You’ve heard some doctors at weight loss clinics are prescribing vitamin B-12 shots and supplements, but aren’t sure if you need them? The natural response is to consider trying vitamin B-12 shots or supplements, just to see if they will indeed help you lose weight.We need vitamin B-12 for red blood cell production, a healthy nervous system, and to prevent anemia. You also need vitamin B-12 for the manufacturing of DNA. Many weight loss clinics are prescribing B-12 shots, but most doctors do not believe this improves weight loss efforts. You probably aren’t B-12 deficient (a simple blood test can let you know if you are) and your body is going to store all the extra B-12 until you need it at a future date. While a vitamin B-12 shot may help you if you are truly anemic or deficient (which can be determined by a blood test), it will not improve your metabolism or make your more energetic if you are already getting enough vitamin B-12. Consult a licensed physician before you get on a B-12 shot or supplement regimen, especially if you already take medications–sometimes vitamin B-12 can reduce the effectiveness of certain prescription drugs. You can get vitamin B-12 naturally by eating animal products. Most Americans get plenty of vitamin B-12 in their diet simply by eating milk, eggs, meat, shellfish, and fortified products. Vegans—people who do not eat any animals products at all—are particularly susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency. If you are vegan, you’ll want to eat fortified cereals so you get enough B-12 in your diet. If you get between 2.6-2.8 micrograms of vitamin B-12 a day, you’re probably getting enough. You can get this much in a simple bowl of fortified cereal with a cup of milk. Most people who show up with a B-12 deficiency have a problem using the B-12 they’ve consumed, not because they didn’t eat or take enough. Your intestines may not be absorbing B-12 or your body might not be releasing B-12 that you’ve absorbed and stored. It’s uncommon to find B-12 deficiencies in Americans because of our typical diets (high in animal products) and because our bodies can store B-12 for years.