Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Behind the fetish of vitamin B12 shots


From the 3 February 2013 post at

The treatment of B12 deficiency, as has been established from studies done in the 1960s, is ORAL B12. That’s right. Pills. Injections of B12 are not necessary—oral supplements work well, even in pernicious anemia. They’re cheap and they work. I suppose a very rare patient, say one who has surgically lost most of their gut, could require injections. But the vast majority of people with genuine B12 deficiency can get all of the B12 they need through eating foods or swallowing supplements. No needles needed.

So why this fetish with injections? From the patient’s point of view, shots feel more like something important is going on. Placebos need rituals—with acupuncture, for instance, the elaborate ritual creates an illusion of effectiveness. And from the doctor’s point of view, injections reinforce dependence on the physician, creating visits and cash flow.

So: people seem to think they feel better with injections, and the doctor makes a little cash, and everyone’s happy. So what’s the harm in that?

I think it’s wrong to knowingly dispense placebos, even harmless ones. We doctors like to criticize the chiropractors and homeopaths. We point fingers. They’re the quacks. We’d better take a close look at what we’re doing, first. Our placebos are sometimes far more dangerous than theirs.

More importantly, people should be able to expect more from physicians…


Read the entire article here

February 7, 2013 - Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , ,


  1. Sounds like you do not understand pernicious anemia very well. People with PA are unable to absorb oral B12–from supplements or food–due to a lack of intrinsic factor or an autoimmune attack on intrinsic factor. Instrinsic factor is a protein normally made in the lining of the stomach, which binds to B12 and enables the cells to absorb it. People with limited or no intrinsic factor can take mega-doses of B12, yet not absorb it. Injecting B12 directly into the bloodstream gets around that lack of intrinsic factor.

    Maybe do a little research before writing your next opinion piece?

    Comment by Chris | June 3, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you.
      I re-read the article.
      As you know, this was not an opinion piece. The article was not written by me.
      This post was a reblog of an item written by a medical doctor.
      I believe he was writing about the overuse of the shots by the general public. Yes, it would
      have been ideal if he had included a comment about PA & absorption, which is a unique case.
      The comments at the end of his article were interesting. Some agreed with the writer, others did not.

      Did some research, many medical professsionals agree with you when it comes to PA.
      So, thank you for mentioning that.

      Umm..maybe I could be more clear on the purpose of the blog,
      My about page states “This blog presents a sampling of health and medical news and resources for all. Selected articles and resources will hopefully be of general interest but will also encourage ” If this seems to convey that I am writing opinion pieces, please let me know how I can reword this!

      Again, thank you for the comment.
      I wish you continued success with your blog!

      Comment by Janice Flahiff | June 5, 2013 | Reply

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