,” Fairview Health Services’ Dr. Robby Berhshow said.

B12 is said to increase energy and speed up the metabolism, which may be why Any Lab Tests Now in Plymouth is giving them by the hundreds, with no need for a prescription. They are $25 each or 4 for $75.

“A lot of people come in at week 4 and say, ‘At week 3 my energy just really dropped off the table, and I needed another B12 shot,'” Any Lab’s Alex Lamkin said.

Nancy Biedermann gets B12 injections every month. She says she can tell when she is getting low on B12 by her energy levels.

However, according to registered dietitian Heidi Schmidt, most people are getting plenty of B12 through their diets.

“I don’t think that there is a lot of untapped into B12 deficiencies out there. It’s from dairy and animal products. That’s not something that the American diet is typically low in,” Schmidt said.

The only true way to know if you are B12 deficient is with a blood test. There are some signs.

“People can get fatigue or headache. In more advanced cases, you can get some neurological effects, like mood changes, numbness or tingling in hands or feet, difficulty walking, irritability, memory problems, things like that,” Berhshow said.

As for getting shots even without a proven deficiency, Bershow said it will probably neither hurt nor help your overall condition.

“You’re probably not causing a significant amount of harm,” he said. “But they also aren’t probably helping themselves much if they don’t have a true condition that they are treating.”

If you’re suspicious that you have a B12 deficiency, you should talk with your doctor to see if you can do a blood test.

There are a few groups who can’t get the shots, including pregnant women.

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