Vitamin B12 deficiency
Much more than fatigue
Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your blood cells, digestive system, brain, and nervous system. And while fatigue (due to anemia) is sometimes a symptom, recent research shows that many people have vitamin B12 deficiency without anemia or significant fatigue. Instead, they have vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms that are more related to impairments in the nervous system.
Since your body doesn’t make vitamin B12, you’ll need to get it from animal-based foods, injection or from supplements and it needs to be consumed on a regular basis. Exactly how much you need and where you should get it from depends on things like your age, the diet you follow, your medical conditions, and in some cases what medications you take.
Important benefits of vitamin B12
Good nutrition is what your body needs to properly operate. Outlined below are the three main benefits of Vitamin B12:
Benefit #1 – energy
Perhaps the most prominent benefit of B12 is its ability to provide you with more energy by working on a cellular level. Cells are the tiny, microscopic building blocks that make up your body. This is where the food you consume is converted to energy. You could eat all the food you want, but if your cells don’t change it into energy, or use it for maintenance, it would just be wasted. Simply put, B12 helps your body use the carbohydrates, amino acids and fats that you eat.
Your brain also uses a lot of energy. In fact, the brain uses more energy than any other single organ, approximately 20% of your body’s total energy requirements. Another way your energy is boosted is through alertness and mental focus — the B12 energy boost isn’t just for your muscles. When you’re wide awake and feeling great, you know your body is getting the benefit of the food that you eat.
Benefit #2 – nervous system
B complex vitamins help keep the nervous system functioning properly, promoting brain health and regulating stress levels, ultimately providing us with better adaptation when faced with a stressful situation including job-related stress. B vitamins are also an important part of the composition of the brain cells and nerve tissue – all contributing to a very important function of B12 – balancing your mood!
Studies have found that the benefits of a restful sleep can include everything from improved short-term memory and fewer problems with depression to headache prevention and even better driving abilities. Enter B vitamins — whether they’re helping a person feel relaxed and capable of sleep, or they’re helping to improve the quality of that sleep, the B vitamins are there helping on both ends, and B12 is an essential part of this.
Benefit #3 – immune system
The other primary benefit of B12 is for a healthy immune system – your body’s defence network designed to fight infectious organisms, diseases and other invaders.
Some of these benefits are especially helpful from middle-age on. As we age, we are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin B12, which can lead to a variety of health problems, including depression. The most common vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms are:
- Abnormal sensation, typically “pins and needles” of lower legs and feet
- Weakness in the legs
- Memory loss
- Attention deficits
- Sore, swollen, beefy red tongue
- Sores at the corners of the mouth
- Recurrent canker sores
- Shortness of breath on exertion
- Impaired vision
- Lightheadedness or fainting
If you are concerned and would like to be tested for vitamin or mineral deficiencies, we recommend making an appointment with one of our Nutritionists, Amanda Harasym or Anthony Glanville or one of our Integrative GPs who will evaluate and prescribe the most appropriate tailor-made intravenous infusion or intramuscular injections for your needs. Call today on (02) 9252 2225 to make an appointment.