The Importance of B-12 in Your Diet
One of the top questions patients ask their doctors is what supplements they should be taking. Starting a healthy lifestyle can be overwhelming, but knowing what your body needs daily will allow for you to understand how to make it work.
Most people do not know that a vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the leading nutrient deficiencies worldwide. In fact, a 2004 study showed that this deficiency is a major concern in many parts of the world, including the United States, India, Mexico, Central and South America and many parts of Africa. Studies argue that up to 39% of Americans are deficient in vitamin B12.
Because vitamin B12 is involved in many roles within the body, a deficiency in it will result in many negative symptoms. If you are unfamiliar with B12, read below for a crash course of everything you need to know.
An abundance of benefits
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that works to combat adrenal fatigue, which in turn improves your energy levels. It also benefits your mood, memory, skin, hair, digestion and heart health. Because it helps with several metabolic functions like enzyme production, DNA synthesis, and hormonal balance, vitamin B12 works to maintain the health of the body’s nervous and cardiovascular systems.
The signs of deficiency
Because many of the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency are very common, it can be difficult to trace them back to a diagnosed deficiency. The best way to get a definite diagnosis is a blood test that measures the levels of B12 in your body.
Some symptoms of a deficiency include chronic fatigue, inability to maintain focus, muscle ache and weakness, joint pain and poor memory. You may also experience mood changes, depression, anxiety, dizziness, poor appetite and heart palpitations.
Who is at greatest risk?
Elderly people with impaired digestive systems are typically the most susceptible to having a vitamin B12 deficiency. This is because as we age, we produce less stomach acid and are unable to convert vitamin B12 properly.
Because animal products are typically the best source of vitamin B12, those who are vegan or vegetarian are also more likely to suffer from a deficiency. Other groups that are at high risk include smokers, alcoholics, those who have anemia and anyone with a digestive disorder.
Top sources of B12
A great way to get your daily dosage of vitamin B12 is through the consumption of B12-rich foods. This is typically the best way to consume your necessary vitamins as natural food sources offer a complex system of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and other important substances that supplements cannot usually offer. Some excellent sources include beef and chicken liver, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. Other options are trout, yogurt, turkey, raw milk, beef, and lamb.
For those who are vegan or vegetarian, it is recommended to take a vitamin B12 supplement. If you are diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency, it is also recommended to take a supplement in addition to consuming natural foods rich in B12.
If you are exhibiting symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency and would like to be tested, contact GMP Medical at 305-823-2433. We will work with you to determine the source of your symptoms so you can start feeling your best.
September 25, 2017 4:28 pm