Recently someone close to me had been feeling more tired than usual. He was exhausted at work. Could hardly concentrate. Woke up after a full night’s sleep feeling just as fatigued as the night before. So he went to get his bloodwork done and found out that he was deficient in Vitamin B12.
And the first thing he said?
“I’ve heard of B12 but never really thought about it as being a major factor to my health.”
Neither had I.
So this post is about B12 deficiency and how it can affect you.
Vitamin B12 is one of the eight B vitamins. It works with folate to form red blood cells and keep your nerve tissue healthy. B12 is found in liver, caviar, oysters, mussels, lobster, lamb, cheese, eggs and fish. However, people with conditions such as pernicious anemia, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, those with a poor diet, people on certain medications and those who are vegetarian/vegan can find themselves deficient.
Like my friend, one of the biggest symptoms of B12 deficiency is fatigue. Other symptoms include anemia, depression, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and weight loss.
If you suspect you have a deficiency, I’d strongly err against self-diagnosis! Talk to your GP about getting a blood test and go from there. I wouldn’t recommend taking supplements without having testing done because, although B12 is a low risk vitamin for toxicity, it could be a different vitamin that is causing your symptoms.
My friend is now taking B12 supplements and he’s slowly, but surely, feeling a lot better. He’ll get tested again in a few weeks to see if his B12 level has risen to the normal range. Bottom line: If something’s not quite right, get it checked out and it could be a (fairly) simple fix. Prolonged B12 deficiency leads to a whole host of nasties and a good level can potentially protect you against dementia, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer risk.
Until tomorrow xx