Make more and work less! Join 10,000+ licensed medical professionals in growing your skills in Aesthetic Medicine, Medical Weight Management and Business with the IAPAM!

Vitamins B6 and B12 for Weight Loss

It is a well-known fact in the medical world that vitamins are essential for normal body function. 

There are a variety of vitamins in our food with some vitamins being synthesized in our skin upon exposure to sunlight. 

B vitamins, in particular, are important in a number of metabolic processes that occur within our body. 

Vitamin B

More recently, however, there has been interest in vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 in particular, as they are now considered to play an important role in weight loss. 

We are going to cover off Vitamins B6 and B12 for Weight Loss in this article. 

Healthcare professionals need to take the proper training and learn how to set up a weight loss practice.

Vitamin B12​

Vitamin B12 is also called cobalamine as it contains the element cobalt within its structure. 

It is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential in maintaining the function of a number of different organ systems in the body, particularly the brain and nervous system. 

In addition to this, it is essential for the synthesis of hemoglobin and patients who are deficient in vitamin B12 can be anemic.

Vitamin B12 also helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells and also is needed to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. 

Vitamin B12 is bound to the protein in food. Hydrochloric acid in the stomach releases B12 from protein during digestion. 

Once released, B12 combines with a substance called intrinsic factor (IF) before it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Vitamin B12 is available in a number of animal foods. 

The deficiency of vitamin B12 is seen in people who consume a strict vegetarian diet. Patients who are deficient in vitamin B12 tend to suffer from tiredness and lethargy. 

In such a situation, patients may be administered vitamin B12 injections which can help them recover from this tiredness and regain the normal energy levels.

All of these B vitamins help the body in converting carbohydrates into glucose or sugar, which is burned in order to produce energy for proper body function. 

These are often referred to as B complex vitamins and are essential for the breakdown of fats and proteins. 

They help maintain muscle tone, protect the mucous lining in the digestive tract and mouth, and promote the upkeep of the nervous system and the organs like the liver, skin, hair, and eyes. 

Cobalamine is an excellent anti-stress vitamin since it is believed to enhance the healthy functioning of the immune system and improve the body’s ability to fight stressful conditions.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97 percent to 98 percent) healthy individuals in each life-stage and gender group. 

The 1998 RDAs for vitamin B12 (in micrograms) for adults are 2.4 µ g and the results of two national surveys, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III-1988-91) and the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII 1994-96) found that most adult men and women consume recommended amounts of vitamin B12.

Get Certified in Medical Weight Management

On-demand training with the IAPAM Learning Lab is the easiest way to start your medically-supervised weight loss program so you can start helping your patients today!

IAPAM Learning Lab Logo

Vitamin B12 as a Weight-Loss Drug​

There has been a fair bit of discussion regarding vitamin B12 being effective as a weight-loss supplement. 

However, there does not appear to be any strong evidence from scientific studies that confirms this. In fact, low vitamin B12 levels can cause weight loss by itself and supplementing the patient with vitamin B12 should help patients regain their lost bodyweight. 

On the other hand, however, vitamin B12 is required to break down carbohydrates ingested in the diet into usable sugars. Whether or not this will actually aid weight loss is questionable.

It has to be borne in mind that taking vitamin supplements over and above what the body requires can actually be harmful. 

While no significant harm has been shown by excessive intake vitamin B12 through food, artificially supplementing it through injections may be harmful. 

In simple terms this could be explained by the fact that the body will only absorb what is required from the diet and not anything over and above that.

Relationship Between Vitamin B12 and Heart Disease

A deficiency of vitamin B12, folate or vitamin B6 may increase your blood level of homocysteine, an amino acid normally found in your blood. 

There is evidence that an elevated blood level of homocysteine is an independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke. 

The evidence suggests that high levels of homocysteine may damage coronary arteries or make it easier for blood-clotting cells called platelets to clump together and form a clot. 

However, there is currently no evidence available to suggest that lowering homocysteine level with vitamins will actually reduce your risk of heart disease. 

Clinical intervention trials are needed to determine whether supplementation with vitamin B12, folic acid or vitamin B6 can help protect against developing coronary heart disease.

B12 Concerns

Vitamin B12 has a very low potential for toxicity. 

The Institute of Medicine states “no adverse effects have been associated with excess vitamin B12 intake from food and supplements in healthy individuals.” 

The Institute recommends that adults older than 50 years of age get most of their vitamin B12 from supplements or fortified food because of the high incidence of impaired absorption of B12 from unfortified foods in this population.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine and like vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. It occurs in a variety of forms most of which are active within the body. 

Vitamin B6 is essential for the breakdown and use of protein molecules (amino acids) and also in the synthesis of glucose within the body. It also helps break down fats as well.

It also is essential for red blood cell metabolism. 

The nervous and immune systems need vitamin B6 to function efficiently, and it also is needed for the conversion of tryptophan (an amino acid) to niacin (a vitamin).

Hemoglobin within red blood cells carries oxygen to tissues. 

Your body needs vitamin B6 to make hemoglobin. Vitamin B6 also helps increase the amount of oxygen carried by hemoglobin. 

A vitamin B6 deficiency can result in a form of anemia that is similar to iron deficiency anemia.

An immune response is a broad term that describes a variety of biochemical changes that occur in an effort to fight off infections. 

Calories, protein, vitamins and minerals are important to your immune defenses because they promote the growth of white blood cells that directly fight infections. 

Vitamin B6, through its involvement in protein metabolism and cellular growth, is important to the immune system. 

It helps maintain the health of lymphoid organs (thymus, spleen and lymph nodes) that make your white blood cells. 

Animal studies show that vitamin B6 deficiency can decrease your antibody production and suppress your immune response.

Vitamin B6 also helps maintain your blood glucose (sugar) within a normal range. 

When caloric intake is low, your body needs vitamin B6 to help convert stored carbohydrate or other nutrients to glucose to maintain normal blood sugar levels. 

While a shortage of vitamin B6 will limit these functions, supplements of this vitamin do not enhance them in well-nourished individuals.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97 percent to 98 percent) healthy individuals in each life-stage and gender group.

The 1998 RDAs for vitamin B6 for adults, in milligrams, are 1.3 mg for men and women ages 9-50 and 1.7 mg and 1.5 mg for men and women over the age of 51, respectively.

Vitamin B6 is also available in a variety of foods such as whole grain, nuts, vegetables and meat. Low consumption of vitamin B6 and consequently low levels in the blood can cause skin disease and inflammation of the tongue and cheeks.

Clinical signs of vitamin B6 deficiency are rarely seen in the United States. 

Many older Americans, however, have low blood levels of vitamin B6, which may suggest a marginal or sub-optimal vitamin B6 nutritional status. 

Vitamin B6 deficiency can occur in individuals with poor-quality diets that are deficient in many nutrients. 

Symptoms occur during later stages of deficiency, when intake has been very low for an extended time. 

Signs of vitamin B6 deficiency include dermatitis (skin inflammation), glossitis (a sore tongue), depression, confusion and convulsions. 

Vitamin B6 deficiency also can cause anemia. Some of these symptoms also can result from a variety of medical conditions other than vitamin B6 deficiency. 

It is important to have a physician evaluate these symptoms so that appropriate medical care can be given.

In-Person Training

Get trained in medical weight management from industry professionals at the Aesthetic Medicine Symposium.

IAPAM Learning Lab Logo

B6 as a Weight Loss Drug

As is the case with vitamin B12, there does not appear to be any strong evidence supporting the role of vitamin B6 in weight loss

However, if one were to look at the functions of vitamin B6, it is evident that it is required to break down food and burn excess fat by stimulating the metabolism of lipids.

The Relationship Between B6 and Heart Disease

A deficiency of vitamin B6, folic acid or vitamin B12 may increase your level of homocysteine, an amino acid normally found in your blood [28]. 

There is evidence that an elevated homocysteine level is an independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke. 

The evidence suggests that high levels of homocysteine may damage coronary arteries or make it easier for blood clotting cells called platelets to clump together and form a clot. 

However, there is currently no evidence available to suggest that lowering homocysteine level with vitamins will reduce your risk of heart disease. 

Clinical intervention trials are needed to determine whether supplementation with vitamin B6, folic acid or vitamin B12 can help protect you against developing coronary heart disease.

Concerns and Other Issues Associated with B6

Too much vitamin B6 can result in nerve damage to the arms and legs. 

This neuropathy is usually related to high intake of vitamin B6 from supplements and is reversible when supplementation is stopped. 

According to the Institute of Medicine, “Several reports show sensory neuropathy at doses lower than 500 mg per day”. 

As previously mentioned, the Food and Nutrition Board of the IOM has established an Upper Tolerable Intake Level (UL) for vitamin B6 of 100 mg per day for all adults. 

“As intake increases above the UL, the risk of adverse effects increases.”

Vitamin B6 is needed for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are required for normal nerve cell communication. 

Researchers have been investigating the relationship between vitamin B6 status and a wide variety of neurologic conditions, such as seizures, chronic pain, depression, headache and Parkinson’s disease.

Lower levels of serotonin have been found in individuals suffering from depression and migraine headaches. 

So far, however, vitamin B6 supplements have not proved effective for relieving these symptoms. One study found that a sugar pill was just as likely as vitamin B6 to relieve headaches and depression associated with low dose oral contraceptives.

Alcohol abuse can result in neuropathy, abnormal nerve sensations in the arms and legs. A poor dietary intake contributes to this neuropathy and dietary supplements that include vitamin B6 may prevent or decrease its incidence.

There are many drugs that interfere with the metabolism of vitamin B6. Isoniazid, which is used to treat tuberculosis, and L-DOPA, which is used to treat a variety of neurologic problems such as Parkinson’s disease, alter the activity of vitamin B6. 

There is disagreement about the need for routine vitamin B6 supplementation when taking isoniazid. 

Acute isoniazid toxicity can result in coma and seizures that are reversed by vitamin B6, but in a group of children receiving isoniazid, no cases of neurological or neuropsychiatric problems were observed regardless of whether or not they took a vitamin B6 supplement. 

Some doctors recommend taking a supplement that provides 100 percent of the RDA for B6, which is usually enough to prevent symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency when isoniazid is prescribed. 

It is important to consult with a physician about the need for a vitamin B6 supplement when taking isoniazid.

Other Injections Used for Weight Loss: Vitamin B6 and B12 should not be confused with MIC weight loss injections. They are completely different and are also only available by prescription only.

Vitamin B6 & B12 For Weight Loss - Final Thoughts

Vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are essential for normal body functioning. 

However, their role in weight loss is not backed by any strong evidence. 

Diet and exercise remain the best ways to lose weight and should be observed more strictly.

Recommended

Woman patient getting arm injection from male doctor

MIC ("Fat Burning") Injections

MIC is an acronym for the compounds: L-Methionine, Inositol and Choline. They will help breakdown fat during metabolism in the body. Learn more about them in this article.

Cold woman by a frozen river

The Cold Hard Truth about CoolSculpting®

CoolScultping® is a procedure that absolutely works, but there are many other factors to consider before you invest in bringing this into your practice. Read on to know what factors you should consider.

Male patient getting tummy measured with measuring tape

Dr. Emma Diet Review

It seems like every other month, there's a new "celebrity" saying they had "improved" upon a diet that already works. Usually, they have increased the caloric intake or added supplements that they sell. Read on for our review of Dr. Emma's improvements.

start a succesful medical weight loss practice

Medical Weight Loss Ebook Cover

Learn how to choose your program, what you should charge, how to attract patients and more!