Why B12 Shots at Home Can Make Your Treatment Easier!
Medically reviewed by Leann Poston, M.D. on 9/29/20
Vitamin B12 deficiencies can cause many issues that may greatly affect your quality of life; however, treatments such as B12 shots at home are a safe and effective way of treating symptoms caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin involved with the metabolism of all of the cells within the human body. Vitamin B12 is usually sourced through animal food products, such as fish, meat, eggs, dairy, dairy products, and fortified cereals.
Certain groups are at a higher risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency. These groups include those over the age of 50, vegetarians, vegans, those who take anti-acid medications, and those who have undergone weight loss or stomach surgery. The upside is that a vitamin B12 deficiency is usually simple to treat through supplements. Vitamin B12 is available in oral supplements, B12 injections administered by a healthcare professional, and B12 shots from home. A vitamin B12 deficiency has to be determined by a doctor, but knowing what the symptoms are can better-equip you to know when to reach out and make the appointment.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Many things can cause vitamin B12 deficiency. However, it can be difficult to detect because the signs and symptoms are very hard to connect and can often be mistaken for another condition. Additionally, the onset of symptoms can be gradual, with the level of intensity slowly increasing over time – making it even more difficult to detect until it becomes more severe.
Some, but not all of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, include:
- Fatigue or general tiredness
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Tingling or burning sensations in hands and feet
- Coordination and balance problems while walking
- Difficulty focusing
- Memory loss
- Sleep issues
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen tongue.
- Pale skin
- Fast heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Sore tongue
- Weight loss (NIH, n.d.)
While these are only a few of the possible symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, it is important to know and understand some of the warning signs your body may be displaying. Treating many of the causes of vitamin B12 deficiency is as easy as taking some form of a vitamin B12 supplement. Supplements for vitamin B12 can come in the form of an oral supplement or a B12 injection.
Some opt to go to their doctor’s office or a health clinic to have their shot administered by a health care professional, while others prefer to give themselves vitamin B12 shots at home. All methods are usually effective; however, oral supplements tend to absorb more slowly, and not all of the nutrients are absorbed within the human body. The decision of which supplement is right for you should be made between you and your health care provider.
Also read – What Not to Eat When You’re Over 50
How to Prepare for a Vitamin B12 Shot at Home
Learning how to administer a B12 shot at home can be difficult at first, but quickly become second nature. One of the benefits of being able to give yourself a B12 shot at home is the added convenience of not having to go to the doctor’s office or a health clinic. With the proper safety procedures and instructions, nearly anyone can give themselves a B12 shot at home. To properly prepare for a vitamin B12 shot at home, consider following the steps below.
1. Talk to Your Doctor
Your doctor will determine if you need B12 injections by running a few tests to decide if your situation requires B12 as a treatment. This usually requires blood tests or other forms of lab work. Your doctor will use the results to decide whether or not you are a candidate for B12 injections, as well as the dose and frequency at which you should give yourself the shot.
Once your doctor has given you a prescription for at-home B12 injections, you will need to have your prescription filled at your local pharmacy. While using B12 shots at home, your doctor may require frequent blood tests to check your body’s reaction to the treatment.
2. Discuss Any Possible Complications
Different forms of treatment for any condition come with a set of side effects and warnings. You must be made aware of your doctor’s information so that you can decide whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks. This will help you determine if B12 shots at home are the best form of treatment for your condition. For example, B12 shots contain cyanocobalamin; therefore, if you are allergic to cyanocobalamin or cobalt, you should avoid using B12 shots as a form of treatment.
Other reasons to consult with your doctor before choosing B12 shots at home as a treatment method, include:
- Lieber’s disease or other eye problems
- Kidney or liver disease
- Iron or folic acid deficiency
- Any type of infection
- If you are receiving any medications or treatments that affect your bone marrow
- If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, or if you are a nursing mother.
- Post-surgical stent placement (FDA, n.d.)
Side Effects may include, but are not limited to:
- Allergic reactions such as skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- Chest tightness or pain
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
- A bluish tint to the lips
- A red, painful, or swollen area on the leg (Cleveland Clinic, n.d.)
3. Know the Benefits
Those who suffer from anemia or B12 deficiency will most likely find B12 shots at home to be an effective treatment for their condition. Others who have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 through food, oral supplements, or dietary restrictions such as vegetarianism or veganism, may have to take B12 shots at home every day to maintain the vitamin B12 levels within their body.
Vitamin B12 shots come with a whole list of potential benefits for those who are deficient, including:
- Helping with red blood cell formation which may boost energy and endurance
- May support heart health by decreasing homocysteine levels
- May help prevent cognitive decline
- Anemia prevention (NIH, n.d.)
- May reduce the risk age-related macular degeneration
- May improve sperm count (Penn State, 2011)
Additional benefits may occur on an individual basis depending on whether you are deficient in vitamin B12 and the symptoms that resolve with treatment.
4. Choose an Injection Site
The proper injection site for a B12 shot at home is determined by the age and level of comfort of the recipient. Before you administer any of your own injections, your first shot should be given by a healthcare professional to oversee the reaction and check for any adverse effects.
There are three common injection sites, which include:
- The upper arm – This site is usually used for young to middle-aged adults. Because those within this age group typically have a healthy amount of muscle mass in their upper arm, they are able to sustain the treatment. However, doses over 1mL should be administered to another injection site.
- The anterior-lateral thigh in the vastus lateralis muscle – This is the most common site used by those who inject vitamin B12 shots at home and are best suited to infants and young children. What makes the thigh a prime injection site is the high amount of fat and muscle directly under the skin.
- The buttocks – The upper, outer buttocks are also common injection sites; however, only a medical professional should use this site as the buttocks are located near major blood vessels, as well as the sciatic nerve. An improperly performed injection can lead to damage to the sciatic nerve (CDC, 2019).
5. Choose How to Inject a Vitamin B12 Shot at Home
While both are effective, it is important to point out that there are two methods of injection for vitamin B12 shots at home. Intramuscular injections are the most common because they tend to have better results. The needle must be inserted at a 90-degree angle, putting the needle deep into the muscular tissue. It is very important to check that you have not hit any blood vessels with the needle by slightly pulling back on the plunger and checking if any blood enters the chamber of the needle. If there is no blood present, it is safe to continue administering the vitamin B12 injection. This is considered the best method as the B12 is completely absorbed into the body through the muscle.
The second method of injecting a B12 shot at home is the subcutaneous method. These injections are less common and are typically used for shots injected into the upper arm. This method requires you to inject the needle at a 45-degree angle, rather than 90-degrees to ensure that the needle does not penetrate the muscle.
Ultimately, the injection technique and injection method should be discussed and thoroughly understood during your health care visit.
Also read – How to Buy BPC-157 Online Safely
Giving Yourself a Vitamin B12 Shot at Home
Once you are well-prepared for your vitamin B12 shot at home, it can be intimidating to administer the injection on yourself. While this is understandable, there is no reason to be afraid or stressed out to give yourself the shot. By following the steps below, you can be sure that you will safely and effectively administer your vitamin B12 shot at home.
1. Get Everything You Are Going to Need
Start by gathering all of the materials that you will need to safely and effectively give yourself the vitamin B12 injection. Prepare a clean and sanitary space and layout the following materials:
- Vitamin B12 solution
- A covered, clean needle and syringe
- Cotton balls
- Rubbing alcohol
- A puncture-proof container to dispose of your used needles.
2. Clean the Injection Site
The most important part of giving yourself a B12 shot at home is making sure that you are eliminating an unnecessary risk of infection. By cleaning the injection area before giving yourself the shot, you are ensuring that harmful germs will not enter the body through the injection site.
First, make sure the site is uncovered, and the skin is exposed. Then, saturate a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Now use the cotton ball to clean the skin by moving it in a circular motion. After allowing the site to dry completely, you are ready to move on to the next step.
3. Using the B12 Solution
To ensure that the B12 solution is injected safely into the site, you must make sure that the surface of the B12 solution, usually in a vial, is clean. Again, use a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe the surface of the container. Let the container dry before injecting the needle.
Now, remove the needle from the sanitary packaging. Turn the B12 vial upside down, insert the syringe, and pull back the plunger until you’ve pulled out the required amount of the vitamin B12 solution. Tap the needle lightly with your fingers to rid the syringe of any air bubbles.
Now you are ready to remove the syringe from the container and administer the solution into the injection site. After administering your B12 shot at home, remove the needle from the site, and use a cotton ball to stop any bleeding and reclean the site. Safely dispose of the needle into a puncture-proof disposable container.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a prescription for a vitamin B12 shot at home?
Yes, in order to acquire the supplies and B12 solution for your B12 shot at home, your doctor must write a prescription, and will usually train you on how to administer the shot as well as how to respond to any possible adverse reactions.
Is administering a B12 shot at home dangerous?
As long as you are following the proper instructions and supplies given to you by your healthcare provider, there is little cause for concern as far as the injection. All medications have side effects, ensure that your health care provider is aware of all your medications, herbs, and supplements as well as any medical problems. Verify that you understand how and how much vitamin B12 to inject and any possible adverse reactions.
Using B12 shots at home as a treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency can be very effective in managing and treating your condition. The injections are relatively easy and painless to administer, and you can do it all from the comfort of your own home.
Once you’ve conferred with your doctor, and they have written you a prescription, it is important to choose a high-quality B12 supplement to treat your deficiency. Invigor Medical provides high-quality substances from a trusted compounding pharmacy for those looking to lead their healthiest lives possible.
To learn more about Invigor Medical Methylcobalamin and how it can treat your possible B12 deficiency visit: https://invigormedical.com/
Also read – How to Stay Healthy with Age
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. (n.d.). Pernicious Anemia. Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/pernicious-anemia
- FDA.Gov. (n.d.) Cyanocobalamin. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2006/021642s002lbl.pdf
- Penn State Hershey. (2011). Vitamin B 12 (Cobalamin). Retrieved from http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productid=107&pid=33&gid=000332
- Centers for Disease Control. (2019). Vaccine Administration. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/vac-admin.html
- Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Cyanocobalamin, Vitamin B12 Injections. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/17995-cyanocobalamin-vitamin-b12-injection