Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient that performs different functions in our body. B12 is indicated for Vitamin B12 deficiency, pernicious anemia, people who have difficulty absorbing B12 orally due to diseases such as Crohn’s or Celiacs, patients who have had gastric bypass surgery or who are on long-term acid suppression medication and/or someone on a vegetarian diet. Vitamin B12 also is also commonly incorporated into weight loss or weight management programs to help regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates and fat.
"IM or SC? Which route should I use to give myself the B12 shot?"
The most common form of B12 injection is Cyanocobalamin and both intramuscular (IM) and subcutaneous (SC or SQ) are the recommended route. In order to determine which route of injection is should be used, it is crucial to follow specific guidelines. If you have a low pain tolerance level, SC route will be preferred, as IM is generally more painful and therefore can cause a bit more discomfort. For overweight or those with low muscle mass, the SC route is preferred as muscle is below our subcutaneous fat layer, whereas those with more muscles and less subcutaneous fat the IM route is preferred.
What needle size should I use?
For intramuscular (IM) injection, longer needles with sizes of 1 inch or 5/8 inch long are commonly used. As muscle is under the fat layer in our body, longer needle is needed to get to the site of administration. For subcutaneous (SC or SQ) injection, shorter needles ½ inch long can be used.
No matter which way you choose to inject B12, proper hygienic technique needs to be ensured to minimize the potential of infection. Don’t forget to sanitize the vial and the area of injection before and after the shot using alcohol swabs and do not reuse needles.
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