Vitamin jabs - saviour or snake oil?Comment on this story
London - Everyone from Madonna to Cheryl Cole is said to use Vitamin B12 injections as an energy booster. But are they really a party season godsend?
“Alcohol and stress deplete the body of vitamin B12,” says Dr Martin Kinsella, who offers the jabs at his Cheshire clinic. “If you don’t have enough, you can feel low, rundown and lethargic. A quick shot of B12 can change that.”
Some people, he says, have problems absorbing a vitamin in tablet form, but injecting into muscle - usually the bottom - gives a full dose, slowly released into the body over the weeks to follow.
As it is a water-soluble vitamin, once the body has used what is required, any excess is excreted in urine, making it virtually impossible to overdose.
If it sounds like a miracle fix, there are some concerns that by just dishing out B12 shots, you fail to get to the root of the real problem, as Fiona Klonarides, 43, from London, knows.
In 2002, her high-pressure a job left her feeling burnt out, and as friends raved about vitamin shots, she gave them a go. “In the short term, it worked,” she recalls. “I felt as if my body had been kick-started.” But the feeling didn’t last and soon, Fiona discovered why. “An underactive thyroid was the underlying problem. The vitamin jab papered over those cracks, but it wasn’t the answer.”
Helena Gibson-Moore, of the British Nutrition Foundation, believes there are further risks. “This is a relatively new trend, so the long-term impact on health is unknown. On a more basic level, injecting anything comes with risks, such as air bubbles in the syringe, allergic reactions and infection.”
Dr Eric Asher, GP and Medical Director of London’s Third Space Medicine, condemns unlicensed use of the vitamin but thinks the positive reviews from tired City types are understandable.
“Don’t underestimate the placebo effect,” he says. “It’s red, it’s an injection and they’re paying for it - three reasons they’ll go away feeling better.
“It won’t do any harm, but a doctor who gives B12 without further investigation is not being responsible. B12 isn’t a magic cure.” - Daily Mail