Do you have these symptoms?
- Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
- Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- A smooth tongue
- Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or gas
- Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
- Vision loss
- Mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes
- Are you anemic? Did you know a mild B12 deficiency may be no big deal, but untreated you may have symptoms listed
If you have any of or an array of these symptoms, you could have a deficiency of B12. Let’s look at what B12 does for you, how to make sure you have enough, and what happens if you are deficient.
What does B12 do for you?
Vitamin B12 does a lot of things for your body. It helps make your DNA and your red blood cells, for example. Since your body doesn’t make vitamin B12, you have to get it from animal-based foods or from supplements. And you should do that on a regular basis. While B12 is stored in the liver for up to five years, you can eventually become deficient if your diet doesn’t help maintain the levels.
Animal foods, eggs, fish, meat, and poultry. Most people in the U.S. get enough B12. If you’re not sure, you can ask your doctor if you should get a blood test to check your vitamin B12 level.
With age, it can become harder to absorb B12. You may also be more likely to develop vitamin B12 deficiency if you follow a vegan diet (meaning you don’t eat any animal products, including meat, milk, cheese, and eggs) or if you are a vegetarian who doesn’t eat enough eggs or dairy products to meet your vitamin B12 needs. In both of those cases, you can add fortified foods to your diet or take supplements to meet this need. Learn more about the different types of vitamin b supplements.
If you have pernicious anemia or have trouble absorbing vitamin B12, you’ll need shots of this vitamin at first. You may need to keep getting these shots, take high doses of a supplement by mouth, or get it nasally after that.
If you don’t eat animal products, you have options. You can change your diet to include vitamin B12-fortified grains, a supplement or B12 injections, or a high-dose oral vitamin B12 if you are deficient.
Older adults who have a vitamin B12 deficiency will likely have to take a daily B12 supplement or a multivitamin that contains B12.
For most people, treatment resolves the problem. But any nerve damage that happened due to the deficiency could be permanent.
Most people can prevent vitamin B12 deficiency by eating enough meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, and eggs.
If you don’t eat animal products, or you have a medical condition that limits how well your body absorbs nutrients, you can take vitamin B12 in a multivitamin or other supplement and foods fortified with vitamin B12.
If you choose to take vitamin B12 supplements, let your doctor know, so they can tell you how much you need, or make sure they won’t affect any medicines you’re taking.
Find the Cause
Your treatment plan depends on why you lack B12. The doctor will ask you about what you eat and if you have other health conditions. Be sure to tell them about any medications or supplements you’re taking.
Don’t forget that few doctors have been trained in nutrition, and seldom recommend diet as part of a treatment plan, rather just write you out a prescription. He or she may never get around to the correct diagnosis or treatment. Make sure that you have a physician who can get to the root cause of your condition, and it should always involve nutrition for our condition invariably is caused by lack of needed nutrients.
. My old family doctor, who was far ahead of his time, would say “You Are What You Eat!”
Causes of B12 deficiency could include:
- Aging. Older adults tend to have less of the stomach acid needed to absorb B12 from food.
- Pernicious anemia. This is an immune system disorder that affects cells in your stomach. If you have it, you don’t make enough protein. You need this to absorb B12 from food.
- Digestive disorders. That includes conditions like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease.
- Liver problems. You need a healthy liver to store B12.
Ways to Manage Your B12 Deficiency
Your liver stores this nutrient for a long time. It can take 3-5 years to use it up. Most adults only need 2.4 micrograms a day. You’ll need a little more if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Your doctor may recommend shots. Injections bypass your stomach. That means it’ll get into your body even if you have absorption problems.
As you can see, it is vital to have enough B12 in your diet or these consequences can occur. Unless you have some disease or accompanying malady that could increase your susceptibility to this deficiency, this should never become a problem and you should be able to manage easily through a normal diet and or supplements. (sources: WebMD, Mayo Clinic)
There is more information about B12 you should know. Hang with me and the next issue will handle the remaining issues of what can occur if the deficiency is unhandled and the side effects of improperly taking supplements.
Did You Ever Consider Having Your Own Private Label?
Would it be cool to have your own private-label product you could sell online or otherwise? You see others, including your friends, racking up online sales of their very own product under their own unique label and wonder if you could do it. Fill out the brief form below to learn all you need to know. You may be surprised. Have a great day!