Vitamin B12 (also known as Cobalamin) is a vitamin that’s essential for many aspects of your health, though your body is unable to produce it.
In order to maintain healthy levels of Vitamin B12, you need to make sure that you get enough from external sources, such as food and supplements.
This vitamin has a wide variety of health benefits – from boosting your energy to improving your memory – leading some people to recommend vitamins B12 for weight loss.
However, does this wonder vitamin also help people to shift the pounds and how much should you take to support your weight loss goals? In this article, we’ll be examining the health benefits of Vitamin B12, looking through the evidence linking this vitamin to improved weight loss and advising you on how best to include Vitamin B12 in your daily routine.
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that’s crucial for a variety of metabolic and hormonal functions, including the digestion and distribution of nutrients. Because it helps to convert and synthesize many other compounds in the body, there is evidence to recommend vitamins B12 for weight loss in addition to its documented role in:
Although human research on the effects of Vitamin B12 is limited, some studies have found evidence that B12 could affect body fat, potentially meaning vitamins B12 for weight loss could be your next diet boost. One review of multiple studies concluded that Vitamin B12 is key to metabolising fat, noting that deficiencies were linked to fat accumulation and obesity.
Other studies have corroborated this link, as an animal study found that severe vitamin B12 deficiency led to significant increases in body fat and cholesterol levels in pregnant mice. Similarly, one study found that administering vitamin B12 to rats on a high fat diet reduced weight gain, seemingly indicating that the vitamin could improve weight loss.
Several studies have found that insufficient levels of vitamin B12 are associated with higher risks of weight gain and obesity, making the importance of healthy Vitamin B12 intake even more apparent. One large study that surveyed 9,075 people found that high levels of vitamin B12 were associated with a lower risk of obesity, lending credence to recommendations of vitamins B12 for weight loss.
Another similar study – of 976 people – found that low level of vitamin B12 were linked to higher rates of obesity, seeming to show an inverse link between vitamin B12 and obesity. However, these studies didn’t look at other contributing factors (like diet and exercise regimes) so we cannot conclude that vitamin B12 causes or prevents weight loss on its own.
Many people believe that a slow metabolism is partly to blame for weight gain, but is metabolism really the culprit, and if so, is it possible to speed up your metabolism and burn more calories? When it comes to speeding up your metabolism, vitamins B12 for weight loss may hold the secret to speeding up this natural phenomenon.
Because vitamin B12 plays a vital role in metabolising the fats, proteins, and nutrients in your food, a deficiency of this essential vitamin may result in inefficient digestion and a slower metabolism. While supplementing with vitamin B12 may not boost the metabolism of people with healthy B12 levels, supplementation can be hugely beneficial for people that are vitamin B12 deficient.
Before stocking up on vitamins B12 for weight loss, it’s important to know your own levels and the recommended daily intake for your demographic. If you’re already getting enough vitamin B12 from your diet and have healthy blood levels, then there’s really no need for you to be supplementing and may just be wasting your money.
The National Institute of Health estimates that between 1.5 and 15% of Americans suffer from Vitamin B12 deficiency and aren’t getting the average Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of 2.4mcg (micrograms). So if you think you may not be getting your RDI, book a test with your doctor and consider supplementing your diet with vitamin B12 supplements to boost your levels back up to a healthy range.
It may seem extreme, but many people are turning to injections (or shots) of vitamins B12 for weight loss, as they are a quick way to give your B12 levels a big boost. Typically prescribed for serious vitamin B12 deficiencies and injected intramuscularly – into your muscles – vitamin B12 shots are increasingly being used for their purported weight loss benefits.
However, there is little to no evidence that a healthy person taking vitamin B12 shots will see a noticeable improvement to their weight loss or metabolism. While these injections are generally safe with no major side effects, there are some accounts of people suffering side effects from allergic reactions or sensitivity, so we recommend seeking medical advice before taking vitamin B12 shots.
If you fear needles, are wary of the side effects of vitamin B12 shots or just want to get your vitamins B12 for weight loss the natural way, there are plenty of foods you can eat to boost your vitamin B12 intake. Vitamin B12 is most commonly found in animal products like meat, dairy and shellfish as well as some fortified foods including:
Because vitamin B12 deficiency is such a common complaint and can have disastrous consequences many people believe that taking high doses of B12 can be more beneficial than sticking to the RDI. But is there any truth to this approach, and will you suffer side effects if you take too many vitamins B12 for weight loss?
Thankfully, there is no identified maximum dose of vitamin B12 due to its low potential for toxicity, making it highly unlikely that you can suffer side effects from ‘overdosing’ on B12. While we recommend sticking to the recommended daily intake set out by the NIH, there is little evidence to suggest that you’ll suffer serious side effects if you go over the recommended amounts.
When considering how to fit vitamin B12 supplements into your daily routine, there are several factors to consider, whether you’re taking supplements for a deficiency or vitamins B12 for weight loss. As Vitamin B12 is renowned for its energy-boosting effects, taking your supplements with food in the morning or early afternoon will help you make the most of their benefits.
However, vitamin B12 is water-soluble, which means that your body will typically excrete any B12 it cannot metabolise, so super high doses don’t translate into super health benefits. Instead of taking a high dose in the morning, try spreading your vitamin B12 dose throughout the day to give your body more chance to absorb it.
As well as supporting healthy metabolism and cell function, vitamin B12 has a wide variety of health benefits, such as boosting your energy, improving your energy, and preventing heart disease. Never mind taking vitamins B12 for weight loss, when this wonder vitamin:
Low vitamin B12 levels decrease red blood cell formation and prevent them from developing property, causing health issues like anemia. Anemia can cause fatigue and weakness which are linked to weight gain, so taking vitamins B12 for weight loss may help tackle underlying conditions.
A study of over 2,500 adults found that people suffering from B12 deficiencies also had lower than average bone mineral density, putting them at a higher risk of osteoporosis. Given that bone conditions can be exacerbated by obesity, taking vitamins B12 for weight loss may help you avoid severe osteoporosis in later life.
Macular degeneration is an eye disease that commonly affects older people, though the exact cause is still unclear. A large study found that older women using vitamin B12 supplements had fewer cases of macular degeneration, possibly because the supplements lower homocysteine, an amino acid believed to be partially responsible for causing macular degeneration.
Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in synthesizing and metabolising serotonin – a hormone that regulates mood – so supplementing your B12 intake may help improve your mood. Studies have found that high B12 levels are linked to improved recovery from depression, so taking vitamins B12 for weight loss may help you improve your physical and mental health
Vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated with memory loss, and several studies have found that supplementing with B12 helps to prevent brain atrophy which is linked to dementia. One study found that supplementing with vitamin B12 and Omega-3s slowed mental decline in patients with early-stage dementia, so getting plenty of B12 may help you stay sharp into your old age.
Because vitamin B12 plays an important role in your body’s energy cell production, supplementing with B12 may help you improve your energy levels, especially if you have low B12 levels. One of the most common symptoms of B12 deficiency is fatigue, so taking vitamins B12 for weight loss may help you to get your energy back and give you the motivation to diet.
Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause a variety of dermatologic symptoms – including hair changes, nail discolouration and inflamed skin – so your skin will thank you for taking your B12 supplements. Furthermore, supplementing with vitamin B12 has been shown to improve these dermatologic symptoms, though it has little effect on people with healthy levels of B12.
If you’ve been feeling unusually sluggish or have recently switched to a plant-based diet, then you may not be getting your recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 from your diet. If you suffer from fatigue, pins and needles or dizziness (all common symptoms of a B12 deficiency), then you should consider taking vitamins B12 for weight loss and other health benefits.
The NIH recommends that adults get at least 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 a day, though as many as 15% of Americans suffer from B12 deficiencies, requiring vitamin B12 supplements to meet their RDI. If you think you’re suffering from a B12 deficiency or don’t get enough B12 through your diet (especially if you are vegetarian or vegan), then you should consider B12 supplements.
However, we recommend seeking medical advice before trying vitamins B12 for weight loss or the high-concentration B12 shots, as there is a small risk of complications or adverse reactions. Fortunately, Vitamin B12 is generally safe for human consumption and there is very limited evidence of side effects, so make sure you include plenty of B12 rich foods in your diet, or supplement your intake if you avoid animal products for dietary and/or religious reasons.