There are many different vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to stay healthy and perform essential functions. Most of these vitamins and minerals we do not produce on our own and need to get through our diets. One of the most important examples of this is vitamin B-12, which is most commonly found in animal-based products like meat and dairy. For many people, especially those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, getting enough B-12 in their diets can be challenging. When levels in the body fall too low, it can cause a range of issues, the most serious of which include changes to your mood. This is what leads many people to turn to B-12 for anxiety and depression.
What is Vitamin B-12?
Vitamin B-12, also called cobalamin, is a nutrient that is vital for certain processes in our bodies. It’s large and complex nature means that B-12 is only produced by certain bacteria and single-celled organisms, which is why the human body does not produce it on its own and must instead get it from the foods we eat. If you aren’t eating enough foods rich in B-12, your levels can drop below normal. Many studies have found that people who suffer from depression or anxiety have low B-12 levels, which is thought to happen because your nervous system will malfunction without it. This is what has led to interest in using supplemental B-12 for anxiety and depression symptoms.
Symptoms of a B-12 Deficiency
One of the things that can make it difficult for people to realize they have a vitamin B-12 deficiency is how slowly symptoms usually appear. And because it can cause an array of different symptoms, it isn’t always the first thing that doctors think of. Some of the symptoms that you can look for include:
- Tingling, numbness, or strange sensations in your hands, legs, or feet
- Poor balance, or problems walking
- Weakness or fatigue
- Problems with your short-term memory, or with thinking or problem solving
- Depression or anxiety
- A swollen or inflamed tongue
If you are experiencing these symptoms and rarely eat meat, have had weight loss surgery, or suffer from a disease that hinders your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, you should be tested for a vitamin B-12 deficiency. A simple blood test will let both you and your doctor know if low B-12 levels are causing your symptoms.
What is a Vitamin B-12 Infusion?
When someone has a B-12 deficiency, their doctor will likely recommend a dietary change. This may include taking oral vitamin pills. However, while this will help maintain healthy B-12 levels in the long run. Itt can take weeks for clients to feel an improvement in their symptoms with oral supplements alone. Instead, opting for a B-12 infusion helps get your B-12 to the correct level much more quickly and efficiently. An infusion will be given via a sterile IV, and can be combined with other nutrients your body may be low on. The fast absorption rate means that you will start feeling relief from your symptoms much sooner, in as little as a few hours to a few days.
B-12 for Anxiety and Depression
Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression.
Vitamin B-12 plays a very important role in your body’s ability to metabolize serotonin, a mood-regulating chemical in your brain. Doctors believe that, as B-12 levels drop, so does your body’s ability to use serotonin. This is what leads to symptoms of depression and anxiety. A B-12 infusion will help your body by allowing more effective metabolism of serotonin, helping to boost your moods naturally. It also helps boost your energy, making you able to do things that make improve your overall mood, like exercising.
The link between B-12 and mood disorders is still being studied. However, many researchers have found very promising connections between the two. One study found that low B-12 levels made people twice as likely to develop severe depression. Another study found that people whose depression treatment combined antidepressants and vitamin B-12 found faster, more lasting relief from their symptoms than those who took antidepressants alone.
Find Relief From Your Symptoms With B-12 Treatment
If you’re experiencing issues with your mood and you think that B-12 deficiency may be contributing, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about B12 for depression, or to schedule a consultation.