Do you suffer from any of the following symptoms?
- Fatigue, tiredness, or light-headedness
- Rapid heartbeat or difficulty breathing
- Poor memory or difficulty concentrating
- Numbness and tingling of hands or feet
- Difficulty with balance, poor coordination
- Pale Skin
- Sore Tongue
- Easy Bruising or Bleeding Gums
- Upset Stomach
- Unexplainable Weight Loss
- Depression, irritability, paranoia, mania, hallucinations
What is vitamin B12 and what does it do?
The National Institute of Health defines Vitamin B12 as a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.
Two steps are required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food. First, hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates vitamin B12 from the protein to which vitamin B12 is attached in food. After this, vitamin B12 combines with a protein made by the stomach called intrinsic factor and is absorbed by the body. Some people have pernicious anemia, a condition where they cannot make intrinsic factor. As a result, they have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from all foods and dietary supplements.
How common is vitamin B12 deficiency?
B12 deficiency is common and reported to affect up to 25% of the U.S. population. Up to 20% of people over the age of 60 years old show marginal B12 status. The CDC reports, one out of every 31 Americans over 50 are B12 deficient.
Am I getting enough vitamin B12?
Most people in the United States get enough vitamin B12 from the foods they eat. But some people have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from food. Your doctor can test your vitamin B12 level to see if you have a deficiency.