Feeling tired all the time? Memory not what it used to be? Struggling to complete physical tasks that you used to normally take in your stride?
All these are common complaints that can result from a myriad of different medical problems… but there is often just one cause that links them all – vitamin B12 deficiency.
We get B12 from animal products such as meat, fish, milk and eggs. It is one of the water-soluble B vitamins which is bound to protein within food. However, you may be struggling to get enough through a healthy diet as it is notoriously hard to absorb through the gut.
What does vitamin B12 do?
Vitamin B12 helps the body’s ability to reduce the onset of fatigue and increase concentration levels by contributing to a normal energy metabolism.
Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells and the development and normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, particularly those aspects which determine concentration, learning, memory and reasoning.
Sources of vitamin B12
We get B12 from animal products such as:
- Red meat
- It can also be found in fortified foods
However, you may be struggling to get enough through a healthy diet as it is notoriously hard to absorb through the gut due to its large molecular size.
Who needs vitamin B12?
B12 is a notoriously difficult nutrient to absorb in the gut. At most only 1% of our dietary intake will be absorbed by the body. Diet and life-stages also have an impact on your vitamin B12 requirements, most notably:
Vegetarians and vegans
Who may have restricted B12 intake due to limited diet.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers
Not only essential for the mother but vitamin B12 crosses the placenta during pregnancy and is present in breast milk.
Those with malabsorption issues
As we age our secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach reduces and we become more vulnerable to depletion.
With increased workout intensity the body will develop nutritional imbalances effecting stamina, strength and performance.
Can help energy levels when traveling, particularly over long distances where sleep patterns are disrupted.
Pernicious Anemia Sufferers
Can be used between injections to help boost vitamin b12 levels.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
B12 is a notoriously difficult nutrient to absorb in the gut. At most only 1% of our dietary intake will be absorbed by the body, and that relies on digestive efficiency and the presence of a chemical called intrinsic factor.
Deficiency can occur at any age and in the past, we have associated deficiency with growing older and our inability to extract the large molecule from our diet. However, more and more children and teenagers are being diagnosed with a deficiency. In extreme cases deficiency (known as pernicious anaemia) can cause severe nerve damage.
Our livers hold large stores of B12 and deficiency tends to develop over many years and because symptoms can easily be mistaken, diagnosis is often missed. Symptoms vary but include one or more of the following: fatigue, vague mental fogging and memory problems, depression, weakness, pins and needles in the hands and feet, and an unsteady walk.
The most common causes of vitamin B12 deficiency are:
- An autoimmune condition – pernicious anaemia
- Food-bound vitamin B12 malabsorption
- Restricted diets
- Increasing age
Tiredness, stress, ill-health, poor or limited diet will all reduce this absorption further.
How do I raise my vitamin B12 levels?
A B12 supplement can be the easiest way to raise your B12 levels. As a water-soluble vitamin there is no upper daily limit to how much you can take. However, because of the difficulty in absorbing such a large molecule, tablets and capsules are notoriously difficult for the gut to break down and digest.
A daily B12 oral spray, applied directly onto the inner cheek of the mouth, it avoids over-reliance on our digestive system. Absorption commences immediately. It’s fast, it’s convenient and it tastes great.
Our work with the Pernicious Anaemia Society
There are many people who suffer with Pernicious Anaemia and have insufficient levels of B12. This is not a problem with the blood but rather with the digestive system. Some people do not produce the intrinsic factor which hampers their absorption of B12, however this is a very small percentage of Pernicious Anaemia sufferers. The majority of people do produce the intrinsic factor but for some unknown reason, they also produce something that kills off the intrinsic factor, Anti-Intrinsic Factor Antibodies.
If you have been diagnosed with pernicious anaemia by your doctor he will undoubtedly have prescribed a course of B12 injections. Depending upon you level these will be weekly, monthly or every three months and vary in dosage levels. However, this form of treatment often results in symptoms returning before the next injection is due and this is one vital service BetterYou Boost B12 oral spray delivers.
With thanks to BetterYou for this article about the importance of B12. You can read the original piece here.