Something that I live for doing, perhaps a little bit too enthusiastically, is trying out new health trends. For as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with trying new supplements, going to crazy workout classes, and putting my body through all sorts of challenges in the pursuit of wellness. It’s part adventure, and part of a deeper quest to continue learning about how I can find the healthiest version of myself. Maybe one day before I’ve chugged my morning matcha I’ll regale you with my adventures in questionable cleanses.
Today is not that day.
Part of my endless adventures down the wellness rabbit hole are partly due to the fact that I am always tired.
I am endlessly tired. I am a born and raised PNW-er and therefore have caffeine coursing through my veins at all hours of the day, but lately I’ve been plagued by a dull feeling of not ever having fully woken up. I’ve changed up my diet, I’ve tried morning workouts, I’ve tried meditating before bed, I’ve bought supplements, you get the idea. I don’t have much room in my schedule for more sleep. If only we could bring back naps!
My seemingly chronic fatigue was on my mind - my not fully awake mind - one morning after spin class when I saw a sign. A literal cardboard sign. It was boasting B12 shots by a company called Voda Health. I already knew that B12 was supposed to be good for stamina. I mean, who hasn’t pounded a 5 Hour Energy before a night out or in the middle of a crazy work day? A vitamin B shot seemed...almost too good to be true. Actually, completely too good to be true. I was intrigued but decided it wasn’t worth it and schlepped my sweaty body off to my home office, cursing myself for not setting my espresso machine before leaving.
Here’s the thing though, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This went on for weeks.
I was so fascinated by the idea of the B12 shots that I couldn’t help myself, I reached out to Voda Health myself and asked a few questions. It turns out that Voda is run by Ayla Hopkins, a delightful naturopath with a passion for women’s health. She also had so much helpful information about B vitamins and how they help our bodies.
“The most common things that people feel after having a B12 shot are better energy, better mood, and often times people notice improved mental clarity," said Dr. Hopkins. "Their brain fog starts to lift and they can focus.”
She even said after the shots that a lot of people find they can sleep better.
"Fatigue is such a problem that almost everybody deals with at some point for a variety of reasons," she said. "But for something to give you more energy during the day and to help you sleep better at night I think is truly awesome.”
Dr. Hopkins patiently listened and answered my encyclopedia's worth of questions (and with a smile! What a gal). So, I took the leap. I have never chosen to get a shot just for the hell of it, but if it was as good as she claimed, why not? She pricked my arm, covered me with a bandaid, gave me one of the best hugs of my life, and sent me on my merry way. Since our visit was in the afternoon, she instructed me to check in with how my body felt in the morning.
When I woke up, despite getting my normal amount of sleep, I felt like I had just woken up from a 12 hour snooze-fest in a bed of soft flower petals. I felt positively awake and refreshed. I immediately told myself it was the placebo effect and went about my day. I got dressed, went to a few meetings, and somehow managed to completely skip over my afternoon slump. You know that time around 2:30 p.m. when you feel like you could absolutely pass out on your desk and nothing will ever make you feel awake again? It didn’t happen. I somehow managed to completely forget to have any coffee that day at all.
When is the last time that you just forgot about coffee? Do I even live in the Northwest anymore? Who am I becoming?
You’re probably wondering why having somebody stab vitamins into your arm is more effective than, say, some delicious gummy vitamins. I wondered that too.
“So a few of the studies I read said that we are maybe absorbing about 40 percent of our supplement," Dr. Hopkins said. "Which isn’t all that much - especially how much we spend on supplements, especially if you use them daily. The shots usually last quite a bit longer.”
For the next six days or so the same feelings persisted. While I did end up drinking coffee, more for the ritual than anything else, my energy levels through the week were incredible. My workouts didn’t change drastically, but I noticed that my body felt like it was able to push just a little bit longer than I was used to. While my brain fog didn’t 100 percent go away, I did find myself feeling way more focused for longer periods of time, and not getting distracted by cute pictures of doggos on the internet quite as frequently.
At night I really slept. It was a sound sleep, almost like I was a zombie, and I woke up way less frequently to random city sounds.
I’ve tried so many things in the pursuit of exploring what wellness means, many of them super embarrassing. Some of them are great and a lot of them - I would never try again. My verdict? I will absolutely get a B12 shot again. It was a quick appointment, I felt amazing for days, and given the cost over how long the benefits lasted it feels 120 percent worth it.
Dr. Hopkins has a ton of different types of B12 shots you can get, ranging from $30-$45. It's likely almost as much as you spend going out for coffee each week, and your body will feel SO much better. My next mission is to try every single one and then decide which one my body likes the most. This is going to be a much more fun adventure than the time I did a colon cleanse for 20 days. Never again.
Voda Health travels all around the Seattle area, you can find her schedule here. While naps are my forever one true love, B12 shots are a preeeetty good runner up.