Are You Vitamin B12 Deficient?
- Posted on: Mar 15 2018
Are you getting enough vitamin B12 every day? OK, so that’s not a question most of us spend a lot of time thinking about, but it’s a question we take seriously at Infinity Health & Wellness. Vitamin B12 is critical to feeling good and living a healthy life, but a variety of factors can lead to a deficiency. That’s why one of our services is to test and treat B12 deficiency.
What does vitamin B12 do?
Vitamin B12 helps keep your body’s nerve and blood cells healthy, and it helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Getting adequate amounts of B12 helps to prevent a type of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.
For some people, it’s hard to get enough B12. Here’s why. It takes two steps for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food. First, hydrochloric acid in your stomach separates the B12 from the protein to which the vitamin is attached to in food. The second step is for the vitamin B12 to combine with a protein made by the stomach called intrinsic factor. This allows absorption by the body.
You can get vitamin B12 only from animal-based foods or from supplements and the body needs a regular supply because it doesn’t store this vitamin for long.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Most people get enough vitamin B12, but as we age it can become more difficult for our bodies to absorb enough B12. Vegans (meaning you don’t eat any animal products, including meat, milk, cheese, and eggs) and vegetarians who don’t eat enough eggs or dairy are prone to B12 deficiencies. This is also the case for people who have had weight loss surgery or any operations that have removed a part of the stomach. Heavy drinkers and people who’ve taken acid-reducing medications for a long period of time also have trouble absorbing vitamin B12.
If you have these conditions, vitamin B12 deficiency can also be more likely:
- Atrophic gastritis, in which your stomach lining has thinned
- Pernicious anemia, which affects vitamin B12 absorption
- Conditions that affect your small intestine: Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, bacterial growth, and parasites
- Immune system disorders, such as Graves’ disease of lupus
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
- Weakness, tiredness, lightheadedness
- Pale skin
- A smooth tongue
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or gas
- Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, problems walking
- Vision loss
- Mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes
At Infinity Health & Wellness, we can test you for vitamin B12 deficiency, and then design replacement therapy treatment. Call us at (480) 427-4305 to make an appointment or with any questions you may have.
Posted in: Vitamin B12