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Posts Tagged ‘vitamin deficiency’

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms that Mimic Aging

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
Are you experiencing early signs of aging…or do you have vitamin B12 deficiency? Symptoms like premature greying, aching joints, and memory loss that normally occur in old age may not be what you think.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms that Mimic Aging- B12 Patch

Vitamin B12 deficiency misdiagnosis

Vitamin B12 is essential for many important biological functions throughout the body; vitamin B12 (cobalamin) helps to maintain neurological health, DNA production, and continuous development of normal red blood cells.

Often, symptoms that indicate vitamin B12 deficiency- memory loss, fatigue, vision problems, and chronic pain- are confused with conditions that occur in aging, such as early-onset dementia, arthritis, and glaucoma.

Because symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency usually don’t occur until middle age, and because old age is often a risk factor for developing vitamin B12 deficiency, finding- and treating- the cause of shared symptoms can be tricky, as the rate of misdiagnosis is unusually high.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and aging

Losing your train of thought

  • Difficulty summoning familiar words
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty integrating new information

Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging

Feeling tired all the time

  • Feeling mentally sluggish
  • Lethargy
  • Constant extreme fatigue
  • Severe muscle fatigue
  • Muscular weakness

Will Vitamin B12 Boost Energy if I don’t have B12 Deficiency? YES!

Confused and disoriented

  • Frequently confused
  • “Brain fog”
  • Poor concentration
  • Dizziness

7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It

Anxious and depressed

  • Irritable
  • Feeling depressed for months
  • Panic attacks
  • Shortness of breath
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Vitamin B12, the Anti-Aging Vitamin that Rocks

Muscles and joints always aching

  • Burning muscle pain
  • Constant muscle pains following exercise
  • Stiff neck muscles
  • Frequent muscle spasms
  • Bone loss

Vitamin B12 and your Bones- Osteoporosis from B12 Deficiency

Arms and legs always “falling asleep”

  • Paresthesia- painful tingling and numbness in extremities (hands, feet, arms, legs)
  • Hands and feet feel “gloved”
  • Unsteady gait
  • Trembling, shakiness
  • Electric-like shocks
  • Frequent tripping or dropping things

Stomach or urinary problems

  • Nausea
  • Stomach not emptying
  • Bloating, flatulence
  • Acid reflux
  • Loss of appetite for B12-rich foods like meat, fish, and cheese
  • Esophageal or stomach ulcers
  • Difficulty emptying or controlling bladder

Aging skin and hair

  • Greying or whitening of hair
  • Premature baldness or hair thinning
  • Pale complexion
  • Dry, itchy skin patches
  • Brittle, thin nails
  • Dents or ridges in nails
  • Mouth sores

Vitamin B12 for Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails

Vision problems

  • Eye floaters
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Night blindness
  • Hypersensitivity to bright light

Fertility problems

  • Reduced libido
  • Low testosterone or estrogen
  • Low sperm count
  • Frequent miscarriages or stillborn births
  • Early onset of menopause

Pregnancy and B12 Deficiency

Treating vitamin B12 deficiency

The most widely-endorsed treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency is supplementation through synthetic vitamin B12 injections. B12 shots are helpful for preventing severe neurological damage or death resulting from pernicious anemia, the most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.

However, for complete alleviation of symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, you may need to supplement beyond the recommended dose of vitamin B12.

Many forms of sublingual or non-dietary over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplements are available to help you achieve the goal of total recovery from vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, and may be taken safely without the need for prescription.

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Share with your friends!

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Like this? Read more:

Aging begins at 45- Tips on how to Prevent Early Memory Loss


It Could Be Old Age, or It Could Be Low B12

Seven Signs that You Might Have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Image(s) courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How long do Vitamins Stay in your Body?

Thursday, November 29th, 2012



Vitamin supplementation is a useful tool for sustaining good health; in order to get the most out of your vitamins, it’s helpful to understand how long your body is able to store vitamins, and how often you need to supply your body with more vitamins and other nutrients in order to avoid vitamin deficiencies.

How long do Vitamins Stay in your Body? B12 Patch

“Am I getting enough vitamins?”

Maintaining normal vitamin levels in your body is crucial for all-over wellbeing, both mentally and physically. If you’re not getting enough vitamins from food, then it’s essential to take daily vitamin supplements, in order to avoid vitamin deficiencies that cause fatigue, disorientation, and pain symptoms.

Your body stores certain vitamins differently, and for varying amounts of time. Fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K remain in your liver and body fat for long time periods. While it’s often beneficial to take daily supplements of vitamins E and D, your chances of developing a deficiency are low.

Water soluble vitamins, however, need to be replenished more often. Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins remain in your body for months, but only with constant renewal. Since they are water-based, vitamin C and vitamin B12 remain in your body for a very limited time period.

In order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency anemia or vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) it’s important to replenish vitamin levels in your body on a daily basis.

Also read: Am I Getting Enough Vitamin B12?

“I eat healthy…how did I get vitamin deficiency?”

Even if you eat a standard diet of lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy oils, you may still require vitamin supplements in order to prevent a vitamin deficiency, as there are numerous factors that inhibit your ability to digest certain vitamins such as vitamin B12.

For example, vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based foods, most notably lean beef, chicken, shellfish, and dairy products. Yet, a growing number of people experience the early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency by the time they reach their 40s, regardless of the diet they keep.

Vitamin B12 malabsorption, the inability to access vitamin B12 from food sources, may result from autoimmune disorders, bariatric surgery, or gastrointestinal disorders. Old age and drug interactions, including metformin for diabetes, are also high risk factors, as they inhibit production of intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme that is crucial for vitamin B12 absorption into the body.

Your body can store vitamin B12 for a limited amount of time, but unless you are able to digest vitamin B12 (cobalamin) naturally, then you will ultimately reach a potentially dangerous depletion of vitamin B12 in your body.

Also read: Vitamin B12 Malabsorption

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Difficulty focusing mentally, or “brain fog”
  • Slow thinking
  • Frequent forgetfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Painful tingling and numbness in the extremities (fingers, hands, toes, feet)
  • Sore, burning tongue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Partial paralysis
  • Sore muscles
  • Difficulty controlling arm and leg movement
  • Frequent stumbling, gait problems
  • Slow nervous impulses
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause neurological damage, psychological disorders, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, or sometimes, in rare cases, death.

Also read: What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia- B12 deficiency?

Prevent vitamin B12 deficiency

If you suffer symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, yet you eat a normal diet of B12-rich foods, then it’s possible that you are unable to digest dietary vitamin B12, and need to replenish vitamin B12 levels through nonedible means.

In other words, it is essential to deposit vitamin B12 directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the need for digestion through the stomach.

Nonedible forms of vitamin B12 include vitamin B12 shots, which often require prescription, depending on the area in which you live and your healthcare plan.

Over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplements are also effective and inexpensive; these offer the liberty to take as much vitamin B12 as you need in order to revitalize energy levels and alleviate painful ailments caused by vitamin B12 deficiency anemia.

Please tell us…

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

Prevent Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Beyond Nutrition


Vitamin B12- Medline Plus

How long do vitamins stay in your body?

Image(s) courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Brainy People are high on B12, according to Brain Health Study

Thursday, December 29th, 2011



A recent study on brain health proves that people who eat a diet rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B12, have healthy brain functioning, and are least likely to suffer from memory problems caused by aging.  Here are the results of the study that focused on senior brain health in relation to diet and nutrition.

Eat this to avoid brain shrinkage…

According to a study published by Neurology, senior citizens in their 80’s who eat a combination of foods high in vitamins and nutrients have better cognitive skills and more brain volume than seniors who fail to meet the requirement.  Blood tests indicated which senior citizens had the highest levels of vitamins like B12 and B6, and which elderly individuals had vitamin deficiency.

The study found that the following vitamins are conducive to good brain health:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate, Folic acid)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D

Scientists also noted that foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for optimal brain health.

…and avoid eating this

Scientists also noted decreased cognitive functioning and less brain volume in senior citizens who ate foods high in trans fats, including fried foods, pizza, margarine, and high-fat packaged goods.

Which foods are highest in vitamin B12?

Here is a list of foods that contain brain-healthy vitamins such as B12, taken from Medline Plus:

  • Vitamin B1, Thiamine: yeast, cereal grains, beans, nuts, and meat
  • Vitamin B2, Riboflavin: milk, meat, eggs, nuts, enriched flour, and green vegetables
  • Vitamin B6, Pyridoxine: cereals, beans, vegetables, liver, meat, and eggs
  • Vitamin B9, Folate: leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts
  • Vitamin B12, Cobalamin: meat, fish, and dairy products
  • Vitamin C, Ascorbic acid: fruits and vegetables, especially citrus, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and greens
  • Vitamin E: vegetable oils, margarine, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens
  • Vitamin D: egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver


How do I know I’m getting enough vitamin B12?

Even if you eat plenty of foods high in B12- lean beef, chicken, seafood, eggs, and cheese-, you are not immune from vitamin B12 deficiency.  People who lack intrinsic factor, a protein produced by the stomach to absorb B12 from food, cannot digest vitamin B12 and are at risk for developing pernicious anemia.

The following individuals must have their vitamin B12 levels checked regularly through blood testing:

  • Senior citizens
  • Patients of gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease
  • Anybody who has had a gastric bypass, or any other surgery involving the removal of the ileum
  • Diabetics on metformin
  • Acid reflux sufferers taking medication for chronic heartburn

Read more about vitamin B12 and brain health:

Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging

How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain

Vitamin B12- How much do you need?

12 Ways to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

Feed your Brain Something You’ll never Forget


Diet Patterns Linked With Brain Health

Vitamins, Omega-3s May Keep Brain From Shrinking: Study

Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging

Image credits, from top:

mtsofan, primerano

Which Tests check Absorption of Vitamin B12?

Thursday, November 10th, 2011



Difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 is sometimes caused by pernicious anemia. Chronic fatigue is one of many symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency- pernicious anemia. In order to test absorption of vitamin B12, some blood tests are required.


What is vitamin B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 is a mineral that we absorb from animal products like meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and milk.  Vitamin B12 is essential for your nervous system, red blood cell production, DNA synthesis, and cognitive functioning.  Without it, you might experience symptoms like fatigue, memory loss, depression, tingling in the hands and feet, altered sense of taste, difficulty walking steadily, and decreased motor control. (Absorbing Vitamin B12, a Metabolic Gastrointestinal Journey)

Who is at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency?

Most people will never experience vitamin B12 deficiency.  That is because generous amounts of B12 are stored in your liver.  However, an increasing number of people are falling victim to low B12 levels- individuals who are unable to absorb vitamin B12 naturally from foods.

People who cannot absorb vitamin B12 are:

  • Individuals who cannot produce intrinsic factor, a protein required for vitamin B12 absorption.
  • Individuals who have had the part of the small intestine responsible for making intrinsic factor removed, as is common procedure in bariatric surgeries (gastric bypass) and gastrointestinal surgeries for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease.
  • Anybody who is unable to produce enough stomach acids in order to absorb vitamin B12- these include the elderly, sufferers of gastric autoimmune diseases, diabetes patients who take metformin, and people who take strong antacid medications for acid reflux, such as heartburn (GERD) sufferers or pregnant mothers.


What if I am not tested for vitamin B12 absorption?

Left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency could result in red blood cell depletion. Other dangerous side effects that stem from being unable to absorb vitamin B12 are elevated risk for heart attack and stroke, neurological damage, and dementia.

If you suspect you might have vitamin B12 deficiency…

  • if you notice symptoms like being tired all the time, talking in slow, unpronounced speech, more difficulty remembering things than normal,
  • if you’ve been diagnosed with comorbid conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, or hypothyroidism, or
  • if you’ve had weight loss surgery or another types of gastrointestinal procedure…

…then it’s crucial that you request a B12 blood test for vitamin B12 levels, in addition to a Schilling test that measures your ability to absorb B12.

(Gastrointestinal Surgery for Crohn’s (IBD) and B12 Warnings)


The vitamin B12 absorption Schilling test

The Schilling test is more than just a test for B12 levels.  WHAT TEST CHECKS ABSORPTION OF VITAMIN B12? WWW.B12PATCH.COMWhile the standard test for vitamin deficiency checks vitamin B12 levels, the Schilling test determines the reason for your problem with absorption of vitamin B12.

There are four stages of the Schilling test for B12:

  • In stage one, you take two doses of vitamin B12; one is an oral radioactive dose of cobalamin, and the other is a vitamin B12 injection. A urine test determines your absorption of B12
  • In stage two, you take another radioactive dose of vitamin B12- this time, with intrinsic factor.
  • Before going on to stage three, you are required to take antibiotics for two weeks.  Next, a lab technician determines if bacterial growth is the cause of your lack of B12 absorption.
  • Finally, stage four determines if your vitamin B12 deficiency results from a pancreatic disorder.  You will take pancreatic enzymes for a few days, followed by another radioactive dose of vitamin B12.

Read more about vitamin B12 absorption:

Cruising for a Bruising? Choose Vitamin B12 Shots or Anemia

Balance your B12, Balance your Nerves

6 Degrees of Vitamin B12- B12 Deficiency and Autoimmune Disease


Schilling test: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Schilling Test- What is a Schilling Test? (PDF)

The Schilling Test & B12- LIVESTRONG.COM

Image credits, from top:

zhouxuan12345678, Genista,  Hey Paul, Horia Varlan

6 Food Cravings that Signal Vitamin Deficiency

Thursday, September 1st, 2011



Unhealthy food cravings are your body’s way of warning you of vitamin deficiency.  Learn how to identify food cravings in your diet for better nutritional health.

Stuart Miles

You only think you want a chocolate milkshake…

Are you a slave to your food cravings?  When you get this indescribable urge to run to the nearest Starbucks and order a Grande Brownie Frappuccino with whipped cream and an extra shot of java juice, do you ever think to yourself,

“Wait a minute…do I really want to drink a sweet, cold, frothy caffeinated beverage right now, or is my brain just trying to tell me that I need to include more phosphorous and chromium in my diet?”


Of course, you don’t.

Before today, you had no idea that there was any connection between your craving for sweet iced coffee and phosphorous deficiency.

Now, you know.

What your body really wants…

When you don’t follow a healthy diet, replete with vitamins and essential minerals, then your body will find a way to tell you to change your diet.  Food cravings are your body’s way of asking for more of what it needs:

  • Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Magnesium
  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • And more…

Learning how to decode your body’s messages…

Fortunately, all you need is a good “owner’s manual” to figure out which foods you need to add to your diet.

Below are 6 typical unhealthy cravings, and which healthy foods and nutritional supplements you should substitute:


1- If you crave sugary sweets like candies, cookies, cakes, and donuts, then you really need:

  • Chromium- sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes, beets, whole grains, and meat and fish
  • Phosphorus- whole grains, cottage cheese, peanut butter, chicken, sunflower seeds, and nuts
  • Sulfur- cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower), meat, fish, egg yolks, garlic, and onions
  • Tryptophan- cheese, yogurt, meat, poultry, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds


2- If you crave chocolate and other acidic foods, then you really need:

  • Magnesium- raw pumpkin seeds, dark leafy greens (spinach, Swiss chard), fish, and beans


3- If you crave coffee or tea, then you really need:

  • Phosphorus- whole grains, cottage cheese, peanut butter, chicken, sunflower seeds, and nuts
  • Sulfur- cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower), meat, fish, egg yolks, garlic, and onions
  • NaCl (salt)- Sea salt


4- If you crave fizzy sodas, then you really need:

  • Calcium- milk, cheese, yogurt, canned salmon (bone-in), sardines, dark leafy greens, beans, broccoli, okra, and sesame seeds

5- If you crave alcoholic drinks, then you really need:

  • Protein- Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and soy products
  • Calcium- milk, cheese, yogurt, canned salmon (bone-in), sardines, dark leafy greens, beans, broccoli, okra, and sesame seeds
  • Glutamine- glutamine supplements
  • Potassium- winter squash, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, yogurt, halibut, and orange juice


6- If you crave tobacco, then you really need:

  • Silicon- whole grains, asparagus, cucumbers, cabbage, dandelion greens, onions, corn, and beets
  • Tyrosine- lean meats and poultry, white cheeses, egg whites, soy products, seaweed, spinach, whole grains, nuts, and seeds

Related reading:

7 Days of Refreshing, High Energy Smoothies without Caffeine

8 Great Gluten-Free Copycat Recipes, Larabars and Babycakes +


Top 10 Cravings and Their Healthy Food Choices

Food Cravings and What they Mean

Naturopathyworks – food cravings

Cravings & Vitamin Deficiencies

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net, basheertome

“I’ve heard of the X Factor and Fear Factor…But what’s Intrinsic Factor?”

Sunday, May 15th, 2011



What is intrinsic factor, and how does it affect my vitamin B12 levels? Here are some facts about digesting vitamin B12 wit intrinsic factor, and why you might not be.

“I’ve heard of the X Factor and Fear Factor…But what’s Intrinsic Factor?” www.b12patch.com “I’ve heard of the X Factor and Fear Factor…But what’s Intrinsic Factor?” www.b12patch.com

No, it’s not a new television show about bonding with your inner child-

Intrinsic factor is an essential antibody which allows you to bond with vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is found in many high protein foods, but unless you have intrinsic factor your body isn’t able to grab the B vitamins needed to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.

“Does my body really need vitamin B12? Aren’t all B vitamins alike?”


Many of the B vitamins complement each other, but each has its own specific task.

Vitamin B12 has some very important duties which are vital for your survival. If your body doesn’t get sufficient vitamin B12, then it will be unable to perform some of these essential functions.

Vitamin B12 is crucial for:

  • Maintaining the myelin sheathe which protects nerve cells, such as those in our hands, mouth and feet
  • Directing brain-to-body communication through neuron activity
  • Curbing homocysteine levels, which are linked with increased risk for heart attack or stroke
  • Producing red blood cells needed to carry oxygen throughout the body and protect the immune system
  • DNA synthesis
  • Supporting memory retention in people with early signs of age-related dementia

“Which foods are high in vitamin B12?”

Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in food sources which are high in protein. The foods that have high levels of B12 are:

  • Meat, including lean beef chuck, veal and liver.
  • Poultry, such as boneless chicken or turkey breast
  • Fish, including salmon, tuna and halibut
  • Shellfish, particularly crabmeat, clams, oysters and mussels
  • Dairy products, including Swiss cheese, yogurt and milk.
  • Eggs

Vegans are urged to take daily vitamin B12 supplements in order to prevent vitamin deficiency, as their diet specifically excludes food sources which are rich in vitamin B12.

Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Three Reasons Why You Might Not Be

“Okay. So, I eat plenty of protein foods. Do I still need to worry about vitamin B12 deficiency?”

Yes.  Individuals who lack intrinsic factor are unable to properly digest B12 naturally from foods and risk becoming severely deficient in vitamin B12. Some people don’t realize they have low B12 levels until they start experiencing some the characteristic symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. These include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Occasional dizziness
  • Difficulty with balance and coordination
  • Altered taste perception
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet

Left unchecked, severe vitamin B12 deficiency
could lead to irreversible neurological damage,
heart attack, or stroke.

“I’ve heard of the X Factor and Fear Factor…But what’s Intrinsic Factor?” www.b12patch.com “I’ve heard of the X Factor and Fear Factor…But what’s Intrinsic Factor?” www.b12patch.com

“How can I find out if I’m suffering from B12 deficiency?”

The only way to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency is through a blood screening. Some physicians don’t include vitamin B12 blood testing with yearly checkups, so it’s important to ask your doctor to check your vitamin B12 levels in order to avoid deficiency. Chronic B12 deficiency patients are advised to get their B12 levels checked on a regular basis. Also read: Worried about Low B12 Lab Results?

“Which people are at risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency?”

There are many individuals who must supplement with B12 vitamins, either because they don’t have the intrinsic factor hormone, or because they lack the stomach acids needed to utilize vitamins such as B12; these include gastric bypass patients, people who take regular antacid medication for heartburn or individuals with autoimmune or gastrointestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or AIDS. Other individuals who must take regular vitamin B12 supplements are vegans, strict vegetarians and diabetics who take metformin.

“What kinds of vitamin B12 supplements are available?”

There are several forms of vitamin B12 supplementation; these include:

  • Vitamin B12 injections. For treating chronic B12 deficiency, physicians will often prescribe routine B12 shots. These injections are painful, as they must be inserted in the dense muscular flesh below the buttocks. Some patients are given one round of vitamin B12 shots once per week, for 3-4 weeks, while others with severe vitamin B12 deficiency require a more extended regimen of B12 injections.
  • Sublingual vitamin B12 tablets. These are dissolvable pills which are placed under the tongue. Physicians might recommend daily B12 pills as a preventative measure against vitamin B12 deficiency. Some questions have been raised as to the effectiveness of B12 pills, and there are reports that sublingual B12 tablets aren’t absorbed efficiently enough to prevent long-term vitamin B12 deficiency.

Read more about the risks associated with vitamin B12 deficiency:

B12 Deficiency: Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

Gut Bugs:Winning the Bacteria Battle

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Winning the Bacteria Battle

Ever wonder what that rumbling in your tummy really means? Some say that it’s hunger growling for more food. But it could be the battle cry of bacteria as they fight it out for life or death in your digestive tract.

Yes, there’s a lot more action going on in your stomach than you probably realize. About 100 trillion microbes reside in your belly. Some of these are “good” bacteria- the kind that keep house by helping you digest food, utilize vitamins such as vitamin B12, boost your immunity, even protect you from the common cold. These beneficial bacteria are the ones you want living in your body.

But you share a common enemy- “bad” bacteria which constantly try to weaken the defenses, leading to such illnesses as autoimmune disorder, depression, allergies or Crohn’s Disease.

So how can you win the war?

1) Support the troops

Winning the Bacteria Battle

Intestinal bacteria thrive on prebiotics, high-fiber foods such as artichokes, bananas, barley, flax seed and onions. These nutrients are essential for preventing irritable bowel syndrome, aiding calcium absorption, and decreasing diarrhea caused by antibiotics.

2) Recruit more soldiers

Winning the Bacteria Battle

You can add to the number of good bugs by ingesting them in the form of probiotics, live microorganisms which are found in certain food products. Not all probiotics are the same, though; there are different strains to meet different health needs.  For example, Lactobacillus casei, which is found in some yogurts, has been proven to prevent ear infections and gastrointestinal infections in children. For irritable bowels, Bifidobacterium infantis has been proven helpful.

3) Maintain your defenses


Antibiotics might be good at killing infections, but they also kill off your beneficial bacteria. Doctors are hesitant to prescribe antibiotics for that reason, as a correlation exists between high antibiotic usage and weakened immune systems. In fact, Stanford University recently reported that taking two rounds of antibiotics within six months of each other may result in a deficiency in beneficial bacteria. Heartburn medicine has also been found to interfere with healthy microorganism production.

If you must take antibiotics, just make a point of supplementing the ratio of good bugs by taking probiotic pills, eating a healthy diet of greens and legumes and completing your antibiotic prescription, so that you won’t need to repeat it again.


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