Buy 2 Save 20%, Buy 3 Save 30%, Buy 4 Save 40% off Sitewide* (Promotion Terms)

B12 Shots & B12 Injections: The Good, Bad and Alternative!

Are you thinking about trying vitamin B12 shots to increase your nutrient levels? Perhaps you’re worried that you’re deficient and want to learn more about your options. Or you’re someone who follows a plant-based diet and think you might not be getting enough B12. Shots and injections are one form of supplementation that have proven to increase vitamin levels quickly and efficiently. But they also come with side effects and drawbacks which need to be weighed up carefully. In this article, we examine what shots are, the pros and cons, plus some alternative options to consider.

To Start, Who Needs B12 Shots?

Before we begin talking about the different benefits of B12 injections, it’s important for everyone to understand who exactly should consider using a B12 vitamin shot to their advantage. Not everyone will benefit from B12 injections in a big way.

The human liver is designed to store enough vitamin B12 in the body to last for up to two years in most cases. Therefore, the majority of Americans have more than enough vitamin B12 in their systems and don’t need to worry about increasing their B12 levels.

There are, however, some people who struggle to absorb the vitamin B12 that they take in through their diets. Those over the age of 50, in particular, tend to deal with issues when it comes to their bodies absorbing the proper amount of vitamin B12.

There are also other factors that can put people at risk of suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Those who smoke, abuse alcohol, have been diagnosed with diabetes, or stick to a vegetarian or vegan diet can all be at an increased risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

People who aren’t taking in enough vitamin B12 will often display certain signs and symptoms that will let them know that they may have a vitamin B12 deficiency. The most common signs and symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency are:

• Cognitive issues, especially those that deal with memory

• Extreme fatigue

• Depression

• Frequent headaches

• Problems with maintaining balance

• Changes in vision

If you see any of these signs or symptoms, speak with your doctor about the possibility of you suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. You’ll need to obtain a clinical diagnosis for a vitamin B12 deficiency as well as a prescription before you’re able to get access to the benefits of B12 injections.

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential nutrient required to maintain good general health. Some of its most important functions include:

Your body needs vitamin B12 to function properly but cannot make it on its own. Thankfully, this vitamin is present in many different kinds of foods, attached to a specific protein. However, your body has to go through two steps before it can absorb it.

First, the hydrochloric acid in your stomach will work to separate vitamin B12 from the program to which it is attached. Then, the vitamin combines with a special protein that your stomach makes, called intrinsic factor. At that point, your body can absorb it.

If you suffer from pernicious anemia, that means your body does not produce intrinsic factor. Thus, you’ll have a more difficult time absorbing vitamin B12 from food or dietary supplements.

Megaloblastic anemia, on the other hand, stems from a direct vitamin B12 deficiency.

When your levels are too low, your red blood cells are unable to develop the way they should. Healthy red blood cells are small and round, while stunted ones will appear larger and more oval in shape

Due to their irregular shape and size, these red blood cells are unable from your bone marrow into your bloodstream at a normal rate. As such, oxygen cannot reach your vital organs, leading to megaloblastic anemia, which can cause fatigue and weakness.

May Increase the Formation of Red Blood Cells

Vitamin B12 plays a very important role in a number of functions within your body. But you could argue that the most important job it does is help your body to create red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen throughout your body and also help to remove carbon dioxide from it.

Red blood cells only live for about four months, though, which means that your body needs to constantly replenish your red blood cell supply. And it’s impossible for your body to do this if you don’t have healthy vitamin B12 levels.

Studies have shown that vitamin B12 injections can take care of this problem in most cases. When administered properly, B12 shots can bring your vitamin B12 levels back up to the right level and allow for your body to start producing more than enough red blood cells again.

May Prevent Anemia

Every year, almost 3 million people are diagnosed with anemia. Anemia is a condition that prevents a person’s body from producing red blood cells that are healthy enough to carry oxygen to tissues. There are many different types of anemia that can be caused by everything from heavy bleeding to an iron deficiency.

There are specific types of anemia, including what’s called megaloblastic anemia, that can affect those who have a vitamin B12 deficiency. If you have this type of anemia, your body doesn’t just have a tough time producing red blood cells—it also has a tough time producing red blood cells that are healthy enough to do their job.

The healthy red blood cells in people who don’t have anemia are usually small and round, which makes it easy for them to move through a person’s bloodstream without any issues. But the red blood cells in those with megaloblastic anemia are larger and shaped irregularly.

These blood cells aren’t able to pass through a person’s bloodstream as quickly as they should. This can prevent them from getting enough oxygen to tissues and vital organs.

By increasing the number of red blood cells in your body and ensuring that those red blood cells are healthy, studies have revealed that B12 shots can stop anemia from affecting you. It’ll stop your body from having to try to operate with red blood cells that don’t have the right size and shape.

May Provide an Energy Boost

Do you almost always feel tired? There could be a variety of things causing you to feel fatigued.

You might feel tired all the time because you’re:

• Taking in entirely too many refined carbohydrates

• Failing to get enough exercise

• Not sleeping the recommended number of hours at night

• Providing your body with fewer calories that it needs

• Suffering from high stress levels

But you might also feel tired day in and day out due to a vitamin B12 deficiency. Fatigue is actually one of the first symptoms that people notice when they’re suffering from a lack of vitamin B12 in their systems.

One of the biggest benefits of B12 injections might be that they’re often able to increase a person’s energy levels over time. Vitamin B12 itself isn’t responsible for delivering energy to a person. But many studies have suggested that it could result in you feeling more energetic when you get more of it into your system.

It appears as though vitamin B12 shots help a person’s body produce more energy by increasing the oxygen levels throughout it. The red blood cells in the body are able to transport more oxygen to tissues, muscles, and organs and provide people with more energy in the process.

It doesn’t sound like people who don’t suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency will benefit from B12 shots much as far as energy is concerned. But those who lack vitamin B12 could very well see a spike in their energy levels following a B12 shot.

May Make Bones Stronger

About 10 million Americans suffer from a disease called osteoporosis that makes a person’s bones very weak and increases the chances of them breaking. There are also more than 40 million people who have a low bone density and are at risk of developing osteoporosis over time.

There are some studies that have shown that there might be a connection between low vitamin B12 levels and bone health. One study, in particular, seemed to reveal that those people with a vitamin B12 deficiency are also likely to have a bone density that is considered lower than normal.

There are still studies being done on this potential benefit of using B12 shots. But the belief is that bringing your vitamin B12 levels up might make your bones stronger and more healthy. This could prevent you from developing osteoporosis and suffering broken bones.

May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for both men and women today. There are more than 600,000 people who die from heart disease each year, which represents about 25% of all deaths.

The good news is that there are dozens of ways that you can reduce the risk of you ever encountering heart disease throughout your life. You can do it by:

• Maintaining a healthy diet

• Making exercise a bigger part of your life

• Watching your weight

• Abstaining from smoking and drinking alcohol in excess

• Finding effective ways to manage stress

You may also be able to decrease your chances of ever dealing with heart disease by making sure that your vitamin B12 levels are high enough.

A number of studies have illustrated that vitamin B12 can decrease a person’s homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood that has been linked to heart disease. By regulating the homocysteine found in the blood, many researchers believe vitamin B12 may be able to prevent heart disease from affecting a person.

Unfortunately, the jury is still out as to whether or not vitamin B12 injections and supplements can effectively decrease homocysteine levels. But it’s something that those who are at an increased risk of heart disease should keep an eye on moving forward.

May Eliminate the Symptoms of Depression and Give Mood a Boost

Depression is a mood disorder that affects millions of Americans every year. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost 10% of people suffer from depression at least every once in a while. More than 3% of people, meanwhile, have a major form of depression.

Could a vitamin B12 deficiency be to blame for at least some of the depression that people are forced to live with?

This is another area that’s being studied extensively at the moment. But researchers think that there may be a connection between vitamin B12 and serotonin in the brain, which is a chemical that’s in charge of regulating a person’s mood. They’ve even gone as far as to suggest that a lack of vitamin B12 in a person’s body could lead to lower serotonin levels and, to take things further, depression.

With that in mind, many scientists have started to study how increasing a person’s vitamin B12 levels might be able to fight off their depression and give their mood a boost. One specific study suggested that antidepressants and vitamin B12 used together to treat depression were more effective than antidepressants alone.

Other studies have also shown that those with a vitamin B12 deficiency could be twice as likely to develop severe depression as those with normal vitamin B12 levels.

There is no clear-cut evidence available at this time to prove that one of the benefits of B12 injections is improved mood. But there is additional work being done to get to the bottom of the link between vitamin B12 and certain mood disorders like depression.

May Improve Memory

As we mentioned earlier, one of the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency is cognitive issues. More specifically, those with low vitamin B12 levels are often found to have problems with memory.

Researchers think that those with a lack of vitamin B12 in their systems suffer from memory loss as a result of a loss of neurons in their brains. Without enough vitamin B12 to keep these neurons strong and healthy, they begin to disappear and leave people struggling with memory issues.

This is yet another area that has a lot of ongoing research taking place at the moment. But at this time, there are a couple studies that have been done that suggest vitamin B12 shots could help those with a vitamin B deficiency.

One study done on those people suffering with early-stage dementia showed that vitamin B12 supplements and omega-3 fatty acid supplements might be able to be used to slow down a person’s mental decline.

Another study was performed on anemic people with vitamin B12 levels that were on the lower side. It found that even a slight decrease in vitamin B12 levels might be enough to affect a person’s memory. It also suggested that giving a person a vitamin B12 shot or supplement could lead to improvements with their memory.

There is still so much work to be done in this specific area. With more than 10% of the U.S. population suffering from memory issues once they reach the age of 45, it’s a topic that’s going to continue to grow in importance.

But for now, there is a lot of hope surrounding the potential benefits of B12 injections as far as memory is concerned.

May Make Hair, Skin, and Nails Healthier

Since vitamin B12 is such an important vitamin at the cellular level, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to hear that it can have a profound effect on a person’s hair, skin, and nails.

If a person’s vitamin B12 levels ever start to dip, it’s not uncommon at all for them to notice changes to their hair, hyperpigmentation to their skin, and discoloration to their nails. They may also suffer from things like vitiligo and even angular stomatitis, which can affect the corners of their mouths.

As long as a vitamin B12 deficiency is to blame for these things, a person can often reverse the conditions by upping their vitamin B12 intake. Whether they choose to do it through the use of B12 shots or by adding more B12 to their diets, studies have found that it’s usually possible for them to return their hair, skin, and nails to normal.

One thing worth noting, though, is that it doesn’t appear as though using vitamin B12 injections will help improve the health of a person’s hair, skin, or nails if they don’t have a vitamin B12 deficiency. It only seems to help those who have shown signs of being B12 deficient.

May Prevent Birth Defects

When a woman first finds out that she’s pregnant, one of the first things her doctor will tell her to do is to make sure she’s getting enough B vitamins in her diet. B vitamins are some of the most important vitamins to pregnant women.

Vitamin B12 is an especially important B vitamin to a woman who is pregnant. It’s responsible for helping the brain and the nervous system of a fetus to develop properly. Pregnant women are advised to up their daily vitamin B12 intake to 2.8 micrograms per day.

There are certain birth defects that could develop if a pregnant woman’s vitamin B12 levels aren’t high enough. During the early stages of pregnancy, neural tube defects are common. Later on, a lack of vitamin B12 could lead to a premature birth and, in some cases, even a miscarriage.

It’s obviously important for pregnant women to work closely with their doctors when it comes to using B12 supplements of any kind. They should only be taken when under a doctor’s supervision.

May Stop the Development of Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is an age-related eye condition that affects more than 11 million Americans at this time. But that number is expected to double within the next 30 years and take a toll on more than 20 million people.

Many eye specialists believe that maintaining a healthy vitamin B12 level is one of the keys to keeping macular degeneration at bay. There seems to be a link between macular degeneration and homocysteine—the same amino acid that has been connected to heart disease—and studies have shown that vitamin B12 can keep homocysteine levels low and lower the chances of macular degeneration affecting a person.

Exploring the Different Forms of Vitamin B12?

Now that we’ve discussed what vitamin B12 is and all of the incredible benefits it provides for your total health, are you ready to invest in a supplement for yourself?

If so, it’s easy to become confused when you begin your research. What do the different forms of B12 mean and which one is best?

There are four forms of B12. Let’s take a look at each one.


This is a native form of B12, along with adenosylcobalamin. You might also see it labeled as Mecobalamin, MECBL, METCBL, 12, MEB12, or Methyl B12.

In addition to reducing reduce homocysteine concentrations inside your body, this form also helps generate the most important methyl donor in your body, SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine). This donor supplies methyl groups that initiate critical chemical reactions required to maintain your health.

Most physicians prefer methylcobalamin over any other form because its absorption rate is so high. As others, specifically cyanocobalamin, require a great effort to reduce to an active form, their absorption rates differ substantially between individuals.

On the other hand, because it does not require your body to exert extra energy to reduce, methylcobalamin is better utilized than cyanocobalamin and more potent, with higher bioavailability. Your body also accumulates and retains methylcobalamin better, meaning that you lose less of it through your urine.

The Health Benefits of Methylcobalamin

Because it doesn’t require as much work in your digestive cycle to process and absorb methylcobalamin, it’s often a go-to treatment for certain diseases that don’t respond well to other forms. For instance, many people who suffer from degenerative neurological symptoms find that it’s the only way they can find relief, as this form of B12 promotes neuronal function, improves nerve regeneration and even shields your cortical neurons against harmful neurotoxicity.

In other cases, high levels of methylcobalamin are also used to relieve and help treat the following diseases and conditions:

  • Multiple sclerosis (improved visual and auditory symptoms)

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Bell’s palsy (facial nerve function)

  • Diabetic neuropathy

  • Glutamate neurotoxicity (affecting eye function)

Even if you don’t suffer from the above conditions, supplementing your vitamin B12 intake with this form can improve your quality of life. Need an example?

Some researchers believe it that methylcobalamin B12 supplementation can help modulate your body’s secretion of melatonin, the chemical that lures you to sleep. It can also help balance and regulate your normalize your circadian and sleep-wake rhythm. The result? A deeper, more restful night that leads into a more alert day.


You might also find this form of vitamin B12 listed as ADECBL, Cobamaide, Cobinamide, Dibencozide, OR ADOB12.

Adenosylcobalamin is the other native, mitochondrial form of vitamin B12. Like methylcobalamin, it bypasses reactions in your absorption cycle. Your body can also retain it well, producing clinical results that surpass any offered by cyanocobalamin B12 or hydroxocobalamin B12.

Most of the B12 that we store in our liver is actually adenosylcobalamin, which converts into methylcobalamin as required.


You might also see this form of vitamin B12 listed as CN-CBL OR Cyano B12. It’s an inexpensive, synthetic, inactive form of B12 that is actually slightly toxic.

Created with a cyanide donor and used commercially, cyanocobalamin is the most stable form of vitamin B12  because the cyanide molecules have the greatest attraction to the B12 and protect it from extreme conditions.

However, that stability comes at a price, as it’s difficult for your body to absorb this form of B12.

While the amount of cyanide is toxicologically insignificant, your body must still remove and detoxify the molecule, which it does by deploying precious methyl groups. Your body already depends on those groups to help ward off the toxins present in your everyday environment.

Yet, methyl molecules aren’t the only elements this detox phase requires. Your glutathione levels could also take a hit. Glutathione is an important antioxidant that helps lower lipid peroxidation commonly linked with oxidative stress.

If these stores deplete, it can lead to cyanide toxicity.

Only when the cyanide is cleaved away does the B12 become usable and absorbable. This means that cyanocobalamin can be dangerous to people who have conditions that suppress their ability to eliminate cyanide effectively. These include:

  • Liver problems

  • Renal failure

  • Cigarette smoking

When you are able to absorb this form of B12, it converts to hydroxocobalamin, and then to methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. This process can be laborious, taxing and time-consuming for your body. In fact, it takes more than 12 hours for cyanocobalamin B12 to convert to methylcobalamin!

Due to its low cost and widespread availability, cyanocobalamin B12 is the most prescribed form of the vitamin. However, it’s important to pause and think about the effects it has on your body. Introducing a healthy supplement into your system is good, but not if it requires that you deplete your body of its other critical substances.


Other names for this form of B12 include Hydroxy B12, OH-CBL, or B12A.

This is the predominant, inactive form of B12 found in food, preferred over cyanocobalamin B12 as it doesn’t contain cyanide, doesn’t require a de-cyanation process, and doesn’t deplete your glutathione stores.

The two forms do have one characteristic in common, however. Both have to eventually convert into methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin to be effective. The upside is that Hhydroxocobalamin converts at a much quicker rate.

Hydroxocobalamin also has a longer half-life and a higher affinity to the plasma protein. That means it sticks around longer in your blood.

The issue to look out for? As it absorbs, hydroxocobalamin reacts chemically with cyanide, nitric oxide, and nitrous oxide. It’s for this reason that it’s often used to help treat cyanide toxicity. However, suppressing nitric oxide, in particular, can lead to adverse effects, including:

  • Elevated blood pressure

  • Impotence

  • Digestive issues

  • Increased susceptibility to infection

  • Increased risk of cancer

It’s especially important for pregnant women to keep their nitric oxide levels in check, as it plays a vital role in regulating feto-lacental circulation.

What is the Best Form of B12?

Between the four forms, methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin emerge as the two frontrunners.

So, which one should you choose?

While they inter-convert, adenosylcobalamin doesn’t include the beneficial methyl group present in methylcobalamin. Moreover, it isn’t available as an injection, rendering it ineffective for those with pernicious anemia.

A comparison of the two should also take into account the fact that methylcobalamin includes a valuable methyl group that delivers a host of health benefits, whereas adenosylcobalamin does not.

Some people may have a rare condition that prevents their body from inter-converting different forms of B12. In this case, that person would have to take a combination of both forms.

However, 99% of people do not have an issue with inter-conversion and should reach for methylcobalamin as the first line of defense.


As if its powerful neuroprotective and nerve regeneration effects weren’t enough, it also helps restore any synaptic transmutations and diminished neurotransmitters back to their appropriate levels.

In addition, methylcobalamin also donates that valuable methyl group that adds to your health without subtracting from it elsewhere (as cyanocobalamin does). Especially if you suffer from pernicious anemia or high homocysteine levels, this can make all the difference in the world.

In addition, methylcobalamin also donates that valuable methyl group that adds to your health without subtracting from it elsewhere (as cyanocobalamin does). Especially if you suffer from pernicious anemia or high homocysteine levels, this can make all the difference in the world.

What's the Procedure Like?

If you don't have a problem with shots in general, the process for getting a B12 shot is quick and easy. B12 is injected like any other shot near the lower back/hip area of the body.

If a person is truly deficient, they will likely be prescribed to get injections daily for a length of time of about a week. Then after that, maintenance shots monthly. The type and amount of B12 administered is dependant on your unique situation.

Most people feel the effects of the B12 injection within an hour of getting the shot. Users report feeling the effects throughout the day and even the next morning.

What are the Benefits of B12 Injections?

There are dozens of potential benefits to getting B12 shots. Not only for those who are deficient but for those who want to optimize their health too. The most obvious benefit of receiving vitamin B-12 shots is treating a vitamin B-12 deficiency and avoiding its associated symptoms.

Aside from alleviating the symptoms of deficiency, one of the major benefits of B12 shots is improved cognitive function. Research has found links to a lack of B12 and dementia. B12 injections may also help with depression. B12 shots also help increase red blood cell production. It can prevent birth defects and promotes healthy pregnancies.

Another well-researched benefit of B12 shots is in preventing osteoporosis. A lack of B12 has been connected to a reduction in bone weight. Other benefits include increased energy and focus, and even a hangover cure.

What are the Side Effects of Vitamin B12 Shots?

There aren't many side effects of getting B12 shots. There may be slight discomfort or bruising near the injection site on the body. Users may also experience pops of the taste of the vitamin in their mouths the day of the injection. There will also likely be a slight orange discoloration to a person's urine after the procedure. Other symptoms include increased energy, alertness and focus.

Why Should You Get a B12 Patch Instead of Shots or Pills

A patch for B12? Yes, you read that correctly. While shots and oral supplement can be effective, there are always risks associated with them. With oral supplements, there can be sourcing and quality issues.

Getting on a B12 shot regimen can be very time consuming and expensive, depending on your insurance. You have to physically go to the doctor and undergo the discomfort of physically getting a shot. The last thing most people want is to have another obligation to commit to.

Also, according to Harvard Medical School, choosing B12 shots instead of pills is dependant on a person's reason for a deficiency. For example, B12 injections are required for those with pernicious anemia and certain gastrointestinal health problems. But it might be pointless for sufferers with different genetic makeups.

The B12 Energy Topical Patch is the most effective and innate way to increase energy and get the full spectrum of B12 benefits. It's got all the perks, without any of the fuss. It's latex, lactose, gluten and sugar-free, and comes with a 100 percent cash back guarantee.

Improve Your Vitamin B12 Levels Today

Now that you know a little more about why vitamin B12 is so important, the health benefits it offers, and which form is the best, are you ready to add a B12 supplement into your regular routine?

If so, you’ve come to the right spot.

Our topical, slow-release B12 Energy Plus Patch is a simple and straightforward way to get the extra vitamins and nutrients you need without the burden of pills or weekly B12 injections. If you’re looking for a natural way to boost your energy levels, improve your focus, and reduce anxiety, this is it.

Contact us today to learn more about our products and the incredible health benefits they offer.

This site does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only.  The content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the PatchMD website.  All rights reserved, this site uses cookies.