Vitamin B12 also known as Cobalamin is a water soluble vitamin that has an essential role in brain function, production of DNA and red blood cells. Though often told their B12 levels are “normal”, many people are hanging right on the edge of normal and their borderline Vitamin B12 deficiencies are impairing their brain and the rest of their body. Could you be one of these people?
Vitamin B12 deficiencies can be sneaky but with time have the potential to cause serious harm. The liver stores some B12 so deficiencies develop slowly over time and cause gradual changes that are hard to identify. Fatigue, numbness, difficulty thinking, and weakness are all potential signs of Vitamin B12 deficiencies that could be a flag for deeper issues occurring in your body. There are many things that can deplete B12, pharmaceutical drugs being one of them. Many chemotherapy patients get peripheral neuropathy that can often be toned down with B12 supplementation. Unlike other vitamins, Vitamin B12 cannot be made by the body and the absorption of it depends on a protein in the stomach called intrinsic factor. Production of intrinsic factor is dependent on having enough hydrochloric acid in your stomach so the use of anti-acid drugs can put you at risk for a B12 deficiency.
The only naturally occurring sources of Vitamin B12 are found in animal foods and those produced by animals. Some particularly good sources of Vitamin B12 include ground beef, liver, eggs, and milk. Fortified foods with Vitamin B12 can sometimes be found in alternative animal products such as almond milk and soy based vegetarian products. Vegetarians, elderly, and those that have had intestinal surgery are at a high risk of becoming Vitamin B12 deficient.
Vitamin B12 shots are a very effective way to reverse a deficiency and are often the most efficient way to address the immediate problems and prevent serious consequences. If you are at risk or deficient, a simple injection and some diet changes can help to put you on the right path. If you think you might have a B12 deficiency talk to us about it so we can investigate it further.