One of the essential nutrients for your body optimal health is vitamin B-12. It is part of what is called the “B complex” of vitamins and since it contains cobalt, it is also known as cobalamin. Vitamin B-12 is important for the maintenance of the nervous system, the formation of red blood cells, and growth and development in children. It is especially important in cells that are dividing rapidly such as in the bone marrow where red blood cells are formed.
Some of the signs and symptoms you would want to look out for if you suspect you might be deficient in vitamin B-12 would include:
oNervousness or Moodiness- All of the B-Complex vitamins are important to your body’s nervous system in one way or another. If you are experiencing a deficiency of Vitamin B-12, you may notice symptoms such as moodiness, nervousness, or even depression.
oElevated Levels of Homocysteine in your blood- There is a lot of evidence that elevated levels of homocysteine is associated with elevated levels of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin B-12 along with other B vitamins, have been shown to reduce the levels of homocysteine in your blood. Your physician can test for these levels with a blood test during an office visit.
oNumbness and Tingling In The Fingers and Toes- Because of vitamin B-12’s importance in the nervous system, a prolonged deficiency could ultimately cause feelings of numbness or tingling in your extremities. Because this can also be a sign of neuropathy due to many different causes such as diabetes, it is important that you immediately notify your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms.
oAnemia- Since vitamin B-12 is such an important part of the development of red blood cells, you may have anemia, which can be easily identified by a blood test preformed at your doctors office. Symptoms of anemia include, sluggishness, lack of energy, fatigue.
oConstipation and Loss of Appetite- Many vitamin deficiencies have been linked to gastrointestinal complaints. If you are constipated be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
It is always important to try and identify why your body may be deficient in vitamin B-12 or any other critical nutrient.
Are you getting enough of vitamin B-12 from your diet? Foods that are high in Vitamin B-12 include fish, dairy products, eggs and organ meats such as liver. A diet rich in vitamin B-12 important for you to obtain and maintain optimal health.
Are you taking any prescription or over the counter drug that has been shown to either reduce your levels, or increase your bodies demand for vitamin B-12 such as Prevacid, Prilosec, Zantac, Metformin, or even other over the counter Antacids? If you are taking any of these medications and experiencing some of the mentioned side effects, they could be due to the vitamin deficiency and easily corrected with a good supplement. These medications can cause deficiencies if other essential nutrients as well.
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