Do you ever feel out of energy? If yes, maybe it’s a sign you are deficient in vitamin B12. Similarly, if you were experiencing symptoms such as muscle weakness, constipation, numbness, tingling in the hands and feet, balance problems, depression, memory problems, brain fog, or pain in the mouth, all of which could be a sign that you lack vitamin B12 intake.
The Importance of Vitamin B12
Everyone’s body requires water-soluble vitamin that is for the formation of red blood cells, synthesis of DNA (the genetic material in all cells), and neurologic function. However, most people do not have enough essential nutrients in their body.
Research from Framingham found that 12 percent of older adults are deficient in vitamin B12. “Vitamin B12 deficiency is a huge problem of what they imagine,” said Lisa Hark, a nutritionist in Philadelphia. Unlike other forms of malnutrition, lack of vitamin B12 is often overlooked, since in general, the symptoms develop gradually and somewhat vague.
In addition to depleted energy, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia and nervous system damage. What’s more, a study in Australia in 2012 found that vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
Who is Likely to Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Anyone can be deficient in vitamin B12, but the risk is higher if you have digestive disorders such as celiac or Crohn’s disease, and pernicious anemia (an autoimmune disease that prevents the body to make intrinsic factor needed to absorb vitamin B12). Vegetarians are also at risk of experiencing vitamin B12 deficiency because this vitamin naturally just obtained from the animals.
Medicines used to treat heartburn, reflux (GERD), and peptic ulcer disease, such as histamine H2 receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibitors can slow or block the release of acid into the stomach, thereby disrupting the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food. In addition, metformin, a medicine used to treat diabetes, can also reduce the absorption of B12. To find out if your body is deficient in vitamin B12 or not, you can perform a blood test.
Increase the Intake of Vitamin B12
Overcome the deficiency of vitamin B12 depends on the cause. If the reason is because you are not eating foods rich in vitamin B12, then the solution is quite simple, i.e. by increasing the consumption of fish, shellfish, beef, beef liver, poultry, milk, cereal, eggs, yogurt, hemp milk, and soy milk. These foods contain vitamin B12 which is high and will provide additional energy for the body.
If you are deficient in vitamin B12 because your body does not produce enough stomach acid or you are taking a medicine that can block the acid, then take supplements of vitamin B12 is not the solution. According to Hark, each person will have difficulty in absorbing vitamin B12 without sufficient stomach acid. In this case, an injection of vitamin B12 once a month may be considered but should consult your doctor first.