Vitamin B12 or cobalamin offers tons of health benefits. You can get it from eating beef liver, tuna, chicken, cheese and several other sources. Mainly, it’s provided by animal products. Although plants, too, can provide you with such vitamin, they’re not the richest sources.
Unfortunately, not all people can consume the right amount of vitamin B12, resulting in a deficiency. For adults, the recommended dose is 2.6 micrograms. But how will you know that you’re deficient in this vitamin? What are the signs you must be aware of?
Even if you’ve slept for eight hours, you’re still tired and can stay awake. Fatigue is a sign of having vitamin B12 deficiency. Your body relies on this vitamin to produce RBC that transports oxygen to your organs.
If your body has insufficient oxygen, you’ll feel sluggish regardless of how much sleep you had last night. Then again, fatigue isn’t a conclusive sign that your body isn’t getting enough of this vitamin.
When you’re not getting enough oxygen, your muscles will also feel torpid. As a result, you can’t carry out simple tasks at home or carry a kilogram of a grocery bag. This sluggishness that you feel may be caused by not getting the right amount of B12.
3. Tingling sensation
It’s a strange sensation that feels like an electricity runs from your head to feet. In addition to the tingling sensation, this deficiency may also cause numbness. If you consistently experience them, you may be suffering from a nerve damage, which is usually the result of having little oxygen in the cells.
This vitamin is vital for your mental health. RBCs support a healthy nervous system. It lowers homocysteine, which is a product of a protein metabolism. If your body has a high amount of it, you’ll feel the symptoms of depression. [http://www.health24.com/Lifestyle/Healthy-Nerves/The-nervous-system-Other-B-vitamins-20120721]
It’s one of the reasons people with depression are also advised to supplement their body with B12, in conjunction with antidepressants.
Since this vitamin affects your mental health, it’s natural that you’ll also become absent-minded. If you tend to forget a lot of things, it might be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency and not related to dementia. Consult your doctor or get a blood test to reveal whether or not you have the right amount of this vitamin in your body.
If you get dizzy after exercising or walking up the stairs, then it might be a sign you have this condition. Most of the time, dizziness is the result of this deficiency.
7. Low blood pressure
Both this vitamin and folic acid can cause anemia, leaving to hypotension. Vitamin B12 assists in producing enough oxygen to reach all parts of your body. The problem is that most cardiologists failed to look into this deficiency when they treat their patients with low blood pressure.
That said, it’s best that you choose to have a B12 test if you’re suffering from hypotension.
Having an underactive thyroid function is also linked to vitamin B12 deficiency. Your thyroid gland requires a lot of nutrients so it can produce the right hormones to regulate its functions. That’s why it’s common to see vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with hypothyroidism.
Deficiency of this vitamin can also affect your capability of having a child. It’s actually linked, not just to infertility, but also miscarriages.
One of its reasons is the hypercoagulability because of increased homocysteine levels, leading to a fetal loss. That said, it makes it difficult for you to carry your unborn child to full term. If you’re having this deficiency and experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, it might be best to get a B12 test.
After learning these signs and symptoms, you may ask yourself how you can fix it without having to resort to synthetic medicines?
1. Have your levels examined
It’s easy to assume that you may have this deficiency, especially if you experience those symptoms. To be sure, you should have the levels checked first. It’s especially true if you’re older than 30. You may also undergo homocysteine blood test.
2. Check your medicines
Some synthetic drugs are effective in treating diseases. However, they sometimes cause nutritional deficiency.
One great example is the birth control pill. It’s known to lower B12 level in the body. Not only that, but it also decreases B6, vitamin C, and folic acid.
If you’re taking metformin, it’s known to reduce proper absorption of this vitamin.
You must talk to your doctor if you’re taking medicines that can lower the level of this vitamin in your body.
3. Take B12 supplements
Since supplements of this kind aren’t created equal, you may need to choose the best form of vitamin B12 supplement. For example, if you have a digestive problem, it affects proper absorption of this vitamin. Thus, you may choose to have injections or lozenges.
4. Opt to have it in your diet
Apart from taking a vitamin B12 supplement, you must also consider eating food sources high in this vitamin.
The Liver is one of the richest sources of this vitamin. Per serving of it contains 48 micrograms. Clams, too, is high in this vitamin, along with trout, salmon, and haddock.
What if you’re a vegan?
As previously mentioned, this vitamin naturally occurs in animal products. Thus, if you’re following a vegetarian diet, you’re likely to experience this deficiency. You don’t have a choice but to take vitamin B12 supplement.
Eat green peas as they’re known to contain such vitamin in high amount. What’s great about it is that you can blend these peas to make pesto, if you don’t like having it as a side dish.
Quinoa, too, can help. It’s versatile allowing you to easily add it to your soup during the winter months or sprinkle it to your salad.
Some fortified foods may contain this form of the vitamin. But not all. Make sure to check their labels.
You should also consider taking natural herbs to boost your vitamin B12 intake. What are these herbs? You can try ginger, dandelion, peppermint, chickweed, ginseng, celery and others.