Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Three Reasons Why You Might Not Be
Have you checked your Vitamin B12 levels lately? If you’re over 30, then you should; your chances of becoming deficient increase with age.
What are some of the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency?
- Memory loss
- Numbness or tingling
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased aggression
Most of us eat about 15 mcg. of Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) everyday, which is more than the USRDA of only 2 mcg. Good sources include most meat, fish and dairy products. However, scientists recommend 200 times that amount in order to prevent getting Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Why you need Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is necessary for healthy red blood cell reproduction and neurological functioning. A deficiency can have serious consequences which, left untreated, can be life threatening.
Diseases resulting from Vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Combined systems disease
Loss of short-term memory, dementia
Increased likelihood for heart attack or stroke
Three Causes for Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Foods that are highest in Vitamin B12 include shellfish, liver, beef and cheese. Vegans are at high risk of developing Vitamin B12 deficiency and must take regular vitamin supplements to compensate.
2) Malabsorption syndromes
Some people are unable to utilize the Vitamin B12 found in food products and tend to develop Vitamin B12 deficiency. Pernicious anemia is an example of an autoimmune disease which results from a low presence of the intrinsic factor antibody, which attaches itself to and aids in the absorption of Vitamin B12.
3) Gastrointestinal causes
Dyspepsia, or indigestion, is another common cause of low Vitamin B12 since excess stomach acids make it difficult for the body to absorb Vitamin B12 properly.
Sufferers of Crohn’s disease are at particular risk and must supplement with vitamins in order to avoid severe malnourishment.
Patients who have had gastric bypass or other intestinal surgery are likely to develop B12 deficiency due to bacterial residue.
Treatment for Vitamin B12 Deficiency
See a doctor immediately if you suspect you have Vitamin B12 Deficiency; a simple blood test is all that is required for a diagnosis.
Once Vitamin B12 deficiency is determined your physician will prescribe a regimen of Vitamin B12 supplements, usually in the form of intramuscular injections followed up by sublingual tablets.