Health

The failed alternate day B12 experiment

Written by Louise

Yes, it took me precisely one missed day to realise my experiment was a failure.

As I explained in this post, I decided to skip my B12 injection on Thursday as the first step in a trial of changing from daily injections to alternate day injections. I felt quite lethargic and fuzzy-headed on Thursday afternoon, but that could easily have been due to the weather being hot and humid (which is guaranteed to make me tired, even when I’m feeling well), so I didn’t rush to any conclusions.

By yesterday (Friday) morning, I was struggling so much that I could barely drag myself out of bed. In fact, I’m not sure I would even have woken up (at last not before afternoon) if the dogs and cats hadn’t started jumping all over me in their enthusiasm for breakfast. I managed to get up and staggered around for a while, trying to remember what I was supposed to be doing, before I realised why I was feeling so crap, and got my B12 out of the fridge to warm up. (B12 for injection needs to be stored below 25C, so it has to live in the fridge at this time of year, and be allowed to warm to room temperature before it’s injected.)

I warmed it by wrapping my hand around it and breathing on it, rather than by leaving it in the ‘injection supplies drawer’, because I wanted it quickly (some women warm it by tucking the ampoule in their bra, but I don’t tend to wear a bra when I’m at home alone). Then I did the injection in a spot on my left leg that I know is very unlikely to bleed when I remove the needle. I was feeling way too rough to deal with blood!

Unfortunately, since I do my injections subcutaneously (into the fat layer just below the skin) rather than intramuscular (into the muscle), the B12 is absorbed rather slowly. I figure it’s probably a good thing when you’re doing injections at the correct interval because B12 that’s absorbed slowly is likely to maintain a steady level throughout the day. But when I was already feeling crap, I wanted it in my system as fast as possible.

It took until mid-afternoon for me to realise I was feeling significantly better, and by evening, I was back to my normal self.

This morning, I did consider whether to try skipping another injection … “Maybe it was just a coincidence – you’ll never know unless you try it again” … but I think I’d rather not know. My daily injections cost me less than a euro a day as it is, so I don’t think continuing with them is going to break the bank.

I have tried cutting down my folic acid from 10mg daily to 5mg daily, though. I increased to 10mg daily shortly after I started injections when I was getting a return of angular cheilitis (splits at the corners of my mouth), but that was a few months ago now, so it’s worth a test to see if I can manage on less. Like B12, folic acid isn’t toxic, and anything your body doesn’t need is passed in the urine, but it makes sense to not take more than is necessary.

So, I’ll be continuing with daily injections for the foreseeable future. My experiment has told me that cutting back isn’t a good idea.

(Photo: New batteries – exactly what I needed yesterday!)

About the author

Louise

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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