Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin found in fish, dairy products, and fortified foods like cereal. But not everyone gets enough vitamin B12. That’s why vitamin B12 shots are often considered a versatile wellness tool. Their most important use is to resolve vitamin B12 deficiency, a condition that causes the body to produce an insufficient amount of red blood cells.
They’re also very useful to improve energy levels and enhance your workouts when you’re looking to get in shape, and some people use these shots to help boost their immune system.
If you think you may have low vitamin B12 levels, and believe you could benefit from B12 shots, here’s what you need to know. There are different methods of delivery, and each one comes at a different price point.
Does Insurance Cover B12 Shots?
Insurance coverage can be tricky to figure out. In some cases, insurance will cover all or part of your vitamin B12 injections. It all depends on whether or not your reason for getting B12 shots is considered “medically necessary.” After all, chronically low B12 levels can lead to neurological issues and other health problems.
If your B12 shots are being used to treat an illness, like Crohn’s disease, you’re probably covered, though you can always call the Customer Support phone number on the back of your insurance card to speak to an agent and confirm coverage.
B12 Shots for Anemia
There are several types of anemia that relate to a vitamin B12 deficiency. If the body has a difficult time absorbing B12 through the intestines, it won’t get enough B12 to work properly. This can lead to issues with the body producing insufficient red blood cells.
When the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells, it can’t move enough oxygen around to keep all of your organs healthy.
People with conditions like pernicious anemia or other types of B12-deficiency anemia often live with debilitating side effects like frequently feeling tired and weak.
By using B12 injections, the vitamin is able to bypass the digestive system. This means that the B12 in a shot can be used right away, helping the body resolve the deficiency, bump up low levels of B12, and thus, resolve symptoms.
Insurance usually covers vitamin B12 shots for people with chronic B12 deficiencies. If they can’t maintain B12 levels through their diet, B12 injections are considered a medical necessity for people with anemia.
B12 Shots for Energy or Weight Loss
Vitamin B12 supports your metabolism, improves mental focus, and promotes better energy production. If you’re looking for a little boost to get you through the day, or if you’re interested in putting a little more natural power behind your workouts, vitamin B12 can help your body work the way you need it to.
Unfortunately, insurance won’t cover vitamin B12 shots for this purpose. If your body is able to absorb vitamin B12 from food, your insurance won’t deem the shots necessary, even if you are overweight or obese and B12 could help fuel the exercise needed for you to return to a healthy weight range. .
Even though your body can absorb vitamin B12 through your intestines, vitamin B12 shots work differently. Shots are able to bypass your digestive system and get to work right away. Many people find that shots work much better than vitamin B12 supplements, energy drinks, or pre-workout drinks.
If you want that extra boost, you’re probably going to have to pay out of pocket. Many people with health and wellness goals find that it’s worth the cost to get vitamin B12 shots.
How Much Do B12 Shots Cost?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that your body will use what it needs then purge the rest using your body’s waste disposal system. In order to continue to experience the benefits of vitamin B12, you’ll need to use it regularly.
People with absorption issues or anemia need to use vitamin B12 daily to help maintain their health.
People who use vitamin B12 to boost workouts will generally only need to use it several times a week.
The cost of B12 shots can vary significantly, not only depending on how often you need them and what your goals are, but also the form of vitamin B12 shots, such as cyanocobalamin or methylcobalamin, both forms of B12.
Because there are several ways to get and use vitamin B12 shots, the method you choose will generally determine the cost.
B12 Shots Administered by a Doctor
If you go to a healthcare provider for B12 shots, you’ll generally need to go daily or several times a week. Every time you go, you’ll need to pay for the shots and your doctor’s time. This can add up quickly.
Shots administered by a doctor can cost more than $200 a piece. If you get them every day, that means you’ll be spending $1,400 a week, or $72,800 a year, on B12 shots.
Doctor-administered B12 shots are the least cost-effective method of vitamin therapy.
If your insurance isn’t covering the costs or if you don’t want to travel back and forth to the doctor every day, there are other methods you can explore.
B12 IVs at a Wellness Clinic
Many wellness clinics offer vitamin therapy, which is also called nutraceutical therapy. Nutraceutical therapy is similar to hormone therapy in that they’re both designed to promote optimal body function. Their difference is in the way they achieve that goal.
IV (intravenous) vitamin therapy is designed to help you meet your wellness goals by using large amounts of vitamins and nutrients that offer benefits beyond their normal nutritional value. Vitamin B12 is a popular addition to nutraceutical vitamin cocktails.
People don’t usually get IV vitamin infusions every day. They’ll sometimes go to their local wellness clinic during periods of intense athletic training or when they’re recovering from periods of increased strain on their body.
Some people choose to use IV vitamin infusion when they’re doing a “detox” or “cleanse” and are looking to make positive lifestyle changes. Although these diets don’t actually detoxify your body, they do give you ample time to focus on your health and meet your body’s needs.
An IV vitamin drip can cost as much as $500. Wellness clinics sometimes bundle services, including the drip, as part of a larger wellness package.
A doctor can prescribe you vitamin B12 shots and at-home injection supplies. You’ll pay for your consultation with the doctor, the supplies you need, and a vial of B12. An entire bottle of vitamin B12 is good for multiple doses and can cost between $150 and $250, depending on the type of B12 and the size of the vial.
This makes at-home injections the most cost-efficient option. You get an entire vial for the same price you’d pay for one doctor-administered injection. If you intend to use B12 regularly, at-home injections are a worthy consideration.
Is It Safe To Inject Vitamin B12 at Home?
It’s important to choose a reputable provider if you choose to administer B12 shots at home. Never buy B12 online without a prescription, especially if it’s shipped from outside of the country. You don’t know exactly what’s in the vial or whether it’s safe to use. You also may receive expired B12 and be none the wiser.
As long as you thoroughly check the credentials of your provider, receive an actual medical consultation from a real doctor, and diligently follow the instructions you’ve received, it’s generally very safe — and common — to inject vitamin B12 at home.
Choose a care provider that makes themselves or even supportive staff available for questions and check-ins as often as you need them. If you’re ever unsure about what you’re doing and you want to speak to your care provider about your progress, it’s important to have access to the answers you need in a timely manner.
How To Get Started with B12 Injections
Elite HRT is a team of experienced hormone replacement and nutraceutical therapy doctors. As a telemedicine patient, you’ll receive the medical advice you need to support optimal health without the hassle, cost, or inconvenience of repeat in-clinic visits.
We’ll review your medical records, set up testing appointments in your area if necessary, and work with you to create a tailored treatment plan to help you reach your wellness goals.
Contact us today to find out if vitamin B12 shots are the right choice for you.
Anemia – Symptoms and Causes | Mayo Clinic
Biochemistry, Water-Soluble Vitamins | NCBI Bookshelf