Health Weather

Is there a right time to cut back on B12?

Written by Louise

This morning, I decided – somewhat randomly – to reduce the frequency of my B12 injections from daily to every other day. I’ve been on daily injections for just over 5 months now, and I’ve been thinking about cutting back since the end of May, but it’s never seemed like the right time. Today, I decided to just do it.

Working out how much B12 you need is always difficult, mainly because everyone’s body is different, so requirements vary from one person to the next. I don’t know about Spain, but the US (which also prescribes cyano, the type of B12 I use) generally operates a system of daily ‘loading’ doses for one or two weeks – I can never remember which! – and then monthly ‘maintenance’ injections. The reality is that, while some people do fine on this, it isn’t enough for most people, and they either end up in a huge battle with doctors and insurance companies, or buying their own B12 from Canada (where it’s sold over the counter like in Spain) and injecting themselves.

So, I knew it wouldn’t be as simple as just following some protocol and hoping for the best, and the changes in how I’ve felt since starting the daily injections have been so dramatic that the thought of cutting back – of effectively experimenting on myself – was very daunting.

Blood replaces itself in 4 months, so my borderline macrocytic anaemia must have corrected itself by now. That isn’t a problem. It’s the other changes that have affected me most. Here’s a list of just some of the things that have improved since being on B12 injections:

  1. Energy – I have more of it!
  2. Balance – I can walk along the side of the swimming pool without constantly feeling like I’m going to fall in.
  3. Double vision – the washing line is still a bit blurred when I come to hang the washing out, but at least there’s only one of it!
  4. Blurred vision – one eye is loads better; the other is still quite bad, but improving.
  5. Concentration – the ‘brain fog’ cleared quite quickly, and I’ve been able to think straight for quite a while now.
  6. Migraines – I haven’t had one since starting injections.
  7. Immune system – I still catch things when I spend time with someone who has a virus, but they don’t affect me nearly as badly as they did.
  8. Asthma – I’ve cut down my asthma medication significantly, and my asthma has improved at the same time.
  9. Allergies – I haven’t taken Piriton for a long time, although I’m still taking cetirizine daily.

And that’s an incomplete list.

The one that interests me most is my asthma, especially alongside my strengthened immune system. Since asthma is an inappropriate immune response, and asthma medication suppresses the immune system, having a stronger immune system and seeing an improvement in my asthma at the same time seems contradictory, but that is exactly what’s happened. Of course, the improvements in my immune system could be put down to cutting down the asthma medication … except that my immune system became noticeably stronger within just a few weeks of starting B12 injections, and cutting down the medication was a much slower process.

I’m still cutting down my medication, and that’s one of the reasons why I hesitated to change from daily B12 injections to every other day. I don’t for one moment think B12 is going to cure my asthma – I’ve been asthmatic too long, and my lungs are too damaged, for that – but I do want to see how far this improvement will go.

On the other hand, I have less than 40 ampoules of B12 ‘in stock’, and it’s summer now. B12 is supposed to be stored at below 25C, so a few days in transit from Germany in temperatures of 30C+ probably won’t be good for it. By cutting back now, I won’t need to order more until late September, when the temperatures should have dropped.

Of course, the day I chose to skip an injection is the same day that the weather’s chosen to be overcast and muggy, so I can’t judge the effect of the missed injection by how I feel. I’m feeling bleugh (which is a proper medical term, obviously), but that could just as easily be caused by the weather as by my body missing its daily dose of B12. Even healthy people tend to feel fuzzy-headed, and suffer with headaches, when humidity is high.

I’ll persevere with it for now, but I’m ready to go back on daily injections at any time if my health starts to deteriorate. I’ve come too far to start slipping backwards now.

(Photo: She looks like she’s got loads of energy, which is pretty much how I feel most of the time now.)

About the author


Animal lover, asexual, blogger, cyclist, daughter, dreamer, entrepreneur, expat, optimist, procrastinator, reader, realist, rescuer, runner, sister, writer ... Hate labels? Me too. Just read my blog.

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