Do we get enough vitamin B12 in our diet or is it necessary to take supplements?
We all know that it is important to take in the right amounts of vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy, right? And, you would have to live in a cave not to be constantly assaulted with news reports about the lack of nutrients in today’s diet. Genetic modification, pesticides, pollutants in the air and water and who-knows-what added to the food consumed by cows, pigs and chickens make it extremely difficult to have faith that what ends up on our plates is actually good for us.
What do we do? Most of us periodically prowl the aisles of health food stores or the section with vitamins in our local supermarket. Good intentions soon turn to frustration. There are long shelves lined with displaying the alphabet. Which ones do we need? What is a healthy dose versus one that may cause more harm than good?
Too often, we end up being overwhelmed and head for the ice cream aisle!
Not to knock the benefits of an occasional frozen treat but there is a better way. That Klondike bar may make you feel better for a moment, but consistently supplying your body with the nutrients it needs will do far more. Your choices are to either spend some time educating yourself on the subject of vitamins or consulting with a healthcare professional who can get you on the right track.
Importance of Vitamin B12
This investment in your health will pay off in every area of your life. There may be no better example than the importance of making sure you maintain the optimum level of vitamin B12. There are a whole series of B vitamins, but B12 is one of the most important. It is essential in producing DNA and red blood cells, as well as for the proper functioning of the nervous system and other processes throughout the body.
The human body is an amazing biomechanical organism, but it cannot do everything all by itself. It requires B12, but, like most vitamins, the body must get them from an outside source. Because of the above-mentioned issues with our modern diet or through poor eating habits or other issues, many people do not take in the necessary amount of B12. Vegans are particularly vulnerable, as are older people, those with gastrointestinal absorption issues and anyone who has had weight-loss surgery.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
It can be difficult to detect B12 deficiency because the signs and symptoms are all over the map and are often mistaken for something else. Plus, the onset can be gradual, with the level of intensity increasing slowly over time, or they can come on all of a sudden. Some of the symptoms associated with a deficiency of B12 include:
- fatigue or general tiredness
- depression, paranoia or even hallucinations
- numbness in hands and feet
- tingling or burning sensation in hands and feet
- coordination and balance issues when walking
- difficulty focusing or having memory loss
- sleep issues
- hair loss
- loss of appetite
- swollen tongue
What determines the need for supplements?
In a perfect world, we would all have an abundant supply of organic, farm-to-table food that is loaded with every possible vitamin and mineral. Since most of us do not currently live in that world, the next best option is supplementation. If your healthcare professional has determined that you need additional B12, you can choose oral supplements or B12 injections. Both are effective, but oral supplements are slower and not all of the nutrient is absorbed by the body.
If your B12 deficiency is at all significant, your physician may recommend a series of B12 injections to return this important nutrient to its proper levels as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may be at increased risk of a compromised immune system and susceptible to a wide range of diseases and medical issues.
The Southern California Center for Anti-Aging focuses on the practice of advanced, preventive and regenerative medicine. We strongly believe correcting imbalances and deficiencies in nutrition, along with improving fitness and balancing and restoring hormones with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, can help with creating the foundation for a healthier and happier life. To learn more about our holistic approach or if you have questions about any of our services, take advantage of our Free Consultation by clicking here to use our convenient online form.