Vitamin deficiencies are more common these days than ever, even though there is food available on every corner.
These deficiencies occur when the body cannot absorb the nutrient in the needed amounts, usually due to poor intake, certain conditions, and diseases, aging, pregnancy, or bariatric surgery. The amounts of the needed nutrient depend on the age, sex, and activity levels.
These are the most common nutrient deficiencies in the U.S:
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is water-soluble and needed for the healthy brain and nerve function, and especially for blood formation. Since we cannot naturally produce it, we need to get it through food on a daily basis.
It is contained in animal-based foods only, and the early detection of this deficiency is crucial, as the neurological symptoms it causes are irreversible.
These are the ones who are more prone to B12 deficiency:
Vegans and/or vegetarians
Pregnant or breastfeeding women
People suffering from gastrointestinal issues like anorexia, stomatitis, or chronic diarrhea
Bariatric surgery patients
Individuals suffering from gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease, stomach infections, and stomach restrictions
These are the increased risk factors due to B12 Deficiency:
Elevated Homocysteine Levels
This amino acid is formed from the breakdown of protein, and its elevated levels raise the chances of developing various diseases, like Alzheimer’s Disease, heart attack, and stroke.
It occurs when the bone marrow creates unusually large, structurally abnormal, immature red blood cells (megaloblasts), which leads to the reduced count of red blood cells, and reduces oxygen flow to the organs and tissues.
The most common symptoms include fatigue, numbness in your extremities, diarrhea, nausea, muscle weakness, and wasting.
Reduces b12 levels lead to the development of dementia and depression. Moreover, researchers have found that supplementing cannot reverse the damage in dementia sufferers.
Impaired Infant Development
B12 deficiency might affect the physical and cognitive development of the baby, leading to severe abnormalities and impaired brain function.
These are the signs and symptoms of this deficiency:
The reduced b12 levels mean reduced oxygen flow, and this leads to lethargy and fatigue.
B12 helps the absorption of iron, and B12 deficiency is often masked by an iron deficiency. This is a common case in menstruating women.
Pins and Needles
Unexplained numbness, pins and needles, and shock wave-like feelings throughout your body often indicate nerve damage due to the reduced oxygen levels in the cells.
B12 deficiency is often manifested by weakness to perform the everyday tasks.
Severe forgetfulness is another common symptom of B12 deficiency.
Blurred vision, spotting, and an extreme light sensitivity often result from the deficiency of this vitamin in the body.
Frequent dizziness episodes and vertigo indicate an issue such as B12 deficiency.
Here are 5 ways to naturally increase B12 levels without supplementation:
You should involve the following dietary sources of B12 into your diet:
Meat, especially red meat
Shellfish, especially clams and oysters
Nori and Tempeh
Proper Calcium Intake
Calcium helps the absorption of this vitamin, so you should make sure you consume more calcium-high foods, like dairy products and green leafy vegetables.
The ingredient of this spice, “piperine”, boosts the bioavailability of vitamin B12, so make sure you add it to your meals.
Researchers have found that cranberries, cranberry juice, and cranberry capsules boost the B12 absorption too.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Excessive alcohol intake reduces the absorption of B12, as it interferes with the ability of the body to produce intrinsic factor. Women should drink up to one, and men should have no more than two drinks daily.