A fad or the fountain of youth? Many people are turning to vitamin B-12 injections for a boost of energy, stress reduction and weight loss.
Celebrities like Madonna, Rita Ora, Victoria Beckham and Justin Timberlake all sing the praises of the B-12 injection. Rihanna even tweeted a picture while she was receiving a B-12 vitamin drip.
Doctors agree B-12 is vital for healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system as well as for the formation of blood.
"B-12 is a water soluble vitamin that the body uses for various functions, it is very important," said Dr. Michael Dahl with Research Medical Center.
Dahl said B-12 shots have been given for years for people with a deficiency, which is determined by a blood test.
"I was diagnosed back in 2006 with being vitamin B-12 deficient. I had a feeling in two of my fingers that was the same. Not really a numbness or tingly, just kind of weird feeling that didn't go away," said Nancy Bederman, one such person.
They symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency include fatigue, lethargy, headaches, mouth ulcers, visual disturbance and mood changes.
Vitamin B-12 is commonly found in most American diets. It's in all kinds of meat like chicken, beef, pork and fish.
Because it's water soluble, the body only uses what it needs. For that reason, Dahl said adding injections may be a waste of money.
"The body can only store a certain amount. It's stored in the liver, and thus, if the need is not there, the body just excretes it, so at least it's not harmful if we overdose with it. It is water soluble, so the body will excrete it, but it just becomes a waste of money," he said.
The popularity of B-12 shots has skyrocketed so much so that some clinics are having a shortage of the vitamin.
The price for an injection ranges from $15 to $30.
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