B12: Energy Vitamin Conquers Tiredness

Monday, 09 Sep 2013 09:32 AM

By Stacey Colino

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Have you been experiencing a personal energy crisis lately? If so, you may want to have your levels of vitamin B12 checked. Ditto if you’ve been having symptoms like muscle weakness, constipation, numbness, tingling in your hands and feet, balance problems, depression, brain fog, memory lapses, or unexplained swelling or soreness in your mouth.

Your body needs this water-soluble vitamin for proper formation of red blood cells, neurological function, and synthesis of DNA (the genetic material in all cells), among other reasons. Yet, many people don’t have nearly enough of this vital nutrient in their bodies.

Hidden Deficiency

“It’s a bigger problem than most people think — B12 deficiencies are under-diagnosed and under-recognized,” says Lisa Hark, a Philadelphia-based family nutrition expert and co-author of Nutrition for Life. Research from the prestigious Framingham Study found that 12 percent of older adults were deficient in B12.

Unlike other nutrient deficiencies, lack of B12 often goes unrecognized because the symptoms generally develop gradually, are somewhat vague.

Editor’s Note: 3 Secrets to Never Get Sick Again. Get Super Immunity for Only $4.95. Click here.

Besides draining your energy, a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, and it can damage the nervous system. What’s more, a 2012 study from Australia found that even mild B12 deficiencies are associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.

Who’s At Risk?

Anyone can develop a B12 deficiency, but your risk is especially high if you have a digestive disorder like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease or if you have pernicious anemia (an autoimmune disease that prevents the body from making the intrinsic factor that’s needed to absorb vitamin B12). Vegetarians and vegans are also at risk because only foods that are derived from animals contain B12 naturally.

Medications that are used to treat heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and peptic ulcer disease — such as proton pump inhibitors and histamine H2 receptor antagonists — can slow or block the release of acid into the stomach, thereby interfering with the body’s ability to absorb B12 from food. In addition, Metformin, a drug that’s used to treat diabetes, may also reduce B12 absorption.

Get Tested

A blood test, which your family doctor can order, can usually reveal if you’re deficient in B12. But if there’s any question about a false-normal reading (which can and does happen sometimes), it’s smart to have your levels of homocysteine (an amino acid) and methylmalonic acid (a substance produced when amino acids in the body break down) checked, Hark says. Measures of these substances can get out of whack when a B12 deficiency is present.

Treatment

Treatment for B12 deficiency depends on the cause. If it’s simply because you’re not consuming enough foods rich in B12, increase your intake of fish, shellfish, beef and beef liver, poultry, fortified cereals, milk, yogurt, and eggs.

“If you’re a vegetarian, hemp milk and soy milk are often fortified with B12,” Hark notes, or you can take supplements. The recommended daily intake is 2.4 mcg.

If you’re deficient because your body is not producing enough stomach acid or you’re taking acid-blocking medications, supplements may not work. You may have trouble absorbing the vitamin without enough stomach acid, Hark warns. In that case, a once-a-month injection of B12, available by prescription, may be recommended.

For those who don’t like shots, there’s also a daily sublingual (under the tongue) tablet that passes through the mucous membrane in the mouth and into the bloodstream and a nasal spray that’s used once a week. Keep in mind that a B12 deficiency that’s due to absorption problems requires treatment for life. 

This article first appeared in Health Radar. To find out more, click here.




SPECIAL:What Your Tongue Says About Your Thyroid. See the Photo.

© 2014 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Report: Emails Show Justice Dept. Involved in IRS Tea Party Probe

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 19:01 PM

Embattled former IRS official Lois Lerner last year discussed working with the Justice Department to prosecute nonprofit . . .

White House Census Changes Mask Obamacare Impact

Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 13:55 PM

The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than 30 years, is revising its annual surv . . .

Tributes Planned to Mark Boston Marathon Bombing

Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 06:17 AM

The anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings promises to be a day of tributes to the three people who died, the more  . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved