Have you noticed a decrease in energy, trouble remembering daily tasks, or find yourself becoming easily confused? Well, most of us do. That is why having a B12 deficiency can be hard to identify. These symptoms are all too common in the average person’s day-to-day life; however, it is important to not overlook these symptoms, because your body may be trying to tell you something.
As we age, our ability to absorb B12 from food declines, and often so does our consumption of foods rich in this vitamin. A B12 deficiency can develop without warning and cause a host of confusing symptoms likely to be misdiagnosed or attributed to aging.
A look at what B12 is:
B-vitamins are water-soluble nutrients found in whole foods, and less in refined/processed foods. B12 is needed for the development and maintenance of a healthy nervous system, the production of DNA, and is vital for the formation of red blood cells, as well as for the proper functioning and health of nerve tissue.
Labs differ in what they consider normal, but most authorities say a deficiency occurs when B12 levels in adults fall below 250 picograms per milliliter of blood serum. Like all B vitamins, B12 is water-soluble, but the body stores extra B12 in the liver and other tissues. Even if dietary sources are inadequate for some time, a serum deficiency may not show up for years. If left untreated, B12 deficiency, can lead to anemia, as well as nerve and brain damage, which may eventually become irreversible.
Recognizing a B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be slow to develop, causing symptoms to appear gradually and intensify over time. Or it can come on relatively quickly. Given the array of symptoms it can cause, the condition may be hard to pinpoint. It also should be noted that the same B-vitamins can affect different people in different (and even opposite) ways; however, common symptoms may include:
- Strange sensations, numbness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet
- Difficulty walking (staggering, balance problems)
- A swollen, inflamed tongue
- Yellowed skin (jaundice)
- Difficulty thinking and reasoning (cognitive difficulties), or memory loss
- Paranoia or hallucinations
Typically a blood test is performed to determine your existing B12 levels. From there, varying treatments may be prescribed, including supplements, injections and dietary adjustments.
Vitamin B12 deficiency resulting from inadequate dietary intake is the easiest to treat. The condition can be reversed by taking oral vitamin B12 supplements and adding foods containing B12.
Effects of Vitamin B12 deficiency may put in you in danger of suffering from a variety of unbearable health problems. Depression, sleep problems, numbness, multiple sclerosis, weakness, and inflammation, among many other conditions, may occur if you don’t treat it right away.
Our practice provides natural alternatives to help you alleviate some of these symptoms. Our holistic healthcare approach will help you manage symptoms of fatigue while moving toward a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Don’t wait to schedule an appointment today. Give our office a call and we will find ways to help you feel better!