Q: A few of the top dogs at my gym are injecting B12 once or twice a week. Is that something worth trying?
A: Vitamin B12 is used medically to fight anemia. Anemia is characterized by a decrease in red blood cells and hemoglobin content. That means the ability to carry oxygen to the cells of the body is reduced. Depending on its severity, anemia can cause one or more of the following symptoms: fatigue, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing during physical activity and exercise, dizziness, headache, insomnia, pale skin and mucous membranes. A lack of appetite, an unsettled stomach, irregular heartbeats and heart murmurs may also occur.
Blood tests are used to determine the type of anemia and the cause. The most common cause is iron deficiency. A deficiency of B12 and folic acid can also lead to anemia, as can bleeding due to heavy menstruation, ulcers, bowel disease, such as colitis or Crohn’s, bleeding hemorrhoids, intestinal parasites, defects of the placenta, weakness of the uterus or colon cancer. Inability to absorb iron can be a causal factor. Heavy exercise combined with a low-calorie diet, especially a diet low in animal proteins, can cause anemia as well.
B12 is found only in animal proteins, so vegetarians must be aware of that and take B12 supplements to avoid anemia.
Some argue that the only thing B12 shots do is make your shoulder or butt sore, and European athletes laugh that American athletes have the most expensive urine in the world from all the excessive B12 shots they take. Nonetheless, B12 is absolutely necessary in the prevention of pernicious anemia, a type of anemia that results from lack of a substance called intrinsic factor that’s needed to process vitamin B12 for the formation of red blood cells. Without sufficient B12 the body stops making red blood cells in the bone marrow. The white blood cell count also drops, which affects the body’s ability to fight infection and disease. Extreme weakness, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, fever, paleness, appetite loss and weight loss may occur with pernicious anemia. The common treatment for pernicious anemia is a combination of B12, folic acid and iron supplementation.
The importance of vitamin B12 was discovered in the 1920s by three Harvard medical school professors, George R. Minot, William P. Murphy and William B. Castle. Minot and Murphy found that patients with pernicious anemia perked up dramatically when given B12 injections. Some people don’t have the basic chemical in their stomachs to process B12 from the food they eat. As a result they become B12 deficient, which manifests itself in weakness, fatigue, tiredness and, in extreme cases, death. Minot and Murphy found that some patients who were too weak to get out of bed because of pernicious anemia suddenly regained their energy.
Since the discovery of B12 there’s been a long association between fatigue and vitamin B12. People just assume that if they feel tired or fatigued, they’re anemic and need a shot of B12. Many doctors willingly give their patients B12 injections because they know the extra B12 can’t hurt them. Any extra B12 is excreted in the urine. Doctors are also aware that the injections will probably help from a placebo effect alone. That is, patients believe an injection of B12 will give them extra energy and cure their fatigue, so it does.
Many bodybuilders use B12 to fill out a syringe when injecting Winstrol-V and/or water-based testosterone suspension. Sometimes suspension shots can be painful, and the water in the B12 dilutes the suspension and makes the shot more bearable. The crystals in Winstrol-V can be large and tough to get through a 23-gauge needle, so adding B12 dilutes the crystals and makes the shots less uncomfortable.
I have to take B12 shots at least a few times a year, since my entire large bowel was removed when I had ulcerative colitis back in 1983. When someone has Crohn’s or colitis or cancer of the large bowel and doctors remove only the diseased part of the bowel, it’s called a colostomy. If the surgeons remove the entire colon and cut it off at the terminal ileum (the small structure that’s actually part of the small intestine, joining the small and large bowel), it’s an ileostomy. I underwent an ileostomy. It is believed that B12 is absorbed in the large bowel near the ileum. Since I have no large bowel left, I could become anemic if I didn’t take B12. People who have had colostomies still have some large bowel left and, therefore, can still absorb B12. Injections are preferred to oral B12 because the body absorbs more. Oral B12 tends to be easily destroyed in the stomach and intestinal tract.
Some bodybuilders feel that they can derive some anabolic effect from stacking injectable B12 with injectable dibencozide, or Neurofor, which is a co-enzyme of B12, especially when taken in conjunction with large amounts of protein and anabolic steroids. While some athletes claim that B12 shots alone give them more energy, better appetite and a improved sense of well-being, stacking B12 with dibencozide seems to greatly enhance those effects (real or imagined). Dibencozide synergistically enhances B12 and stays in the body longer. Bill Phillips claims dibencozide works at the cellular level in DNA and RNA production lines.
Dan Duchaine used to sell an oral version of dibencozide called Dibencobalene-V that came in dark-brown capsules. (Dibencozide is light-sensative and must be kept out of the light or its potency deteriorates. That applies to injectable dibencozide too.) The makers of Dibencobalene-V claimed the following benefits: ‘increased strength, increased red blood cell count, accelerated metabolism, increased food conversion, increased nerve force, increased mental concentration and alertness, mood elevation, accelerated protein synthesis, accelerated cellular division and accelerated growth.’
Kind of sounds like the benefits one could expect from anabolic steroids, doesn’t it? That’s not too surprising, as dibencozide has been marketed as a supplement that has steroidlike effects since its heyday. It never lived up to its billing in that regard, but I can say, having tried Neurofor, that I do believe I had more energy and a general sense of well-being. But then, I was stacking it with B12 and using anabolic steroids too (Wintrol tabs and nandrolone decanoate).
The need for all B-vitamins increases with stress and energy output, so hard-training bodybuilders, who by definition stress their bodies to the max, can benefit from stacking B12 and dibencozide.
Again, like many supplements, B12 comes down to a matter of faith. If you think it’s helping you, it probably is. It probably isn’t harmful to take in too much B12 or the co-enzyme of B12, as you just excrete the excess. So, if you have the money to blow and you feel you’re lacking energy, then experiment and see if taking weekly shots of B12 or, preferably, B12 and dibencozide, makes a difference for you.
Q: What do you think of Sustanon 250? I managed to get some through a mail-order company in Las Vegas, and it looks legit. If it is real, how much should I take? I am 6′ tall and currently weigh 212 pounds.
A: Sustanon 250 is a combination of four kinds of testosterone’propionate, phenylpropionate, isocaporate and decanoate’that work well together. It’s very popular with bodybuilders and athletes because it’s both fast-acting and long lasting. By combining different testosterones (one fast-acting, another medium-acting and others that are slow-acting), you get a sustained anabolic effect. When you take just one kind of testosterone, it takes several days to disperse from the injection site, and then you realize a peak anabolic effect. After that peak the drug becomes less and less anabolic until it’s completely metabolized and out of your body. With Sustanon 250 you get four peaks and a much longer-lasting anabolic effect.
How much you should take depends on your individual opinion. Most bodybuilders take one or two ampoules per week, or 250 to 500 milligrams.
That should be plenty, especially if you stack it with other steroids’as most bodybuilders do. Personally, I don’t believe in the mega-dosing endorsed by many bodybuilders. When I hear of someone claiming to take 1,000 or 2,000 milligrams’or more!’a week, I just shake my head. I cannot understand the need for such extreme amounts. Remember, while you may get greater growth with larger amounts, you also get greater negative side effects. It’s up to you to decide the side-effect risk you’re willing to tolerate. If you don’t mind going bald, developing gynecomastia, losing your sex drive and experiencing increased irritability, damage to internal organs and possible health problems’not to mention the extra money it costs to use more’then by all means mega-dose. If you want good gains with as few side effects as possible, then try to make the greatest gains you can with the least amount of Sustanon injected.
I recommend you start out small’one ampoule a week’and monitor yourself for both positive and negative changes. When the bad effects outweigh the good, you know you’re taking too much.
Editor’s note: The statements, opinions and ideas in this column are Greg Zulak’s and not necessarily those of IRONMAN magazine. IM