How To Spot A Vitamin B12 Deficiency And How To Increase Levels Naturally With or Without Meat
Research has indicated that one in four adults are deficient in Vitamin B12, the energy nutrient that your body needs to carry out essent...
Research has indicated that one in four adults are deficient in Vitamin B12, the energy nutrient that your body needs to carry out essential functions. This can lead to several serious health problems, but there are natural ways to increase your levels of this essential vitamin.
Vitamin B12, also known as cyanocobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin and is an vital part of the B vitamin family. B vitamins in general help support adrenal function, help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and are key for metabolic processes.It is also known as the energy vitamin and contributes to many aspects of our health.
Vitamin B12 is also vital to DNA synthesis and maintaining healthy nerve cells. It affects the development and maintenance of red blood cells, nerve cells, and normal myelination (covering) of our nerve cells. It is also required in the production of DNA and RNA, and essential neurotransmitters.
The study in Massachusetts highlighted that up to 25% of the U.S. adult population are deficient in this vitamin (i). If you are constantly feeling weak and easily tired, you are quite likely to be suffering from a Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Without adequate amounts of this vitamin, your body’s ability to perform essential functions is depleted which can have serious consequences. It can also leave you without enough physical, emotional and mental energy to survive through the day.
Insufficient levels have been linked with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, cancer, depression, cardiovascular disease, anemia and sleep issues.
A B12 deficiency can arise from simply not consuming enough vitamin B12 in your daily diet, or you are unable to absorb it. Most animal products contain B12 meaning that vegetarians and vegans in particular should take care to eat it from other sources.
B12 gets stored in your liver, kidneys and other body tissues but some other health problems can limit the absorptions, such as auto-immune conditions, ulcers, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and gastritis. People who have had weight loss surgery involving part of the gut being removed or bybassed could also have a problem in the absorption. Some prescription medication can affect B12 levels such as antacids, some diabetic medications and anti ulcer drugs.
SYMPTOMS OF B12 DEFICIENCY
* constant fatigue and lack of energy
* shortness of breath
* muscle weakness
* pale or yellow skin (jaundice)
* cognitive problems, such as memory loss or lack of concentration
* unexplained weight loss
* stomach upsets
* mood swings
* pins and needles in extremeties
* dry mouth
* general apathy and lack of motivation
HEALTHY LEVELS OF B12
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the average daily U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance(RDA) is:
People age 14 and older 2.4 micro-grams (mcg)
(Although in pregnancy it is 2.6 mcg and if breastfeeding it increases to 2.8 mcg).
HOW TO INCREASE LEVELS OF B12
Beef, liver and clams are especially rich sources of vitamin B12. But all meat, fish , poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy products all contain B12 naturally. For those of you that don’t eat meat, you might want to check out this vegan information.http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/vitaminb12 , some organic snack bars, and yeast spreads like marmite can boost your b12 input. And like always, buy local and organic wherever possible.
Breakfast cereals is another one although tricky to find healthy, trusted ones (try the least processed and sugary options), nutritional yeasts, almond milk and some breads are fortified with B12 and all are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
An additional rich source is spirulina which is a high-protein super food that is made of two species of blue-green algae. Spirulina, like any algae or seaweed, can be contaminated with toxic substances called microcystins. It can also absorb heavy metals from the water where it is grown. For these reasons, it is important to buy spirulina from a trusted brand and always read labels.
For people who cannot absorb enough B12 through diet alone B12 supplements and multivitamins are available. In extreme cases vitamin B12 injections are recommended by healthcare professionals.