Vitamin B12 Deficiency And What Foods Can Help
You have probably heard of a vitamin B12 deficiency, but do you know what the signs and symptoms are? Do you know how to elevate your vitamin B12 levels to a healthy level?
Many people are deficient in Vitamin B12 and not even aware of their deficiency. It isn’t until symptoms amplify that they realize something is wrong. By then, it could be a severe deficiency.
What Is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in our bodies. It is one of the eight “B” vitamins. Unfortunately, as a vitamin that our bodies cannot produce, we rely solely on dietary sources to meet these needs.
Deficiencies can negatively impact blood, the nervous system, and the gastrointestinal tract. To understand how critical this vitamin is, you must know that it is involved in the metabolism of all cells within your body.
Let’s explore some of these roles of Vitamin B12:
- Increased Energy
- Production of Healthy Red Blood Cells
- Neurologic Functions
- Mood Regulation
- Short Term Memory
- Cardiovascular Health
- Thyroid Health
- Liver Health
- Sex Hormone Balance
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
You may not even notice signs of vitamin B12 deficiency right away. However, as the days go on, you could experience more fatigue, chronic pain, and other symptoms while chalking these up to being overworked or overstressed.
Deficiency signs can be any or all of the following:
- Short Term Memory Loss
- Hormone Imbalances
- Chronic Pain
- Thinning Hair
- Heart Disease
Who Is Susceptible To Vitamin B12 Deficiencies?
There are certain groups of people who are known to be more susceptible to deficiencies. Persons with autoimmune disorders, absorption issues, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, acid reflux, alcoholism, certain medications, and people over the age of 50.
Although a deficiency in B12 is usually due to a lack of dietary intake, it can also be due to malabsorption, such as in persons who have had gastric bypass.
How To Increase My Vitamin B12?
Have no fear, vitamin B12 is here! Seriously though… Vitamin B12 can be obtained through our food or through supplements. Food sources include, nutritional yeast, seaweed, and mushrooms. You can try this Porccini mushrooms risotto!
As you can see from the list of food sources, the list of options may not be too long. That’s way we might require supplementation to maintain adequate levels. There isn’t a consensus on what B12 levels are ideal, nor does there seem to be a concern about an upper limit. Toxicity does not seem to be a concern since there is no upper limit.
Additionally, depending upon the symptoms, a simple blood test may provide enough information, while for other symptoms, it may be mistaken for a folate deficiency. Your medical professional will be able to narrow down a deficit with appropriate tests based on your symptoms.
Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in your health and wellness. Since a deficiency can impact the metabolism of every cell within your body, maintaining adequate levels is critical to your overall health.