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Are you at risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency, one of the fastest growing forms of malnourishment today? Most people with B12 deficiency don’t even know they have it. Find out why vitamin B12 is important for healthy living. Are you are getting enough?
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12, an essential nutrient called cobalamin, occurs naturally in meat and other protein foods such as beef, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk. Vitamin B12 is one of the B-complex vitamins, and plays many important roles in your healthy lifestyle, and unless you get enough vitamin B12 from your diet or from vitamin B12 supplements, then you might experience the following symptoms:
Constant tiredness, fatigue for no apparent reason
Lack of appetite
Lack of concentration
Short-term memory loss
Tingling, numbness or pain in your hands and feet
Sore, swollen red tongue
Altered taste perception
Difficulty walking smoothly
Poor hand-eye coordination and motor skills
Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to neurological damage, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, memory problems, and misdiagnosis of severe mood disorders.
Even if you eat plenty of meat and milk, you may be susceptible for vitamin B12 deficiency, as there are many other risk factors involved…
If you fit into any one of the following categories, then you are highly susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency:
Do you have diabetes? If you are diabetic, and you take metformin, then you are vulnerable to B12 deficiency, since metformin blocks your ability to digest vitamin B12 properly.
Have you had weight loss surgery? If you have had any bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass, or any other gastrointestinal surgery that involves removing a piece of the small intestine called the ileum, then you need to take vitamin B12 supplements regularly. The ileum is the bottom-most part of the small intestine, and is principally responsible for absorbing vitamin B12.
Do you suffer from autoimmune disorders? If you suffer from any autoimmune disease that involves damage to the digestive system, then you are at risk for many forms of malnourishment, including vitamin B12 deficiency. Examples of autoimmune disorders that correlate with vitamin B12 deficiency are Crohn’s disease, celiac disorder, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and lupus.
Are you a senior citizen? The elderly are highly susceptible to B12 deficiency. As you age, your body produces fewer stomach acids that are necessary for digesting vitamin B12 from the foods you eat. Also, older people tend to eat less and have sensitive stomachs, all of which can lead to malnourishment. In order to avoid B12 deficiency, it is crucial to include extra B12 supplements in your daily vitamin regimen.
Do you take heartburn medication? If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or if just take many antacids, then you might become deficient in vitamin B12, as stomach acids are essential for digesting vitamins such as B12 from your food.
Are you an alcoholic? Frequent alcohol use inhibits your body’s ability to absorb nutrients like vitamin B12 properly, and causes malnourishment.
Does vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia run in your family? Some people are unable to produce intrinsic factor, an essential chemical your stomach makes to access and digest vitamin B12 from food sources. If you have this autoimmune disorder, then you must supplement with a form of vitamin B12 that dispenses the vitamin directly into your bloodstream.
How can I find out if I have vitamin B12 deficiency?
The only way to find out if you have vitamin B12 deficiency is to visit your doctor and ask for a vitamin B12 blood test. If you test positive, then he will likely prescribe a regimen of vitamin B12 supplements.
Read more about preventing vitamin B12 deficiency:
“What is vitamin B12,” you ask? Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a member of the B-complex vitamins. A water-soluble vitamin, B12 is stored in your liver and is necessary for avoiding vitamin B12 deficiency.
What are the benefits of vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 wears many hats. It is essential for a vast number of important bodily functions.
Red blood cells! Vitamin B12 helps your body produce plenty of red blood cells that are required for carrying oxygen throughout your body. With enough B12, you would suffer from constant dizziness and fatigue.
Memory! Vitamin B12 assists in cognitive skills such as memory, concentration, and comprehension. Without enough B12, you may suffer memory loss, depression, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.
Heart health! Vitamin B12 controls the level of homocysteine in your blood, a protein associated with heart attack and stroke. Without enough B12, you are at a higher risk of dying of heart disease or stoke.
Bone health! Scientists have found a high correlation healthy vitamin B12 levels and a lower risk of getting osteoporosis- loss of bone mass- in elderly individuals. Senior citizens who keep their vitamin B12 levels normal benefit by maintaining healthy joints and cartilage functioning.
Senses! Vitamin B12 keeps communication flowing between your brain and various nerve sites, such as your fingers, toes, mouth, eyes, and ears. Without enough B12, you would suffer neurological damage such as tingling, numbness or pain in your hands, feet, and tongue.
Movement! Vitamin B12 protects the myelin sheathe of your nervous system. Without enough B12, you would have difficulty controlling your muscles in your arms and legs.
DNA! Vitamin B12 promotes DNA synthesis. Without enough B12, you would suffer abnormal cell growth.
Metabolism! Vitamin B12 boosts stamina by helping your body convert fat into energy. Without enough B12, you would feel sluggish, confused, and chronically fatigued, and be more prone to weight gain.
What foods have vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based proteins. The following food sources have the highest levels of vitamin B12:
Meat! Beef, particularly lean beefsteak and beef organs, such as liver and heart
Chicken! Poultry, including lean chicken, turkey, and duck
Fish! Seafood, including tuna, halibut, salmon, crab meat, clams, and oysters
Eggs! Don’t skip the yolks- they are extremely high in this B vitamin
Milk! Dairy products, including milk, hard cheese, yogurt, and kefir
But I eat plenty of protein, and I take vitamin supplements.
Even if you eat plenty of foods with vitamin B12, you are not immune to B12 deficiency. Many multivitamins and B-complex pills include vitamin B12, but not in sufficient amounts to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency in individuals who are at risk.
The only way to get enough B12 is by taking vitamin B12 supplements. Some popular B12 supplements are vitamin B12 sublingual pills,and prescribed vitamin B12 shots.
Having a hangover is not fun- Hangovers signal alcohol-poisoning symptoms resulting from vitamin B12 deficiency. For that reason, many hangover remedies include vitamin B12 and folate, another member of the B complex vitamins.
It’s best to avoid drinking too much alcohol, and chronic alcohol abuse is detrimental, not only for your health, but for the mental health of your loved ones. If you suffer from alcohol addiction, please seek help from a professional, or call your local Alcoholics Anonymous.
What is a hangover?
A hangover(medical term: Veisalgia) is the aftereffect of your body’s reaction to sudden vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, in addition to intoxication, hypoglycemia, and dehydration.
Hangovers are symptoms of alcohol poisoning that many happen after binging on alcoholic beverages. Certain factors affect your chances of suffering a hangover after drinking, such as body weight, amount of alcohol consumption, and emptiness of stomach.
A hangover can last for several days following an alcoholic binge.
Common symptoms of a hangover may include throbbing headache, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, increased sensitivity to bright light and loud noise, and severe thirst.
Vitamin B12- one of many essential B vitamins
Vitamin B12 is crucial for healthy brain development and functioning, in addition to stabilizing the nervous system, producing red blood cells, and reducing your risk for heart attack or stroke. Vitamin B12, or Cobalamin, is part of the family of B-complex vitamins.
B12 deficiency symptoms include fatigue, loss of energy, “brain fog,” short-term memory loss, increased risk of early-onset dementia, and neurological damage.
Vitamin B12- a hangover cure?
Scientists have noted a strong correlation between hangover symptoms and low B12.
According to Dr. David Katz of the Yale Prevention Research Center, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to absorb nutrients such as vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
Depending on your level of intoxication, B12 deficiency could be mild- resulting in tiredness, disorientation, and dizziness- or severe, causing extreme depression, nervousness, paranoia, and neurological disorders.
Taking extra doses of B-complex vitamins, especially vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, before drinking alcohol and the following day, are excellent ways of avoiding vitamin B12 deficiency. Also, remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day and evening.
Numerous studies have shown that B complex vitamins have been used successfully as natural PMS remedies. Ladies, the next time PMS mood swings strike, try heading for the multivitamins shelf at your local pharmacy for some homeopathic PMS relief.
What scientists have to say about vitamin B and PMS
The study in mention, published by the National Institutes of Health, focused on the impact of dietary B vitamins and vitamin B supplements on premenstrual syndrome(PMS) symptoms; they found that women who consumes 2 essential B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, reduced their premenstrual symptoms by 35 percent.
The study, conducted by the University of Massachusetts, included over 3,000 female participants in the U.S. Nurses Health Study II; all volunteers were not suffering PMS at the time of the study, which included completing several dietary questionnaires.
Women who consumed the highest amounts of riboflavin fared best when it came to risk for developing PMS symptoms; they were 35 percent less likely to suffer physical and emotional symptoms associated with PMS than women who ate the least vitamin B in their diet.
Scientists believe that thiamine and riboflavin control neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, both of which are linked with premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
B vitamins are water soluble, so you need to consistently take B supplements; your body will not store vitamin B.
PMS affects approximately 15 percent of women in the childbearing age.
Symptoms of PMS can include headaches, anxiety, breast tenderness, acne, aching joints and depression.
How to include more vitamins to help PMS
Good sources of riboflavin, thiamine and vitamin B12 include:
Lean red meat, such as lean chuck
Legumes, such as kidney beans, garbanzos and lentils
Milk, cheese and yogurt
Vitamin enriched breads, rice and cereals
Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, romaine lettuce and kale
Vitamin B12 is also essential for managing neurotransmitters which may effect the mood. Women who suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency may find that PMS symptoms aggravate the already predominant symptoms of vitamin deficiency.
B12 deficiency symptoms include:
Vitamin B12 deficiency can only be cured with consistent vitamin B12 supplementation.
Vitamin B12 belongs to the family of the B Complex vitamins. The metal ion called cobalt is an active ingredient of Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is available naturally in many of the animal products we eat. The adult daily requirement for vitamin B12 is only 2 micrograms. However, vitamin B12 helps in some of the most important and vital functions of the body. This vitamin is essential in maintaining a healthy nervous system. If the appropriate amount of vitamin B12 is not consumed through dietary intake, several diseases such as anemia can result. Various other health problems can also be linked to a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Some Important Facts About Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is one of the few vitamins that have no toxic effect even in excessive doses. Vitamin B12 is available naturally in many animal products. Vitamin B12 is found naturally in clams, mussels, crabs, salmon, rockfish, liver, beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, milk, and cheese. Vitamin B12 can not be directly synthesized or produced by any organism other than a particular group of bacteria. The absorption of vitamin B12 is a complicated process. Vitamin B12 is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and cannot be absorbed without the presence of intrinsic factor, a protein produced in the stomach.