Why am I being told I can’t have my regular B12 injection but others who attend different GP’s can have theirs?
IMPORTANT:- This is an interim arrangement due to COVID-19 by some GPs and you should return to your having your regular vitamin B12 injections as soon as possible.
In the meantime the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society/British Dietetic Association and Royal College of GPs have worked together to produce advice specifically about vitamin B12 injections for people who have had bariatric surgery, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This can be found by clicking on this link: B12 Advice.
It includes guidance on appropriate doses of oral vitamin B12 if injections are not possible, while recommending that people should return to injections as soon as possible.
We would suggest that you to share this guidance with your GP at your next appointment if you are having difficulty with getting your vitamin B12 supplements during the pandemic.
Will vitamins and supplements help?
At the moment there is no strong evidence for any particular vitamin or supplement that might help. We would advise a generally healthy diet (link back to food and diet section here), but people with vitamin D deficiency or who have had bariatric surgery should continue with their current supplements. There is some guidance on vitamin D supplements (see the next question).
Should I be taking vitamin D supplements to protect me from Covid-19?
- Vitamin D is important to keep bones, teeth and the immune system (the body’s defence against infections) healthy.
- Most of our vitamin D is made in the body by the action of sunlight on the skin, and in countries like the UK, the amount of sunlight in autumn and winter months can be too low to keep vitamin D levels up. Some foods (like egg yolks, margarine, some breakfast cereals, oily fish) also contain vitamin D but not enough to meet our needs without making it in the body through sunlight on the skin.
- During COVID 19, there has been much interest in whether vitamin D can help protect against infection or reduce the severity in those who already infected.
- The current advice is to include vitamin D containing foods within a healthy balanced diet, to safely expose your skin to sunlight daily and if this is not possible or for those at high risk (including those with obesity) to take a daily supplement of 400IU daily, to remain active and try to maintain a healthy weight, and to follow national guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19.
- A high dose should not be taken without medical advice and supervision. This is because vitamin D is stored in fat tissues in the body and too much accumulating over time can be harmful. Therefore we would advise you to discuss with your GP who can test your level if appropriate as well as advise on the dose to take.
- General advice on Vitamin D and COVID 19 is available on the British Dietetic Association website. LINK: BDA (2020) COVID-19 / Coronavirus – Advice for the General Public.