Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in brain function and red blood cell production. An essential nutrient that keeps your metabolism in check, vitamin B12 is found in many foods, especially animal products. Deficiency is common, especially in people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. However, vegans and vegetarians are not the only ones who are deficient. Even some meat eaters don’t absorb it very well.
Unlike other vitamins, the absorption of vitamin B12 depends on a protein produced in your stomach, called intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor binds to vitamin B12, so that you can absorb it into the blood. People who don’t produce enough intrinsic factor can become deficient.
Deficiency is particularly common in elderly people, because the ability to absorb vitamin B12 can decrease with age. Other people at risk of deficiency include those who have had intestinal surgery, including weight loss surgery. Those with diseases that affect the gut, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, are also at risk.
Vitamin B12 injections are generally considered to be very safe. They have no major side effects. However, if you feel like you are experiencing any side effects, please let your acupuncture doctor know immediately.