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Vitamin B12 deficiency is a type of anemia that sneaks up on you; symptoms are often masked by other underlying illnesses, and can worsen intense fatigue, depression, anxiety and weakness. Listed below are illnesses and other health conditions that can be helped by diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency and implementing immediate supplementation.
Anemia- Pernicious anemia occurs with untreated vitamin B12 deficiency. Once considered a fatal disease, doctors can now prevent irreparable nerve damage, cognitive disorders, and loss of red blood cells by executing high doses of vitamin B12, usually for life.
Alzheimer’s disease dementia- Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among elderly citizens. As you age, you lose your ability to digest vitamins from natural food sources. One of the earliest symptoms of declining vitamin B12 levels is memory loss. With age-related dementia, undiagnosed vitamin B12 deficiency can exacerbate symptoms like forgetfulness, confusion, moodiness, and paranoia. That’s why doctors recommend routine serum vitamin B12 screenings for individuals over the age of 60.
Mental illness- Scientists have found that people with bipolar disorder, chronic depression, or post-partum psychosis respond better to medications when vitamin B12 levels are normal. Conversely, vitamin B12 deficiency in people suffering from mental illness (depression, schizophrenia) results in a worsening of symptoms.
Peripheral neuropathy- Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system, as it supports myelin, a fatty coating that insulates your nerve cells. Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe nerve damage. Symptoms include painful tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, muscle spasms, and poor reflexes.
Multiple sclerosis- B12 deficiency is sometimes misdiagnosed as MS, as the symptoms are similar and both conditions involve a breakdown of myelin. Vitamin B12 deficiency in multiple sclerosis patients can also magnify symptoms of numbness, muscle pain, and fatigue.
Vertigo- Dizziness and vertigo is one of many side effects of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Chronic fatigue syndrome- Severe fatigue can be helped by correcting a vitamin B12 deficiency, as B12 is needed for energy and mental wellness. Also, many chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers also have gastrointestinal disorders that prevent proper absorption of vitamin B12 from foods, leading to lower than normal B12 levels.
Fibromyalgia- Similar to CFS, fibromyalgia is also comorbid with severe vitamin B12 deficiency.
Erectile dysfunction- Many oft-cited scientific reports have seen a link between sexual disorders and abnormally low levels of vitamin B12.
Infertility- Vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy or while trying to conceive can increase your risk for premature birth, miscarriage, and difficulty conceiving.
If you have any of the illnesses listed above, have you been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency? Sometimes, false-negative test results fail to determine vitamin B12 deficiency when symptoms are evident.
Since vitamin B12 is safe to use in even highest doses, doctors recommend supplementing if any of the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency make it difficult to function normally, even without a diagnosis.
Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders are some of the most pernicious symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. Most people who suffer the effects of low B12 don’t even know it- not until they start noticing unusual signs like extreme fatigue, memory loss, depression, and dizziness; symptoms that otherwise healthy individuals wouldn’t link to a mere vitamin deficiency, such as vitaminB12 anemia.
Vitamin B12 and the brain
Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients for the brain- it helps to maintain healthy red blood cells, which is needed for delivering oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body.
Vitamin B12 also helps to sustain myelin, a fatty substance that coats your nerve cells, increasing intercellular communication and protecting your nervous system from harm.
Thus, depleted levels of vitamin B12 puts your nervous system at risk for damage, as well as impairing your nerve cells’ ability to act efficiently and convey messages quickly to the brain.
Vitamin B12 deficiency also results in oxygen depletion (hypoxia), which causes symptoms such as fatigue, disorientation, and memory loss.
This may explain why many oft-cited scientific studies, doctors have noted a direct correlation between healthy vitamin B12 levels and reduced risk for depression, anxiety attacks, and other mood disorders.
In vegan-oriented societies, such as India, where B12-rich foods such as beef and seafood are shunned, depression and anxiety are epidemic.
Mental illness symptoms
Scientists have noted a variety of mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, which often occur as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency, or may be exacerbated by plummeting levels of vitamin B12.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, it’s important to have your vitamin B12 levels checked right away, in order to avoid misdiagnosis or prolonged symptoms caused by underlying vitamin B12 deficiency.
Mental illness symptoms linked with vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Inability to focus mentally
Altered sense of taste and smell
In addition to mood disorders, other signs of vitamin B12 may include painful numbness and tingling in the extremities, muscle spasms, learning disorders, difficulty walking, poor motor skills, and difficulty conceiving pregnancy.
Have you noticed any of the early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, such as extreme fatigue, brain fog, or memory loss?
If so, have you tested for vitamin B12 deficiency?
Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please leave your comments below.
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If you have vitamin B12 deficiency, then it is important to recognize the symptoms of pernicious anemia, as low levels of B12 (cobalamin) may be caused by this form of megaloblastic anemia, a potentially life-threatening disease.
What is pernicious anemia?
Pernicious anemiais a digestive disorder that causes vitamin B12 deficiency. Because one of the side effects involves grossly misshapen and enlarged red blood cells, pernicious anemia has been classified as a type of megaloblastic anemia.
With pernicious anemia, your body is unable to digest vitamin B12 from food sources, due to a lack of the intrinsic factor digestive enzyme. As a result, after several years, your vitamin B12 stores plummet to a dangerous low.
Since vitamin B12 is crucial for all sorts of biochemical reactions, such as protecting your nerve cells through myelin production, converting fat into energy, and supporting red blood cell production, the results of pernicious anemia can be debilitating.
Avoid vitamin B12 deficiency
The best way to avoid getting vitamin B12 deficiency is to include animal-based protein foods in your diet, particularly beef liver, clams, oysters, poultry, eggs, milk, and yogurt.
Still, eating meat and dairy products does not guarantee you will not become deficient in vitamin B12, as there are many risk factors that can inhibit proper absorption of this vitamin.
Who’s at risk?
People at risk for developing B12 deficiency are:
people who exclude primary sources of vitamin B12 from their diet (vegans)
people who have had bariatric surgery
diabetics taking metformin
anybody using long-term medication for acid-reflux
individuals with gastrointestinal disease (IBD, celiac)
people who cannot produce intrinsic factor, a necessary hormone for digesting vitamin B12
Signs of megaloblastic (pernicious) anemia
The most common symptoms of pernicious anemia are:
Frequent tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, described as “pins and needles”
Difficulty walking balanced
Loss of appetite
Swollen, red tongue
Chronic fatigue, constant tiredness
What tests diagnose pernicious anemia?
The only way to find out if your vitamin B12 deficiency has turned into pernicious anemia is to request the following diagnostic tests:
Complete blood count (CBC)
Vitamin B12 blood levels
Methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels
Holotranscobalamin II levels
Bone marrow examination
What is the treatment for pernicious anemia?
Patients of pernicious anemia need to get routine doses of vitamin B12 supplements, usually in the form of vitamin B12 shots. The amount and frequency of B12 injections depend on the severity of the pernicious anemia symptoms.
For extra doses of vitamin B12 between doctor visits, B12-anemia patients have the option of supplementing with over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12, as well.
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.
Adult ADHD misdiagnosed as anxiety? Roughly, eight million adults have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and that number is probably greater, as very few men or women with ADHD ever receive a diagnosis.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that affects boys and girls equally. Sixty percent of child ADHD carries into adulthood, regardless of sex, accounting for 4.4 percent of all American adults, according to psychological research.
Sadly, a disproportionately high number of adults who suffer from ADHD will ever see the connection, and an even lower percentage of women than men who seek mental health therapy are ultimately diagnosed with adult ADHD disorder.
Symptoms of adult ADHD include:
Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
Difficulty following directions
Lack of organizational skills
Moodiness, anxiety, and depression
Difficulty making work deadlines or long-term goals, procrastinates
Gets easily distracted while reading
Low self-esteem, pessimistic personality
Tendency towards addiction to things such as gambling, food, drugs, shopping, or video games
Eating disorders, seeking comfort in food
Low tolerance for frustration
Difficulty maintaining healthy relationships
Why is there a gender bias towards males in ADHD?
In female psychology, many factors exist that would complicate a diagnosis of ADHD.
Physicians often ascribe underlying ADHD symptoms, including low sense of self-worth, depression, frustration, and moodiness to “female problems.” Often they’re correct in diagnosing stress, depression, or premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in their female patients, but they fail to catch any clues suggesting adult ADHD.
1. The myth of male ADHD
There is a public misconception that attention deficit disorder (ADD) and ADHD are male disorders. As a result, women who experience ADHD symptoms are not likely to seek a diagnosis, and doctors who treat them are equally unlikely to suggest treatment for ADHD.
2. It’s just anxiety
Adults and children with ADHD tend to suffer from anxiety or depression, as well. Therefore, when women ADHD sufferers seek psychiatric help for their emotional problems, they receive prescriptions for anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants, but the question of ADHD medication, such as Ritalin or Concerta, is never considered.
For many years, people viewed ADD/ADHD disorder as primarily a children’s problem. Only recently has adult ADHD caught the public’s eye, but the notion of grown-ups receiving ADHD medication is still far from mainstream.
4. It’s just girls being girls
Girls, as a whole, tend to be more chatty, impulsive, and passionate than boys- characteristics that are typical of ADHD. Therefore, it’s not unusual for young women who are hyperactive, overenthusiastic, or driven by their emotions to seek help for ADHD.
5. Learning how to fake it
Women are very self-conscious of their social standing. Likewise, girls with ADHD often learn certain defense mechanisms by the time they reach adulthood, effectively masking their social difficulties and feelings of awkwardness. Nevertheless, problems with low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety remain.
6. I am woman…
Today’s woman wears many “hats;” she is expected to hold down a salary, keep the household clean and orderly, and be a nurturing parenting role model to her children and wife to her husband. It’s no wonder, then, that women who struggle to make ends meet, despite suffering from ADHD, chalk it up to modern-day stress.
7. Self-fulfilling prophecy
Women with ADHD develop a “learned helplessness.” When things don’t go the way they’ve planned, or they have difficulty meeting others’ expectations or deadlines, they tend to just give up, blame themselves, and accept defeat. The same attitude applies to seeking therapy- she dismisses the notion that change is possible. This type of self-fulfilling prophecy becomes a vicious circle of failure and regret.
8. It’s a PMS thing
Hormonal fluctuations cause moodiness, depression, and attention difficulties, thereby masking any underlying symptoms of ADHD in women who suffer from PMS, pre-menopause, or postnatal depression.
Women are at high risk of suffering from iron deficiency caused by heavy periods. Unless you take iron supplements, you could experience symptoms such as disorientation, memory loss, and other delays in cognitive behavior, especially if you also have a disposition for ADHD.
10. It’s personal
Women who grew up in abusive homes may become adults who have personal problems socializing and generally “fitting in,” maintaining organizational skills, and accomplishing long-term goals. Similarly, women with ADD or ADHD who have suffered from a traumatic experience or lack parental role models might never suspect that ADHD is among their many other social problems.
Fibromyalgia patients report feeling fewer and milder fibromyalgia chronic pain symptoms with routine gentle workouts.
Fibromyalgia, or Fibromyositis (FMS), is a debilitating condition in which sufferers often feel excruciating pain for little or no apparent reason.
Other symptoms might include depression, insomnia, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) or chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS).
If you suffer from long-term chronic pain in your muscles, joints, or other areas of your body, yet are unable to isolate any injury whatsoever, then you should visit your doctor and ask for a fibromyalgia screening. Although scientists are still at a loss to explain the causes of fibromyalgia, they have found some effective fibromyalgia treatments to help you cope with the symptoms, including some fibromyalgia approved fitness exercises.
Finding the right workout routine with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue can be intimidating.
On the one hand, even the slightest amount of physical activity leaves you feeling worn out, exhausted, achy, and ill. This phenomenon, “Post-exertional malaise,” often deters fibro sufferers from staying active. However, you can eventually build up your tolerance to post-workout fatigue and slowly raise your endurance level to many kinds of aerobic exercises and strength training.
Many fibromyalgia patients who successfully get past that first “hurdle” report feeling fewer and milder fibromyalgia pain symptoms.
Below are some light exercises that you can practice 3-5 days per week. As with any new fitness program, consult your doctor first.
1- Bike Riding:Bicycle riding is a fun exercise that can be adapted to suit many levels. Start out small- avoid hilly areas, choose a short-term goal, such as circling the block once, and pace yourself.
2- Stationary Bike:If you belong to a gym, sign up for a beginners spinning class. There are also many virtual spinning classes, both on YouTube and DVD, which can provide a great home workout.
3- Walking:Walking is a great low-impact sport for pain sufferers. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes, pick a comfortable route, and grab a friend! People who walk in pairs are more likely to stick to their routine, and find it easier to complete their workout. If weather permits, take a nice nature walk or stroll in the sunshine, but if it doesn’t, you can still hit the indoor mall before the morning rush for a bit of brisk “window shopping.”
4- Jogging:Light jogging is like running, only more controlled and less strenuous. If you want to increase your energy without compromising your leg muscles, then try alternating five minutes of jogging with five minutes of brisk walking, and work up to fifteen-minute sessions of each. Choose soft, grassy, or sandy paths, if possible, and try to avoid jogging on hard surfaces, which can cause knee injuries.
5- Treadmill:Walking on the treadmill is a great indoor alternative to stationary biking, and an excellent way to get the heart pumping. As with jogging, be on the alert for any sign of swelling, which could indicate knee injury.
6- Swimming: Swimming is one the best, non-injurious cardiovascular workouts for people who suffer from chronic pain, particularly arthritis. Individuals who have difficulty with most types of physical activity often have an easier time incorporating water aerobics or lap swimming into their daily workout.
7- Golfing: Golfing is an enjoyable sport, but it can be strenuous on the lower back muscles. Get your doctor’s okay before heading out for the golf course. Avoid the urge to join the caddy, and walk your way around the greens for a low-impact aerobic workout.
8- Physical Therapy:A certified physical therapist can teach you how to relieve some of your pain symptoms, enabling you to stick to your daily workout.
9- Yoga: Yoga combines therapeutic deep breathing with gentle stretching of your various muscles, for a relaxing, healing bodily workout. Many fibromyalgia patients have reaped the benefits of yoga in alleviating their chronic pain symptoms.
10- Pilates: Pilates focuses on developing core muscular strength and flexibility, as opposed to merely stretching the muscles. Developed by Joseph Pilates, Pilates is a beneficial exercise for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome patients.
Do not attempt to practice Pilates on your own; a trained Pilates instructor is crucial, in order to avoid injury.
11- Stretching: Stretching exercises are a mandatory pre-workout activity, even if you don’t suffer from chronic pain. Stretching warms up your muscles and increases flexibility, preventing torn muscles, sprains, and other sports injuries.
12- Tai Chi:Similar to yoga, Tai Chi also incorporates controlled movements, deep breathing, and meditation. A growing number of fibromyalgia patients have found relief through these gentle martial arts.
We’ve all heard of overeaters binging themselves into a state of depression- a vicious circle which is difficult to get out of. But eating for happiness?
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is linked with depression
Vitamin B12 is essential for many aspects of brain development, such as myelination (the production of a protective layer around the brain) and the distributing of neurotransmitters to and from the brain. So it comes as no surprise that the Mayo Clinic suggests eating foods rich in vitamin B-12 as a means of preventing the onset of clinical depression.
“Eat to live, don’t live to eat.”
That’sa great motto if you happen to be an android. The fact is, eating is a sensual experience which we were meant to enjoy. (Why else would we have taste buds?) The key to good nutrition is finding foods you love that will love you right back.
Here are some yummy appetizers and entrées which are naturally high in vitamin B-12:
Fish tacos- Made popular by Rubio’s, the fish tacos is a tasty fusion of Cal-Mex and seafood cuisine. Take a soft flour tortilla, add some fiery mango salsa, a dab of sour cream and a grilled fish fillet (hint: salmon is high in B-12). It’s a wrap!
Are you a Sushi lover? Then you’re going to love this- sushi and sashimi recipes typically include such high-in-B12 ingredients as roe (fish eggs), octopus, crab, shrimp, and mackerel. Pass the soy sauce!
New England clam chowder- just the name elicits images of salty sea breezes, sailboats and clam bakes. Don’t have any recipes handy? Here is a list of variations on this classic soup recipe.
Lean cuts of lamb are high in vitamin B-12 and a popular staple of many Middle Eastern cuisines. Here is a flavorful Lamb Moussaka recipe, as featured in epicurious.
Tuna casserole is one of America’s fave comfort foods and it’s simple to make- combine canned tuna, cooked broad noodles, and a can of concentrated mushroom soup. Top it with some fried onions and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. Tuna is high in B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Hamburgers barbecued with low-fat ground beef chuck are a great source of vitamin B-12. Serve it up on whole-grain buns with a side of oven roasted root veggies for a healthy upgrade from the typical artery-clogging burgers ‘n fries.
Out of the teens who received services, 59.8% were diagnosed with attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD); others who were receiving aid were those categorized with some type of defiant conduct behavioral disorder.
Teens who suffered from an anxiety or eating disorder were least likely to have been in any sort of behavioral program- only 20%.
Hispanics and blacks youths who suffered anxiety were less likely to be in treatment than Caucasians.
Girls were more likely than boys to receive therapy for anxiety disorder; boys were more likely to be receiving treatment for AD/HD.
Parents, be on the lookout for depression in your teen; here are 10 warning signs, as reported by Fox News:
Passivity, less inclined to cry when something is troubling her/him
Sudden detachment from activities or interests that were previously enjoyable
Vocalizing feelings which indicate lack of self-worth
Interruption of sleeping habits, like oversleeping
Loss of appetite
Misperception, likeliness to be confused by more things than usual
It might seem like following a healthy diet is less of a priority when faced with the symptoms of depression, but many doctors have found that deficiencies such as low vitamin b12 may contribute to depression; in some cases vitamin b12 deficiency may be the sole reason for the sudden change in behavior.
B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed as clinical depression.
The Mayo Clinic confirms a correlation between b12 deficiency and symptoms of depression. Warning signs of vitamin b12 deficiency include chronic fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, increased violent tendencies, sleep disturbances and loss of appetite. Sound familiar? Many are the same symptoms above-mentioned for clinical depression.
A blood test is required to determine whether vitamin b12 deficiency is present; if you are tested positive then your physician will recommend supplementation, which may be administered as an injection, sublingual tablet, or spray.
A new report by Vanderbilt University reveals a link between depression and inflammatory infection in the brain. Published in the December 2010 issue of Neuropsychopharmacology, these new findings, scientists hope, will bring us closer to understanding the correlation between mental illness and influenza.
Says Dr. Randy Blakely, PhD, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Molecular Neuroscience, “Many people exhibit signs of lethargy and depressed mood during flu-like illnesses. Generally these have been treated as just a consequence of being physically ill, but we think there is likely to be something more brain-centric at work here.”
As part of the Vanderbilt University experiment, rats were injected with inflammatory “flu” cytokines, a chemical which is produced when the body is under attack by influenza. Inflammatory cytokines trigger serotonin transporters (SERT), which inhibit the production of serotonin.
As a result of the diminished level of serotonin affected by increased SERT levels, test rats exhibited behaviors suggesting extreme anxiety and despair. Conversely, rats who were given the cytokines who did not carry the SERT gene showed no change in behavior at all.
SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Prozac and Zoloft are prescribed to patients who suffer from severe depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders. These findings suggest that flu viruses might counter SSRI’s ability to regulate serotonin levels in treating depression.
Scientists hope to use this information to reverse cytokine production during the flu season.
Research is showing that many older people could benefit from getting more vitamin B12 than they currently do. Some 10% to 15% of people over age 60 are outright deficient, and many more are borderline deficient. Their blood levels of B12 are in what’s called a “low-normal” range, and if their doctor isn’t up on the latest research, they won’t be treated for B12 deficiency with supplemental B12. That’s a shame, because research now shows that low B12 can cause all sorts of problems, and that getting an optimal amount can boost brain power, lift the mood, improve bone density,and help to maintain healthy hearing and eyesight.
Here’s what the latest research shows vitamin B12 does:
Brain health: One study found that older people with lower-than-average B12 levels were correlated with signs of brain shrinkage, an early sign of impaired cognitive function and Alzheimer’s disease. Even B12 levels that are above the traditional cutoff for deficiency — and seemingly adequate — may impact cognition in older people. B12 is needed to maintain the fatty myelin sheath that wraps around and protects nerves, including nerve cells in the brain.
Eyesight: Harvard researchers found favorable results for women aged 40 and older who supplemented with 1,000 micrograms of B12. They attribute it to lower levels of the amino acid homocysteine and better antioxidant effects. Both improved blood vessel function in the retina of the eye.
Keeps your hearing sharp. There may be a connection between B12 deficiency and hearing. One study found that low blood levels of vitamin B12 were linked to a higher risk of hearing loss in women in their 60s. Toxic homocysteine may damage the delicate cells that transmit sound waves in the inner ear.
Mental health: A study from the National Institute of Aging found a high incidence of depression in women with low B12 levels. B12 is needed for the production of important brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and melatonin, the “sleep” hormone.
Maintains strong bones. In the Framingham Offspring Osteoporosis Study, people with low B12 levels had lower-than-average bone mineral density. B12 may build stronger bones by aiding osteoblasts, the cells that build bone, and by lowering homocysteine, which weakens bone by interfering with collagen cross-linking, the molecular “stitching” that makes bones strong and flexible.
Older people often don’t absorb enough B12, even when they get enough in their diet. Some experts believe that blood B12 levels should be at least 350 picomoles/liter (or 44 picograms/mL.) It’s a good idea to have your blood level checked if you are over age 50.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency include fatigue, depression, numbness and tingling of the arms and, most commonly, the legs, difficulty walking, memory loss, disorientation, tongue soreness, and appetite loss. Because so many older people are borderline deficient, more experts are recommending anyone age 50 or older get at least 100 to 400 mcg a day of B12.
Your risk for deficiency increases as you get older, and the consequences for your health can be devastating. Taking a B12 supplement is good insurance against deficiency, and B12 supplements are also very well tolerated. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor to check your B12 levels to determine whether you may have a severe deficiency that warrants much higher levels of supplementation.