Do you often feel tired or low energy? Do you find it hard to focus as the day wears on, and yet at night, have a hard time falling asleep? Do you find that little things bother you more than they should, and that you sometimes feel anxious or emotionally unstable for no discernable reason? If you’ve experienced several of the above, there could be one simple cause behind your discomfort: you may be suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in a variety of essential physiological processes and is necessary for maintaining normal energy levels, promoting nerve health and neurological activity (including mental alertness and healthy stress response), and producing melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone. Furthermore, B12 supports healthy cardiac function, maintains healthy cell growth, and promotes normal immune, digestive, and metabolic function.
Previously, many experts were under the impression that only strict vegetarians were at high risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. This was believed because the majority of B12 sources are animal products, and plant sources of the vitamin often deliver uptake inhibitors for the essential nutrient. However, B12 deficiencies have been found to be much more widespread than initially thought, especially among those in their senior years. According to some experts, nearly one fourth of people over age 60 are B12 deficient. Furthermore, suboptimal levels of B12 are increasingly common in other age groups as well. Why?
A B12 deficiency is not dependent on diet alone: digestion and assimilation of the vitamin play an equally key role. In today’s society, our diets do little to promote digestive health. In fact, the standard American diet takes quite a toll on our intestinal tract. Over time, overworked stomach lining looses its ability to produce hydrochloric acid, a key component in B12 absorption. Furthermore, the use of common antacid or anti ulcer drugs—as well as ulcers themselves—contribute to deficiency. Doctors also now recognize a condition known as food-cobalamin malabsorption syndrome, in which the stomach lining fails to produce the protein that binds with vitamin B12 to allow absorption.
Consequently, you could be consuming everything from lamb’s liver to B12-rich brewer’s yeast and still suffering from B12 deficiency.
The most commons symptoms of B12 deficiency include: mental and physical fatigue, mood fluctuations, nervousness, sleep difficulties, and even occasional indigestion. If you suspect that you may have lower-than-normal levels of the vitamin, speak with your doctor about taking a natural B12 supplement, such as: Source Naturals 5mg Methyl Cobalamin tablets, Vita Sciences B12 Patches, or Mercola’s B12 Energy Booster Spray.
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