Do You Need More Vitamin B12?

Do You Need More Vitamin B12?

Posted 29 Apr '18

Almost three-fourths of the vitamins that are required in our diet belong to the vitamin B-group. The B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they need to constantly be replenished as we urinate them out constantly. They play a crucial role in every cell in our body, meaning they are used in the red blood cell production, metabolism regulation, cellular energy production, and nerve cell formation.

The B vitamins help the body use the energy from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Taking in the recommended daily intake will make you feel full of energy, ready to face anything.

One unfortunately disadvantage of water soluble vitamins like Vitamin B12 is that our bodies only have limited abilities to store large amounts of it. A poor diet therefore can easily lead to deficiency, so it is crucial that you eat a healthy balanced diet daily to ensure that you are getting sufficient amounts of these vitamins. Furthermore if your demands or genetic favour a lower amount in your blood, then you can expect a deficiency in your cellular function and lower energy production.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

One B vitamin that is most commonly found to be deficient during tests is the vitamin B12. It is important to understand that there are different tests available to measure Vitamin B12 and if you have been told you are ok, then it might not be entirely true. As a very basic rule, look for the “active B12” on the blood pathology results which shows considerably different levels to a straight Vitamin B12 test.

Those who are at a higher risk of being deficient in vitamin B12 are:

  • Those who are observing restricted diets such as vegans and vegetarians
  • People aged 50 and above and suffering from a full life which has taken its toll on their bodies.
  • Anyone suffering from digestive issues or malabsorption problems associated with IBS or other bowel issues
  • Autoimmune conditions which often also have an attack on the parietal cells in the stomach.

Deficiency in vitamin B12 is often misdiagnosed because of the symptoms being common in other health conditions. These could include weakness and fatigue, poor memory and concentration, and more. If the deficiency is left untreated, it may lead to neurological disorders, anaemia, or vision loss.

Required daily values

Anyone over 14 years of age should be consuming a minimum amount of  5 ug daily through food. Pregnant women and breastfeeding have higher requirements, being 10ug per day. In reality though, much higher therapeutic dosages are required because of environmental and lifestyle situations. Taking a supplement with 500ug a day is almost always ok in short term use to build deficiencies up in the body. Of course it is always advised to consult a practitioner first before self prescribing without a full picture of your health issues.

How do you increase your vitamin B12 intake?

  1. Fortified foods. Some packaged foods are fortified with vitamin B12. These foods include some cereals, plant-based milks, and soy products. But be extra careful about all other ingredients on the packaged food. Make sure there are no additives or preservatives included.
  2. Take adequate calcium. We need calcium for the proper absorption of B12. 2 to 3 servings of dairy daily is recommended. For women over 50, increase the serving to 4 per day.
  3. Increase the variety of meat or animal-based food products. Meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and offal are all good sources of vitamin B12.
  4. Most importantly, consult with your Practitioner about B12 supplements. They can come in the form of tablets, capsules, or sprays, if you have trouble swallowing. There are also genetic mutations that require some patients to take special types for the best absorption.
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