Vitamin B12 is one of the most essential nutrients you need for good health. In a relatively short amount of time, lack of B12 can lead to numbness, the sensation of “pins and needles” in the limbs, trouble with movement and walking, joint pain, and shortness of breath. An added concern, severe vitamin B12 deficiency can result in extreme conditions such as fatigue, deep depression, delusions, memory loss, paranoia, incontinence, and loss of senses. We don’t mean to sound alarming, however, the outcomes of vitamin B12deficiency are a reality, so we want you to be prepared and have access to alleviating this condition, which is all-too-common in today’s population.
Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in red blood cell formation and the prevention of anemia. B12 also helps to create DNA which is the genetic material found in cells, and it also assists with nerve, bone, eye, and brain health. All in all, it’s basically a wonder vitamin that we cannot afford to be lacking. The average adult needs 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day and just like other vitamins, it cannot be made in the body–we can only get B12 from food or supplements.
Unfortunately, many people are deficient in this vitamin because not enough B12-containing foods are eaten on a regular basis, while others have a problem absorbing the nutrient no matter how much they consume. Anyone can have insufficient B12 levels, however, reports show that the older population is particularly susceptible with an estimated 3.2% of adults over 50 having critically low B12 levels, and up to 20% having borderline B12 deficiency.
A variety of situations may result in vitamin B12 deficiency. For example, some vegetarians and vegans do not acquire adamant amounts of the nutrient as common sources of B12 are animal products such as meat, eggs, and poultry. Vegans and vegetarians must carefully choose the proper supplements or fortified foods such as nutritional yeast. Those who have undergone bariatric surgery are also at risk for B12 deficiency as the operation interferes with the process in which the body is able to absorb vitamin B12 from food. In addition, Celiac and Crohn’s disease can cause troubles with B12 absorption as those conditions prevent proper nutrient absorption. Lastly, if you use commonly prescribed heartburn drugs on a regular basis, you may be at risk as these drugs reduce acid production in the stomach and that acid is needed to help absorb B12.
Symptoms that are associated with inadequate B12 levels can develop slowly, and gradually intensify, and the opposite can happen too–symptoms can occur quickly so essentially, the deficiency can be hard to recognize. Below are some symptoms to look out for as the condition can be overlooked easily or confused with another ailment.
- Numbness or tingling (known as “pins and needles”) in the hands, legs, or feet
- Balance and staggering problems while walking
- Inflamed or swollen tongue
- Cognitive difficulties such as memory loss or confusion
- General weakness or fatigue
Some health care providers may be able to recognize a B12 deficiency through a serious of thorough questions and a physical exam, however, you will need to undergo a blood test in order to determine. If you are experiencing any of the above-listed characteristics, it is important to ask to have your B12 levels checked as early detection and treatment is critical.
A mild B12 deficiency can be alleviated with a standard multivitamin, as well as increased consumption of B12-foods such as meat, eggs, and poultry, however a serious lacking of B12 may require injections. Fortunately, Doctor’s Best Health can help you get your regular self back quickly and with increased energy levels with our medical grade vitamin B12 injections. Click here for more information regarding our simple schedule of vitamin B12 injections, all provided by our certified physician, on an easy and convenient monthly basis.