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Nutrition / Diet

Health benefits of cucumber

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Cucumbers have a mild, refreshing taste and a high water content. They can help relieve dehydration and are comfortable eating in hot weather. People eat cucumber as delicious food but it’s a fruit. It also features beauty products in some.

The cucumber is a member of the Family Cucurbitaceae. Other family members include squash, and various melon types, including bitter melon. Cucumbers contain various nutrients but low in calories, fat, cholesterol , and sodium.

Since ancient times , people in India have grown cucumbers for food and medicine purposes, and they have long been part of the Mediterranean diet.

This article looks at cucumber’s nutritional content, its potential health benefits, tips for eating or using cucumber and any potential health risks.

Benefits

The cucumbers’ nutritional profile can bring a number of health benefits.

1) Hydration

Image of cucumbers
The electrolytes in cucumbers can help prevent dehydration.

Cucumbers are mostly water, and contain important electrolytes as well. They can help avoid dehydration during or after a workout in hot weather.

The addition of cucumber and mint will make it more appealing for people who don’t like drinking water.

It is necessary to stay hydrated to maintain a healthy intestine, prevent constipation, avoid kidney stones and more.

2) Bone health

Vitamin K helps to coagulate the blood, and can support bone health.

According to the US Department of Agriculture ( USDA), a 142-gram (g) cup of chopped, unpeeled, raw cucumber provides 10.2 micrograms ( mcg) of vitamin K.

The American Dietary Guidelines 2015–2020 recommends an intake of:

  • 90 mcg a day for females aged 19 years and over
  • 120 mcg for males of the same age

Cucumber also has a calcium content of 19.9 milligrams ( mg). Adults require 1,000–1,200 mg of calcium per day, depending on age and sex.

Vitamin K helps to better absorb calcium. These nutrients will together lead to good bone health.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in bone health. Learn more.

3) Cancer

As a member of the plant family Cucurbitaceae, the cucumbers contain high levels of bitter-tasting nutrients called cucurbitacin.

Cucurbitacins can help prevent cancer by stopping cancer cells from reproducing, according to an article in the International Journal of Health Services.

A 133-g cup of chopped cucumber also provides about 1 g of fiber with its skin. Fiber can help guard against colorectal cancer.

4) Cardiovascular health

The American Heart Association ( AHA) notes that fiber can help manage cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular problems associated with it.

In addition, a 142-g cup of unpeeled cucumber contains 193 mg potassium and 17 mg magnesium. The Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults, depending on sex and age, consume 4,700 mg of potassium perday and 310–410 mg of magnesium.

Reducing the sodium intake and increasing the intake of potassium can help prevent high blood pressure.

The cucurbitacins may also help prevent atherosclerosis in the cucumber.

5) Diabetes

Cucumbers can be instrumental in controlling and preventing diabetes. It contains substances that can help lower blood sugar or stop excessive blood glucose from rising.

One theory is that the cucurbitacins in cucumber help regulate insulin release and the metabolism of hepatic glycogen, a key hormone in the processing of blood sugar.

One study found that cucumber peel had helped manage diabetes symptoms in mice. That may be because of its antioxidant content.

According to the AHA, fiber can help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes, too.

Cucumbers on glycemic index (GI) score low. This ensures that they provide vital nutrients without the introduction of carbohydrates which can increase blood glucose.

6. Inflammation

Cucumbers have potential anti-inflammatory benefits. Inflammation is an Immune System function.

Experts believe that inflammation may help trigger the development of different health conditions , for example:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • autoimmune conditions
  • depression
  • cancer

7. Skin care

Some work has indicated that nutrients from cucumber may be of benefit to skin health.

Applying sliced cucumber directly to the skin can help the skin to cool down and soothe, reducing swelling and irritation. It will help heal sunburn. They are placed on the eyes and can help to reduce puffiness in the morning.

Other tips on the beauty of cucumbers include:

Toner: Blend and sieve the cucumber to a natural toner to collect the juice. Leave for 30 minutes on the skin then rinse. Cucumber may have astringent properties, and the pores may be clear.

Face pack: Mix together equal amounts of cucumber juice and yogurt to make a face pack that helps to minimize dry skin and blackheads.

Cucumber is safe to use on most people’s skin. People should start with a small amount applied. If they’re not experiencing an adverse reaction, use is likely safe.

Nutrition

One 142-g cup of unpared, raw, chopped cucumber contains the following nutrients, according to the USDA:

  • water: 137 g
  • calories: 17
  • protein: 0.8 g
  • fat: 0.2 g
  • carbohydrate: 3.1 g, including 2.0 g of sugar
  • fiber: 1.0 g
  • calcium: 19.9 g
  • iron: 0.3 mg
  • magnesium: 17 mg
  • phosphorus: 29.8 mg
  • potassium: 193 mg
  • sodium: 2.8 mg
  • vitamin C: 4.5 mg
  • folate: 19.9 mcg
  • beta carotene: 44 mcg
  • lutein + zeaxanthin 22.7 mcg
  • vitamin K: 10.2 mcg

Cucumber also contains a number of vitamins B, vitamin A and antioxidants, including a lignan type.

Antioxidants help in eliminating substances known as free radicals from the body. Some free radicals come from natural processes in the body and some come from external pressures like pollution. If too many gather in the body , it can cause cell damage and various types of disease.

Studies have suggested that lignans can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer in cucumber and other foods.

Types

Hothouse, or English cucumber, is the most commonly available type of cucumber. It is large, with dark green skin, with few seeds or no.

Other types of cucumber according to one source include:

Armenian, or snake cucumbers: These are long and twisted with thin, dark green skin and pale furrows. People often use them for pickling.

Japanese cucumbers: These are dark green and narrow. The skin is thin with small bumps on it. People can eat them whole.

Kirby cucumbers: People often use these for dill pickles. They are crispy, with thin skin and small seeds.

Lemon cucumber: These are around the size of a lemon, with pale skin. The taste is sweet and delicate.

Persian cucumbers: Shorter and fatter than the hothouse cucumber, these are crunchy to eat.

The wild cucumber vine (Echinocystis lobata) is a fast-growing, North American native plant. It’s considered a weed by gardeners. Its fruits are not edible.

Tips

Choose crisp, firm cucumbers and avoid those with shriveled or withered ends. Store in fridge for up to a week.

After picking them, certain producers apply a wax coating to the cucumbers. Before storing, do not wash these but rinse them thoroughly or peel them before consuming.

People usually consume cucumbers raw. Their mild taste and refreshing crunch make them suitable for:

  • adding to salads or sandwiches
  • accompanying rich or highly flavored dishes, such as curries and stews

They pair well with a range of foods, including cheese, turkey, salmon, and nut butter.

Try the following:

  • Mix sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese for a Greek-style side dish.
  • Jazz up water by adding mint leaves and cucumber.
  • Slice cucumbers into thick slices and dip them in your favorite hummus.
  • Blend cucumbers alone or other vegetables, such as carrots and celery, to make a juice.
  • Make gazpacho soup by blending with tomatoes, pimentos, garlic, onions, and bread crumbs and then chilling.
  • Mix with garlic, mint, and Greek yogurt to accompany a curry.

Risks

For most people, cucumber is safe to eat but there are some points to consider.

Digestive problems

Some people find certain types of cucumber difficult to digest.

One source suggests that most people can easily digest the conventional, large cucumber that is available in most grocery shelves.

Blood clotting

Cucumber has a relatively high vitamin K content. Eating too much cucumber can have an effect on how blood clots a person.

People who use warfarin (Coumadin) or similar drugs that thin the blood should not dramatically or suddenly increase their intake of cucumber without consulting a doctor.

Allergy

Some people have reported cucumber having an allergic reaction. Anyone with a known allergy should avoid all Cucumber contact.

Symptoms of a reaction include:

  • hives
  • swelling
  • difficulty breathing

If a person has trouble breathing, they need immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction which could threaten life.

Toxicity

Some cucurbitacins are harmful in consumption by humans. For example , eating bottle gourd has caused illness in some people.

People should:

  • avoid eating the plant on which cucumbers grow
  • only consume cucumber fruits that they know are edible

However, the concentration of cucurbitacins is unlikely to cause toxicity in everyday cucumber.

Should I go organic?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) produces a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue each year.

Currently the Cucumbers are sixteenth on the list.

The EWG has suggested buying organic cucumber to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure. A further option is to grow the cucumbers at home.

Growing cucumbers

People with a garden that gets plenty of sunshine and has well-drained soil might want to grow cucumbers. Thus, they may know which pesticides they have used, if any.

Home growing fruits and vegetables can also maximize nutritional value, as people can eat it as soon as they harvest it.

Plant cucumber seeds when frost is unlikely.

Takeaway

Cucumber is a refreshing, mild-tasting food that is easy to add to different dishes. Like other fruits and vegetables it is a good nutrient source.

Eating cucumber as part of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle can offer a range of advantages.

Q:

Some suggest we should peel the cucumber in order to extract the pesticides and make them more digestible. Is this a smart idea, or is it energy wasting?

A:

One cup of chopped, peeled cucumber will provide similar nutrients with the skin on like 1 cup of cucumber. Although the skin will provide a little more fiber and nutrients, the differences are negligible.

Peeling a cucumber will help remove pesticides, but traces of pesticides may still seep into the middle of the cucumber. Natalie Olsen, R.D., L.D., ACSM EP-C

Answers represent our medical experts’ opinions. All material is purely informational and medical advice should not be considered.

Nutrition / Diet

How long does it take for kidney stones to pass?

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The kidneys are in charge of filtering the blood for urea and excess minerals. These substances are frequently excreted in the urine. Large concentrations of these minerals can, in some situations, build up in the kidneys, causing crystal-like stones.

Kidney stones can form in one or both kidneys. They may then flow thru the ureter, the tube that links the kidney to the bladder.

Small kidney stones usually pass thru without causing any problems and may not cause any symptoms. Larger stones can become lodged in the ureter and cause pain. They may cause issues such as infection and renal damage if they are not removed.

The speed with which a kidney stone passes can be influenced by a number of factors. More information on how long it takes to pass a kidney stone, how to speed up the process, and treatment options can be found in this article.

When to consult your doctor

doctor and patient

Smaller kidney stones may pass on their own, producing little pain. Large stones, on the other hand, can be uncomfortable and raise the risk of health problems.

Pain is a sign that a person needs to see a doctor. They’ll be able to tell if the stone has to be treated in any way to help it pass.

If people have any of the following symptoms, they should see a doctor:

  • blood in the urine
  • fever and chills
  • vomiting
  • severe and persistent pain in the back or side
  • cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • a burning feeling when urinating

These symptoms could indicate a kidney infection, which needs to be treated right once to avoid more serious problems.

Duration

Size and placement are the two key elements that determine how quickly a stone passes.

Size

A kidney stone’s size influences how rapidly it passes through a person’s body. Smaller stones pass more quickly and with less pain.

The approximate timelines for passing kidney stones of various sizes are listed below:

  • Around 80% of kidney stones with a size of less than 4 mm will pass on their own in around 31 days.
  • Around 60% of kidney stones with a diameter of 4–6 mm will pass on their own after 45 days.
  • Around 20% of kidney stones that are larger than 6 mm will pass on their own after a year. When stones are this large, however, it is better to consider surgical removal as soon as possible.

Location
The position of the kidney stone also has an impact on whether or not it can be passed naturally. Some stones develop in the kidney, whereas others develop in the ureter.

Kidney stones that form near the kidney form in the upper section of the ureter. Those that form near the bladder are those that form in the lower section.

According to a 2014 assessment of research, 48 percent of stones that develop near the kidney pass without intervention. For stones that grow close to the bladder, the percentage climbs to 79 percent.

How to speed up the process

Drinking enough of water is the best technique to assist speed up the passing of a kidney stone. The extra fluid increases urine, which aids in the movement of the stone.

A person can also take actions to avoid the formation of new stones and the growth of existing ones. These steps are as follows:

  • limiting protein intake
  • reducing calcium intake
  • consuming less salt
  • eating more citrus fruits

Citrus fruits contain the chemical citrate, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming.

Dietitians and doctors can also recommend food programmes for kidney stone management.

Pain relief remedies

Kidney stones can be inconvenient and even painful to pass. In certain circumstances, over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen may be sufficient to relieve pain.

If a person’s kidney stones are especially painful, they should speak with their doctor, who may be able to prescribe stronger pain relievers.

Treatment and surgery

Kidney stones can be treated without surgery in a number of ways. These are some of them:

  • Alpha-blockers: These drugs relax the ureter, alleviating painful spasms and helping the stone pass.
  • Calcium channel blockers: These drugs widen the ureter, helping the stone pass through.
  • Lithotripsy: This procedure uses sound waves to break the stone into smaller fragments that can pass more easily.

Surgery is rarely the first treatment option. Kidney stones greater than 6 mm, on the other hand, necessitate emergency surgery. Large stones can become lodged in the ureter, resulting in infections and kidney damage.

Ureteroscopy and percutaneous nephrolithotomy are the two main surgical options for kidney stone removal.

A general anaesthesia is required during ureteroscopy. Using tiny instruments introduced via the urethra, the surgeon removes or breaks up the stone during the surgery. A stent may then be placed into the urethra to keep it open. This makes it easier for any little stone shards to flow through.

The surgeon removes very large stones measuring 10 mm or more during percutaneous nephrolithotomy. A tiny incision in the back is used to remove the stone directly from the kidney. The surgery necessitates a general anaesthesia and a one to two-day stay in the hospital.

Recovery

The time it takes to recuperate from a kidney stone is determined by how quickly it goes. The pain should go away fast if the stone passes naturally or with minimal medication.

If lithotripsy is performed as an outpatient operation, the patient should be able to return home the same day. The amount of time it takes to recover depends in part on the type of anaesthetic used.

If surgery is necessary, most people are able to resume most of their routine activities within a day of the procedure. People who receive a stent, on the other hand, should avoid high-intensity activities until the stent is removed by a medical practitioner. About a week after surgery, something happens.

Pain medicines may be used throughout recuperation.

Conclusion

Kidney stones are often unpleasant, and passing them through the body’s system might take many weeks. If a person’s stones become very painful or if they suffer other concerning symptoms, they should consult a doctor.

Kidney stones can be treated using a variety of methods. The goal of drug therapy is to relieve pain and suffering while also allowing the stone to pass more freely.

Kidney stones that are too large to pass naturally, on the other hand, may need to be surgically removed. Within a day or two of surgery, most people are able to resume their daily activities.

Sources:

  • https://www.urologyhealth.org/careblog/a-patients-guide-to-laser-treatment-for-urinary-stones
  • https://intermountainhealthcare.org/ext/Dcmnt?ncid=520728251
  • https://urology.wustl.edu/patient-care/kidney-stones/kidney-stones-overview/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326775
  • https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/selfcare-instructions/kidney-stones-self-care
  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones/symptoms-causes
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897056/

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Uses of vitamin B-12 level test: Normal ranges, and results

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The amount of vitamin B-12 in the blood or urine is measured in a vitamin B-12 level test to determine the body’s overall vitamin B-12 reserves.

Vitamin B-12 is required for a variety of body functions, including neuron function, DNA and red blood cell formation.

Treatment is required if a person’s vitamin B-12 levels fall outside of the usual range. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause neurological symptoms as well as fatigue, constipation, and weight loss. B-12 levels that are too high could indicate liver disease, diabetes, or another condition.

Continue reading to learn more about B-12 testing and what the results indicate.

Purpose of a vitamin B-12 level test

worried lady

The vitamin B-12 level test determines the amount of vitamin B-12 in your body. Doctors can use the data to see if low vitamin B-12 levels are causing symptoms.

If a person exhibits any of the following symptoms, a doctor may recommend a vitamin B-12 level test:

Vitamin B-12 insufficiency

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is thought to affect up to 15% of people in the United States, according to research. The following are signs and symptoms of a deficiency:

  • fast heartbeat
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • poor memory
  • a sore mouth or tongue
  • confusion
  • dementia
  • depression
  • difficulty maintaining balance

Vitamin B-12 deficiency in infants can cause them to underachieve. They may have mobility issues in addition to developmental delays.

Pernicious anaemia

A vitamin B-12 level test may be required for people who have signs of low iron. Pernicious anaemia is caused by a lack of vitamin B-12 absorption, resulting in poor red blood cell causes.

It usually affects the elderly or people who are deficient in intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is a gastric material that binds to vitamin B-12 and allows it to be absorbed by the body.

The following are signs and symptoms of pernicious anaemia:

  • pale skin
  • weakness
  • weight loss
  • constipation
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite

High levels of folate in the blood

The level of folic acid in the blood is known as serum folate. High levels of serum folate might disguise the signs and symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency, exacerbating the neurological symptoms.

They can also make you more susceptible to anaemia.

Symptoms of other illnesses

Vitamin B-12 levels that are unusually high can be a symptom of liver disease, diabetes, or certain types of leukaemia. The findings of a vitamin B-12 test may be used by a doctor to help them make a diagnosis.

Risk factors

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is more common in some people than in others, especially those with low stomach acid or other digestive problems. Stomach acid helps the body absorb vitamin B-12 more effectively by separating it from meals.

Low vitamin B-12 levels are more common in the following groups of people than in others:

  • people with conditions that reduce vitamin B-12 absorption, including celiac disease and Crohn’s disease
  • people who have had gastric bypass surgery
  • those who are breast-feeding
  • people who are taking medicines such as chloramphenicol, proton pump inhibitors, or H2 blockers
  • older adults
  • children
  • vegans and vegetarians
  • people with diabetes

How does the B-12 vitamin level test work?

Vitamin B-12 status is normally determined by a blood test, but home urine tests are now available. Vitamin B-12 levels can be checked as part of a routine blood test by a doctor.

Although fasting is not required before a B-12 test, it may be necessary if the doctor is utilising the test to check at other blood components.

It is important that patients inform their doctors about any medications or supplements they are taking, as some may have an impact on the outcome.

Acknowledging the results

The following are possible results:

  • Low. Vitamin B-12 levels below 200 pg/mL are considered low. This indicates that you may have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, pernicious anaemia, or an overactive thyroid. Neurological symptoms are common in people who have low vitamin B-12 levels.
  • High. Anything over 900 pg/mL is considered excessively high vitamin B-12 status. This result could indicate problems with the liver or kidneys, diabetes, or certain types of leukaemia.

Because the ranges of results differ from one laboratory to the next, it’s important to talk to a doctor about the results and what they signify.

To rule out vitamin B-12 deficiency, the doctor may measure levels of methylmalonic acid (MMA) and other chemicals. These lab results aid in the early detection of vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency treatment

Vitamin B-12 injections are frequently required by people who have low amounts of the vitamin. These shots are more successful at boosting vitamin B-12 levels than supplements, especially when people have medical issues that make supplements difficult to absorb.

High doses of vitamin B-12 supplements may help some people improve their B-12 status. Supplements are sold in the form of capsules or liquids in pharmacies, supermarkets, health food stores. It may also be beneficial to consume extra vitamin B-12-rich foods.

Treatment for high vitamin B-12 levels

There is no upper limit on vitamin B-12 consumption because high amounts do not cause problems. Having naturally high levels of vitamin B-12 in the body, on the other hand, could be cause for alarm, since it could indicate a serious underlying condition. Doctors will focus on treating the underlying medical condition rather than the vitamin B-12 levels.

Vitamin B-12  foods.

Eggs are rich in vitamin B-12.
Vitamin B-12 is abundant in eggs.

Although low vitamin B-12 levels are frequently caused by absorption problems and other medical conditions, some people may be deficient because they do not acquire enough vitamin B-12 through their food. This is especially true for vegans and vegetarians who have been vegetarian for a long time.

Vitamin B-12-rich foods include:

  • fortified plant-based dairy alternatives
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • fortified nutritional yeast
  • fish and seafood
  • meat
  • eggs
  • dairy products

Vitamin supplements can help vegans and strict vegetarians make up for dietary deficiencies. Older persons should seek to achieve their vitamin B-12 needs through fortified meals and vitamin supplements, as supplements are simpler for their bodies to absorb than naturally occurring vitamin B-12.

Vitamin B-12 dietary recommendations

Vitamin B-12 is required in 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day for adults and adolescents over the age of 14. During pregnancy, this rises to 2.6 mcg, and breast-feeding raises it to 2.8 mcg.

Conclusion

Vitamin B-12 is an essential nutrient that is necessary for good health. The status of a person’s vitamin B-12 is determined by a vitamin B-12 level test. This test may be recommended by a doctor to people who have symptoms of a deficiency or who are at risk of having low vitamin B-12 levels in their bodies.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency can be avoided by eating a well-balanced diet that includes many sources of the vitamin on a daily basis, or by taking supplements. If they have trouble absorbing vitamin B-12 from food, oral supplements or injections can help them avoid symptoms and consequences.

Sources:

  • https://academic.oup.com/qjmed/article/106/6/505/1538806
  • https://labtestsonline.org/tests/methylmalonic-acid
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322286
  • https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-abstract/71/2/110/1940320
  • https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
  • https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/b-12-deficiency/

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Nutrition / Diet

Uses, benefits, and side effects of vitamin B-12 shots

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Vitamin B12 shots are injections that a doctor may recommend to address a nutrient B12 deficiency, particularly if the body has trouble absorbing the vitamin.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a variety of health issues, from fatigue to permanent neurological abnormalities.

A doctor may recommend oral vitamin B12 supplementation or injections if a person’s vitamin B12 levels are low owing to a medical condition.

Injections are typically used by people who have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 or who have had stomach surgery. Shots allow the body to absorb vitamin B12 without having to pass it thru the digestive system.

The necessity of maintaining proper vitamin B12 levels is discussed in this article, as well as the benefits and risks of vitamin B12 shots.

Vitamin B12

vitamin B-12 shots

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is important for a variety of biological activities, including:

  • nerve cells
  • red blood cells
  • DNA production

Megaloblastic anaemia can make a person feel fatigued and weak if they don’t get enough vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 can be found in a variety of foods, including:

  • dairy products
  • nutritional yeast
  • some fortified foods
  • meat
  • fish
  • eggs

Vitamin B12 binds to protein molecules in animal-based diets. Stomach acid separates it from the protein during digestion, and a chemical called intrinsic factor causes the bloodstream to absorb it.

A condition known as autoimmune atrophic gastritis causes some people’s bodies to produce insufficient stomach acid or intrinsic factor. Vitamin B12 shots may be required for these people to lower their risk of deficiency, which can develop to pernicious anaemia.

Those who have had gastrointestinal surgery and whose digestive system is unable to absorb vitamin B12 properly may also require shots.

What dosage of vitamin B12 do We require?

The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for vitamin B12 are listed in the table below. The RDA is the minimal daily quantity required by the majority of healthy people in a certain group.

GroupAmount
0–6 months0.4 micrograms (mcg)
7–12 months0.5 mcg
1–3 years0.9 mcg
4–8 years1.2 mcg
9–13 years1.8 mcg
14+ years2.4 mcg
Pregnant people2.6 mcg
People who breastfeed2.8 mcg

A doctor, on the other hand, may provide advice on an individual’s specific needs.

Vitamin B12 shots

Vitamin B12 shots are a type of supplement that contains cyanocobalamin, a synthetic form of vitamin B12.

The shot will be administered by a doctor into the muscle. If they inject it into a vein, the body may lose a high amount of it through urine.

Cyanocobalamin is available in three different forms: liquid, tablet, and capsule. Certain foods, such as cereals, may be fortified with vitamin B12 in a synthetic form.

Who needs vitamin B12 shots?

Vitamin B12 injections can only be obtained with a prescription after a clinical diagnosis of low levels. Because the human liver accumulates vitamin B12 throughout time, low levels are uncommon in most healthy persons.

Some people, however, are at a higher risk of deficiency and may benefit from vitamin B12 injections or tablets.

Those suffering from vitamin B12 deficient symptoms

A doctor should be seen if you have symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anaemia.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms:

  • difficulty thinking and remembering
  • fatigue
  • heart palpitations
  • pale skin
  • weight loss
  • infertility
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • dementia
  • mood changes
  • a sore tongue
  • low appetite
  • constipation

Vitamin B12 deficiency risk factors

The following risk factors can increase the chance of developing vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • high alcohol consumption
  • older age
  • pernicious anemia
  • atrophic gastritis, which refers to inflammation in the stomach
  • Helicobacter pylori infection
  • celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • a history of gastrointestinal surgery
  • following a plant-based diet
  • pancreatic insufficiency
  • AIDS
  • some hereditary conditions that affect vitamin B12 absorption

Those suffering from gastric people

Vitamin B12 release and absorption may be affected by gastrointestinal conditions.

These are some of them:

  • pernicious anemia, which can lead to gastric atrophy, or damage to the stomach
  • fish tapeworm infestation
  • bowel or pancreatic cancer
  • folic acid deficiency
  • overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine
  • celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease

People who have had gastrointestinal surgery, such as weight loss surgery, may have less of the cells that secrete stomach acid and intrinsic factor. Vitamin B12 absorption may be affected as a result of this.

Older adults

According to research published in 2015, vitamin B12 deficiency is more common in people over the age of 60, and certain people may benefit from vitamin B12 injections.

The researchers discovered that disorders linked to decreased stomach acid production, such as gastric atrophy, are more common in older persons. Low stomach acid also encourages the growth of some bacteria, which depletes vitamin B12 reserves.

Vegans and vegetarians

Because vitamin B12 is mostly found in animal sources, people who eat a plant-based diet are more likely to be vitamin B12 deficient.

In a 2010 study of 689 males, researchers discovered that those who ate a plant-based diet had greater rates of vitamin B12 insufficiency. Compared to just 1% of people who ate meat, over half of vegans and 7% of vegetarians had inadequate vitamin B12 levels.

Vitamin B12 is transferred to the infant through the placenta and breast milk, thus vegetarians and people who are pregnant may need to take supplements or eat fortified foods. If the baby is exclusively breastfed, he or she may not get enough vitamin B12. This can result in long-term and serious neurological problems.

A doctor may propose injections in rare circumstances, but research shows that taking extra vitamin B12 by mouth is just as beneficial as getting an injection in a muscle. It is also less expensive.

Benefits

Vitamin B12 shots may be recommended by a doctor for people who are at risk of deficiency or its repercussions.

Vitamin B12 injections may help to lower your risk of developing the following conditions:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • neurological disorders
  • problems with thinking and memory
  • vision loss
  • infertility
  • neural tube defects in children born to those with a vitamin B12 deficiency

Risks

Because the risk of toxicity or overdose is low, there is no upper limit for vitamin B12 intake. Vitamin B12 injections, on the other hand, may have unintended consequences.

If a person has any of the following symptoms, or if they persist or worsen, they should get medical help:

  • pain, redness, or itching at the site of the injection
  • mild diarrhea
  • a swelling sensation in the body
  • temporary itching of the skin

There may also be a risk of:

Anyone experiencing trouble breathing, hives, or swelling should seek immediate medical attention. They could be suffering from anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Drug interactions

Certain drugs may interact with vitamin B12. Before obtaining a vitamin B12 shot, people should always tell their doctor about all prescription and over-the-counter medications they are taking.

The following are some of the most regularly prescribed drugs that may interact with vitamin B12:

  • H2 receptor antagonists
  • metformin
  • proton pump inhibitors

Medical disorders and allergies

Before having a vitamin B12 shot, anyone with allergies or medical issues should always consult a doctor.

Shots of vitamin B12 may not be appropriate for those who have a history of:

  • hypokalemia, or low potassium levels
  • deficiencies in other nutrients, particularly folic acid and iron
  • sensitivity to vitamin B12
  • Leber’s disease, which affects the optic nerve
  • kidney problems

Conclusion

While most people obtain enough vitamin B12 from their diet, some people do not. This could be caused by low intrinsic factor levels in the digestive system, a digestive disease, or eating a plant-based diet.

The American Dietary Guidelines for 2020–2025 propose that vitamin B12 and other nutrients be met first and foremost through food.

If dietary sources are inadequate, a doctor may prescribe supplementation in the form of tablets or injections, depending on the cause of the deficiency.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441923/
  • https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/10310/autoimmune-atrophic-gastritis
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933506/
  • http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-B12
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318216
  • https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/lookup.cfm?setid=579bd1fe-51a1-403f-a422-0fb701aab57d
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/recommended-dietary-allowance
  • https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6494183/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25756278/

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