One of the most common- and earliest- symptoms of low vitamin B12 is low energy. Chronic fatigue, poor concentration, and “brain fog” are all some of the first warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Low energy- What does it mean?
If you ever feel exhausted after finishing a high-impact aerobics class, or if you sometimes wake up feeling groggy and irritable from a sleepless night, then…congratulations! You’re healthy.
People who suffer from chronic fatigue- a severe loss of energy- feel that way most of the time, even after sleeping well the entire night, even after climbing a few flights of stair, and in many cases as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Symptoms of fatigue
Chronic fatigue varies per person, but often includes the following symptoms:
- Persistently low energy, lasting for months
- Fatigue that begins in the morning and worsens by midday
- Tiredness that interferes with day-to-day tasks
- Low immunity, frequent illness
- Memory loss
- Difficulty remembering words or numbers
- Decreased organizational skills
- Difficulty making decisions
Who suffers low energy?
Chronic fatigue occurs with many chronic disorders such as fibromyalgia, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and Crohn’s disease.
Fatigue also correlates highly with vitamin B12 deficiency, for two reasons:
- Low energy levels from low B12 occurs as a direct result of decreased oxygen in the brain. Vitamin B12 sustains healthy red blood cells which help to distribute oxygen throughout your body. Likewise, a severe drop in vitamin B12 levels affects your red blood cell count, eventually causing symptoms of hypoxemia (low oxygen), which include dizziness, disorientation, and low energy- all just from low vitamin B12.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs at the same time as many autoimmune disorders that cause overwhelming fatigue. Oftentimes, low B12 levels exacerbate feelings of tiredness and depression from fibromyalgia, celiac disease, or lupus.
How much B12 do I need?
The standard dose prescribed for vitamin B12 deficiency is 1000mcg. Depending on the severity of vitamin B12 deficiency, your doctor may prescribe 1000mcg of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) per month, per week, or twice weekly until energy levels improve.
Because there is no upper limit established for vitamin B12 supplementation, there is no danger of overdose. Patients who wish to exceed the prescribed dose of vitamin B12 may do so readily and safely.
In fact, several scientific studies focusing on vitamin B12 and energy levels found significant health benefits when individuals took large mega-doses of vitamin B12 supplements.
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