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For years, vitamin B12 has been the staple energy vitamin for stars such as Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Prince. Now, B12 vitamins are part of Glee star Lea Michele’s regimen against vitamin B12 deficiency. Find out why celebrities such as Lea Michele rely on B12 supplements for added stamina, strength, and mental focus.
The Glee star’s secret to weight loss
How does Lea Michele, who plays the bossy, competitive, (and sometimes infuriating) Rachel on Glee keep her figure? Recently, she confessed to following a strictly macrobiotic vegan diet, composed of mostly vegetables, grains, and beans. By cutting out meat, chicken, and dairy products from her diet, Lea has managed to lose ten pounds since she first started filming on the set.
Lea admits to also eating a few servings of fish per week, in order to avoid getting vitamin B12 deficiency. Since Vitamin B12 occurs only in animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk, supplementing with extra vitamin B12 is crucial for avoiding low B12 blood levels. How does she justify introducing a non-vegan source into her vegan diet? Apparently, macrobiotic veganism makes special allowances for seafood. Lea Michele understands that a diet low in vitamin B12 is a diet that leads to B12 deficiency symptoms.
People who deplete their stores of vitamin B12 encounter symptoms such as extreme fatigue, muscular weakness, depression, diminished coordination, memory loss, and frequent numbness or tingling sensations (pins and needles) in their hands, arms, legs, and feet. Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency may escalate into severe memory loss, neurological damage, osteoporosis, and increased risk for heart attack, and stroke.
Do you know how much vitamin B12 you need in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency? Unless you supplement, you could wind up with dangerously low vitamin B12 levels. Find out if your B12 blood levels are normal and how much you need to meet the FDA’s RDA for vitamin B12.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is a water-soluble nutrient that your body gets from protein sources, such as beef, chicken, liver, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Your body uses vitamin B12 for DNA synthesis, protecting your nervous system, and strengthening cognitive skills. Symptoms that indicate a low vitamin B12level include constant fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, depression, agitation, altered taste perception, and red, swollen tongue.
How much B12 is in my blood right now?
By performing a blood test, your doctor can tell you if you are deficient in vitamin B12, or if you have normal B12 levels. Vitamin B12 blood screening requires a 6-8 hour fast before testing. Laboratory tests will measure how many picograms (pg) of cobalamin you have per milliliter (ml) of blood in your body.
How much B12 should I have?
Scientists agree that a normal level of vitamin B12 in your blood is 200 – 900 picograms per milliliter (200-900 pg/ml).
Test results showing less than 200 pg/ml signal vitamin B12 deficiency.
For elderly adults, the recommended vitamin B12 level is much higher- Test results showing less than 500 pg/ml indicates B12 deficiency.
In order to find the cause of a vitamin B12 deficiency, doctors may perform a Schilling test.
What is the recommended dose of vitamin B12?
The FDA’s RDA of vitamin B12 for healthy adults is approximately three mcg daily for males and females alike, including pregnant and nursing moms.
For elderly individuals, the recommended dose of vitamin B12 is 25-100 mcg per day.
Scientific study proves that the RDA for B12 is off.
According to a study conducted in the Netherlands, elderly sufferers of vitamin B12 deficiency need more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) in order to achieve normal levels of B12.
Using methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels as a gauge, scientists established that cyanocobalamin supplementation amounting to 200 times the RDA of vitamin B12 is required in order to stabilize B12 levels in patients showing signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
How much vitamin B12 do you really need?
Vitamin B12 shots administering a daily doseof 1,000 mcg of cobalamin are prescribed for the first 10 days following diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency, continuing with a weekly dose of 1,000 mcg for a consecutive 4-week period.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can start with a few symptoms like tiredness and slight tingling or numbness in hands and feet; ignore the symptoms and low B12 levels could escalate into severe nerve damage, disease or death.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Below is a list of some of the most common side effects which may arise from insufficient stores of vitamin B12.
(Please note that the severity of the symptoms may vary according to the stage of B12 deficiency.)
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient. Therefore, your body is only able to store it for a short time. Vitamin B12 has many important functions in your body.
Vitamin B12 is essential for producing plenty of healthy red blood cells and for synthesizing DNA. A lack of B12 severely reduces your body’s ability to make sufficient red blood cells for carrying oxygen throughout your body.
Pernicious anemiais a life-threatening condition that is often the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Your nervous system is dependent on vitamin B12, which enhances communication between the brain and your many nerve sensors, such as those in your fingertips, feet and mouth. This explains why sufferers of B12 deficiency notice a sensation similar to wearing gloves throughout the day; others report that their food tastes unusual, another clue that the body’s neurons are not operating correctly.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 compromises your nervous system and could result in permanent neurological damage.
Researchers have found a direct link between vitamin B12 deficiency and brain atrophy among the elderly. In one study which appeared in the Journal of Nutrition, senior citizens who had the highest levels of B12 experienced healthier cognitive functioning skills.
Vitamin B12 helps your body monitor already healthy homocysteine levels, a factor in heart health.
What diseases are associated with B12 deficiency?
There are many illnesses which occur when B12 levels are low; some conditions may be caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, while others are closely correlated. Below are some common illnesses associated with B12 deficiency, including many which most people don’t realize are affected by vitamin B12 levels.
Alzheimer’s disease, brain deterioration, cognitive decline, memory loss and other forms of dementia
Neurological diseases such as Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Cardiovascular disease, caused by high homocysteine levels
Mental illness, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis
Autism spectrum disorder
Autoimmune diseases, such as AIDS and pernicious anemia
According to aTufts University study, 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have low to medium-low B12 levels, indicating a deficiency severe enough to cause neurological disorder symptoms, while 9 percent are depleted enough to the point of irreversible neurological damage and life-threatening symptoms. Approximately 16 percent are close to becoming vitamin B12 deficient.
Why is vitamin B12 deficiency overlooked?
Only a blood test can properly determine if somebody is suffering from B12 deficiency, and most physicians don’t include a B12 screening with yearly check-ups. Also, many of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are similar to common health disorders, such as diabetes, chronic depression and fatigue.
How can you get enough B12?
Vitamin B12 is found in many high protein foods. Excellent sources of B12 are:
Lean beef cuts, such as chuck and sirloin
Fish, particularly salmon, tuna and halibut
Shellfish, including crab meat, mussels, clams and oysters
Dairy products, such as swiss cheese, yogurt, milk and cottage cheese
Vegans are at a high risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency, as their diet specifically excludes food items which provide vitamin B12. Other people who are at risk of getting B12 deficiency are patients of weight loss surgery, diabetics on metformin, individuals with gastrointestinal disease, people who lackintrinsic factorand anybody taking prescription heartburn medication.
The only way to prevent becoming deficient in vitamin B12 is by constantly replenishing your body with B12-rich nutrients.
Alternatively, patients diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency are encouraged to take vitamin B12 supplements, such as sublingual B12 tablets, B12 shots, or over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12.
Find more information on preventing vitamin B12 deficiency:
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.
Did he use steroids back in 2005? Drugs tests conclude that he did; whether unbeknownst to him or not is the hot topic of the day.
What about his claim that he unwittingly received B12 injections which were laced with the illegal performance enhancer stanozolol, as he has repeatedly affirmed? Well, he’s sticking to his story, even if the Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA) doesn’t quite buy it.
Is it possible that his astonishing success these past years is due exclusively to his use of steroids? With 3,020 hits, 569 home runs and 1,835 RBIs, Palmeiro’s record puts him in the same league as baseball legends Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray.
Before we jump to any more conclusions, let’s not entirely rule out the b12 supplements, which we know he was getting on a regular basis.
B vitamins convert proteins and carbohydrates into energy for greater stamina during a workout.
B12 works with pyrodixine and folic acid to burn fat.
Athletes require more than the USRDA recommendation for B12 allowance.
Sports competitors who are on a restricted diet are strongly advised to take B12 supplements in order to avoid b12 deficiency, an illness which can lead to fatigue, depression, nausea and lethargy.
B12 boost red and white blood cell production, in addition to strengthening DNA.
So, let’s assign credit where credit’s due. Will b12 vitamins give you superhuman strength, the ability to leap home runs in a single bound? Probably not. Are ballplayers like Rafael Palmeiro wise to take advantage of b12 for greater athletic performance? Emphatically, you bet.
The Japanese study proves that women who eat foods enriched vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate are less likely to suffer heart attack or die of a stroke. Japanese men who eat B-rich foods are less likely to suffer heart failure.
These findings confirm similar studies which have been conducted in the US and Europe, all of which came to the same conclusion; B vitamins such as B12, B6 and folate are essential for cardiovascular health.
Through the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study, a survey which collected data on the dietary habits of over 85,000 Japanese between the ages of 40 and 79, scientists were able to gain information on a correlation between the amount of B vitamin intake and likeliness of mortality from heart disease and stroke. Out of the 85,000 men and women studied, 986 died from stroke, 424 perished from heart attack and over 2,000 died from a variety of heart-related illnesses – all in a 14-year time frame.
Scientists grouped test subjects into five categories, varying in relation to B6, B12 and folate intake. Of the female test subjects who ate the lowest amounts of B6, B12 and folate, more were likely to die of stroke or heart attack than those who ate a moderate amount of B vitamins. Similarly, men who consumed the least B vitamins were more likely to die from cardiovascular illness than others. Of the test subjects who reported eating a steady diet of B6, B12 and folate, fewer suffered mortalities related to stroke or heart disease than counterparts from any of the other groups.
Scientists believe that B vitamins lower homocysteine levels, an amino acid which many doctors believe increase one’s risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke. Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid prevent the accumulation of homocysteine. Eating whole grains, leafy vegetables, legumes and fish are excellent ways to get B vitamins. However, many suffer from an inability to completely digest B12, resulting in B12 deficiency. Symptoms include fatigue, memory loss and numbness or tingling in the extremities.
A vitamin b12 injection (cyanocobalamin) is a synthetic form of vitamin b12. The primary reason for getting a b12 injection is to treat b12 deficiency. For many years b12 injections have also been given for patients suffering from fatigue and low energy. The most common dosage is a 1000 microgram (mcg) b12 injection once a week. There are no upper limit dosages to vitamin b12 and there are no reported side effects to b12 overdose.
1. Read the directions first which is essential in preparing for b12 shots.
2. Wash your hands thoroughly before giving a b12 shot.
3. Choose a spot for the b12 shot in the muscular area of the body.
4. Gently nip up the skin and put the needle into your skin at a 45° angle.
5. After you inject the needle completely you can let go of the skin.
6. Inject the b12 by gently pushing down the plunger.
7. After you have given the b12 shot remove the needle and syringe.
8. Press an alcohol swab on the area where the b12 shot was given.
Vitamin B-12 is necessary for many things, including growth, cell reproduction, and hematopoiesis. Generally vitamin B12 is administered in the form cyanocobalamin, which is absorbed in the muscles at the site of the injection. The level of plasma in the compound is found to be at its peak within an hour after the intramuscular injection is given. Almost 1000 micrograms, that is 50- 98 percent of vitamin B12, is present in the urine within 48 hours of the injection. Most of vitamin B12 is excreted in the urine. Some vitamin B12 is also absorbed through the intestinal tract.
Vitamin B-12 Injection
Vitamin B12 injection is in the form of Cyanocobalamin in a clear red, sterile and nonpyrogenic aqueous solution. The dosage for intramuscular injections is 1000 micrograms per milliliter. The solution is hygroscopic in anhydrous form and also soluble in water. The coenzymes of vitamin B12 in the solution are very unstable in the presence of light. Apart from vitamin B12, the active ingredients of Cyanocobalamin injections are benzyl alcohol (as a preservative) and sodium chloride (for isotonicity). It is important to know that doses of vitamin B12 that exceed 10 micrograms daily are capable of producing a hematologic response in patients who have folate deficiency. Also, pareteral administration of vitamin B12 can sometimes cause anaphylactic shock and even death.