What is the deal with Vitamin B12?
So what is the deal with Vit B12? Why is everyone buzzing about it? Why do all these health products include it? If you get an energy drink (which I don’t recommend), one of the things you will almost always see on the label is Vitamin B12. So really, what is the deal?
The body uses Vitamin B12 to produce new cells, notably red blood cells. Replacing old cells with new cells is essential to keep every part of your body working without issue. Vitamin B12 is also important in our DNA. It gets a little complicated and to be honest, pretty confusing. But if your levels are staying low consistently, alterations in DNA synthesis, start to occur. So, you could actually get damage to your DNA. Low B12 serum levels were found to have a critical role in neurological diseases, such as the Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, cardiovascular disease (CAD), and colorectal and breast cancer.
Well, okay then, clearly Vitamin B12 is a pretty big deal. Not everyone gets enough B12 in their diet, even though it’s found in a wide variety of animal foods. Vegans generally need to take a supplement, but if you’re a vegan you probably already knew that. B12 deficiency is often caused by the body not being able to effectively absorb the vitamin. Absorption problems can develop with age and can also be caused by heavy drinking. Some medications can disrupt B12 absorption as well.
A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia. It can lead to feelings of being weak, tired, or lightheaded, as well as shortness of breath. It can cause mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes. The GI system can also be affected with symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or gas. In the more severe cases, not absorbing enough B12 can affect the nervous system, changing reflexes, inhibiting muscle function, and causing problems with memory. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, consider a B12 deficiency as a possible cause and mention it during your next checkup. If you are feeling fatigued because of low B12, increasing your absorption to normal levels can give you a much-needed boost of energy.
Fortunately, a B12 deficiency is easily diagnosed and easily treated. A blood test can show whether someone has adequate levels of B12. Once a deficiency has been diagnosed, treatment can take the form of either oral B12 supplements or intramuscular injection. What treatment is used depends on the specific case. A direct B12 injection is a stronger treatment used when the body is having trouble absorbing B12 since it completely bypasses the GI system. A B12 injection is quick, affordable, and mostly painless.
So why do some people prefer the shots?
1) Energy – Many people notice a boost in energy with getting B12 injections. I, personally, have noticed this as well. When I get a B12 injection, I notice that I have more energy. It is not a jittery or amped up kind of energy, it is just simply not feeling tired like I normally would after working all day.
2) Improved mood and less brain fog – This is another benefit that I myself have personally experienced. Sometimes, if I know I have a particularly rough week coming up, I will get a B12 shot to help with focus.
3) Weight loss – Okay, so B12 is not going to make anyone lose weight. However, one of the struggles that people have with losing weight is the fatigue and low energy. So getting energy levels up can help support a person while they try to achieve weight loss with exercise and healthy diet.
There aren’t a lot of studies out there to support the claims that B12 will help with energy, brain function or weight loss. These results are really person dependent. However, B12 shots are not dangerous. B12 is a water soluble vitamin so is nearly impossible to overdose.
So bottom line, taking a Vit B12 supplement is health protective. Getting B12 shots may also be beneficial. Is it magic bullet to cure disease? No, but I do truly believe that it can help people feel better an live healthier lives.
If any of these concerns have been bothering, then maybe its time to get in with your healthcare provider for a thorough check up.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with our office, give us a call at 618-918-2115. You can also request and appointment online at www.lesliewilliamsnp.com