University of Maryland Medical Center notes that there are 300,000 weight-related deaths annually in the United States. Having excess weight in the stomach region can lead to many serious health complications that can result in you becoming one of those 300,000. With obesity reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S., it is not surprising that some people look to quick-fix treatments to reduce their excess weight. One such treatment propagated by weight -loss clinics is the vitamin B shot.
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Dr. Michael Jensen of the Mayo Clinic notes that gaining weight in the stomach area can lead to more health risks than fat in other areas. Chances of developing heart disease, cancer or strokes are all increased. Age and genetics can play a role for increased belly fat levels, but more than anything it is lifestyle choices--poor diet and inactivity--that are the prime culprits.
Vitamin B-12 is the B vitamin, of eight, that is most commonly associated with weight loss and provided by clinics as shots. B-12 is an essential part of the body's metabolic process. It helps convert food into energy and metabolize fats and proteins, notes University of Maryland Medical Center. B-12 cannot be stored in the body and must be replenished frequently via foods or supplements. It can be found in high concentrations in meats, fish, eggs and dairy.
Katherine Zeratsky, a dietitian at the Mayo Clinic, details the theory behind B-12 shots: They are supposedly meant to quicken your metabolism and also increase your energy levels, resulting in more physical activity and more calories burned. Zeratsky points out that there is no evidence to support B-12 reducing weight or any evidence to suggest that B-12 has an effect on metabolism or energy in a person who is not already deficient.
Vitamin B-12 can also be supplemented in pill form. These pills can be found in most health food stores and are often advertised as weight-reducing. The Office of Dietary Supplements points out that absorption rates are a problem with B-12 pills. Only 56 percent of a 1-mcg pill can be absorbed due to the availability of intrinsic factor. This is binding of B-12 in the stomach with available glycoproteins. So a pill's advertised potency is deceptive.
MayoClinic.com notes that supplementing with B-12 can interfere with other medications but otherwise will cause no harm. B-12 deficiency is rare and is generally found in the elderly or people with vegan diets or eating disorders.
MayoClinic.com recommends daily physical exercise and a balanced healthy diet as the cornerstones to weight loss.
Consult your family doctor before supplementing with B-12 in any form.