Vitamin B12 has long been hailed as an energy panacea. It’s marketed as a cheap and effective cure for long-term fatigue, while also being better than a shot of caffeine for a quick energy boost. But can B12 possibly live up to the hype?
Along with the other B-vitamins, B12 is essential for various bodily processes, including its metabolic functions. In this sense, B12 really does help to create energy! So it’s pretty easy to make the leap to presuming that a quick shot of B12 is all it will take for you to be focused, alert and raring to go.
The problem with the idea of B12 as an energy provider is that there’s simply no evidence for it. Yes, vitamin B12 is necessary for your body’s health and long-term wellbeing, and without it you may well start to suffer from fatigue. But there’s no science that suggests it could ever be useful as a quick pick-me-up at the end of a long day. Sadly, it’s nothing more than marketing hype.
Even if that weren’t the case, there would still be another major stumbling block. B12 isn’t effective on its own. To do anything useful, it has to interact with lots of other nutrients and chemicals inside your body. So even if B12 could be used as an instant energy boost, you’d probably need to be taking quite a few other substances to really make it work.
But as it’s all just marketing hype anyway, it doesn’t really matter.
Lack Of Energy Due To B12 Deficiency
If you’re ever unfortunate enough to suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency, one of the symptoms you are most likely to experience is fatigue. Lethargy and loss of energy are common problems among the B12-deficient, and the illness is commonly misdiagnosed.
Far more people suffer from B12 deficiency than you would expect, and there is a real and persistent problem with doctors and other healthcare professionals not knowing the symptoms. If you have B12 deficiency – whether you’ve been properly diagnosed or not – then taking B12 supplements will help.
It’s not an overnight process (it could take weeks or months), but supplementing your B12 intake should cure you of lethargy, fatigue and low energy levels if you didn’t have enough of the vitamin to start with.
Other Causes Of Low Energy
There are a huge number of possible causes for fatigue. Some of the most common are:
- Sleep apnea
- Glandular fever
- Celiac disease
- Poor diet
- Lack of sleep
- Underactive thyroid
- Lack of exercise
If your low energy levels are caused by any of these illnesses (or any of the huge number of others that aren’t listed here), then taking more B12 isn’t going to solve the problem.
The exception is if you have fatigue caused by anemia, which may in turn be caused by a lack of B12.
With all these different possible causes, you should see your doctor to be sure that your symptoms aren’t a sign of a more serious problem. Self-medicating with vitamin B12 won’t help unless you have low B12 levels already, and waiting for the supplements to do something could waste time – time that would be better spent getting properly diagnosed.
B12 supplements won’t give you an instant energy boost and they won’t give you more energy if your problem has nothing to do with the vitamin. B12 supplements are not a jack of all trades – they are a master of one. They’re not miracle pills, but they can certainly cure you of vitamin B12 deficiency and the low energy that comes with it.
To see the vitamin B12 supplements that we recommend, please take a quick look at our Recommended B12 Supplements page.
From top to bottom, images are courtesy of Vlado, photostock, David Castillo Dominici, and Sura Nualpradid, all at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.