One legacy of the misuse of cobalamin as a tonic for fatigue and other nonspecific symptoms has been misperception of the serious medical nature of clinical deficiency.Prof. Ralph Carmel; How I treat cobalamin (vitamin B12) deficiency
Does B12 give you energy?
The answer is both yes and no.
Yes, because vitamin B12 plays an important role as a co-factor for DNA synthesis and cellular energy production, especially in the metabolism of fatty acids and amino acids. It helps in the formation of red blood cells and thus prevents anemia, which leads to fatigue and weakness.
And no, because the energy that people associate with B12 shots isn’t like the immediate boost you get from stimulants like caffeine. B12-related energy production supports natural processes to provide cells with the fuel they need, and to form healthy red blood cells to carry fresh oxygen around your body.
So, When Can B12 Give You Energy?
Our primary question, therefore, is under what conditions does B12 give you more energy?
The answer: it depends on your actual B12 levels.
If you have sufficient active-B12 levels, there is no evidence to suggest that higher levels will result in boosting your energy at all. In other words, B12 stores are very much like gasoline in a car; having more gasoline won’t make your car run faster. However, a car with depleted gasoline levels will barely run.
However, when someone does have a deficiency in B12, they may feel tired and lethargic due to the impact on their red blood cells and nerves. In such cases, restoring their B12 levels will correct the anemia, and thus significantly increase their energy.
“But some places sell vitamin B12 shots for energy!”
Some misconceptions to address:
Wellness clinics often market B12 shots for energy purposes. Ads like “Get your vitamin B12 energy shot today for $69.99!” are common. It’s nothing more than false marketing, and many people fall for it because the idea of a quick fix for energy is appealing. In our eyes, it is unethical to promote B12 shots as an energy booster for someone who’s not deficient. It’s simply not true, and a waste of money (and hope) to the customer.
Ever visited one of these clinics, had a B12 shot, and did feel increased energy? It may very well be a placebo effect. That is, when you believe you will get energy from a shot, there’s a good chance you will think that you’re feeling so. Even when you do suffer from a B12 deficiency, it takes a consistent daily injection schedule to fully correct your anemia and restore energy levels.
Again, excess B12 beyond what the body requires does not translate into more energy. But will B12 give you energy if you are deficient? Yes. Only in such a case are you likely to see real benefits to your energy from the B12 shots.
In Cases of B12 Deficiency
Why does vitamin B12 give you energy in such cases?
Because it addresses the anemia and impairment of red blood cell function. This directly leads to restoring your oxygen carrying capacity, which reduces fatigue.
Even then, it takes a lot more than just one injection.
If you suffer from B12 deficiency, daily supplementation for 90 days will significantly improve energy levels. Three months, because this is the life cycle of each red blood cell. Therefore, to replace all of your dysfunctional red blood cells with healthy ones, 90 days of daily injecting is required. Only at this point will you really recover.
Please, do not delay treatment if you have a B12 deficiency. Daily injections are not just about restoring your energy and getting rid of the fatigue that’s chronically haunting you. They also minimize the risk of lifelong nerve damage.
We recommend B12 shots over oral tablets, because injections bypass the digestive system. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with malabsorption issues, such as those with pernicious anemia, atrophic gastritis, or other gastrointestinal disorders that may prevent the adequate uptake of B12 from food or oral supplements.
In short, don’t buy B12 injections for energy purposes unless you’re deficient.
B12 And Energy Production Insurance
Now that we’ve established that B12 and energy are tightly related, how about using a B12 supplement just in case, for ensuring proper energy production?
You can certainly supplement with B12 on a daily basis as an insurance policy, because vitamin B12 is water-soluble, and there’s no toxicity threshold. Your body will use what it needs, store some, and then urinate any excess. You can’t overdose.
We suggest all vegetarians, vegans, and the elderly to supplement with B12 on a daily basis. These are the primary target demographics of B12 deficiency. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and megaloblastic anemia. Neurological changes, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can also occur. The more you experience any of these symptoms, the stronger our advice to supplement.
Of course, you can suffer from B12 deficiency even if you’re not vegetarian or an elderly person. If you suspect you have a deficiency, by all means supplement (for at least 90 days) and see if there’s any improvement. If you’re waiting for your full diagnosis, we still recommend to supplement as you’re waiting. The risk in waiting untreated is too high.
To sum up, will vitamin B12 give you energy?
While B12 is crucial for energy production, it does not give you energy in the sense of a stimulant. It just enables your body to produce energy as it should, and taking a B12 supplement when you already have adequate B12 will not provide an “energy boost” in the typical sense. However, since B12 has no toxicity threshold, feel free to supplement. If you find that B12 gives you energy, maybe you’ve been deficient for a while.
All the best.