How prevalent? The National Institute of Health’s Dietary Office says that about 1.5 – 15 percent of people in the US may be deficient, but other sources show that this figure could be much higher…
A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that up to 39 percent of people in the US may be suffering from a lack of vitamin B12 in their diets. (1) That’s a troubling amount!
And now I know you’re wondering… How does this effect your weight loss efforts?
Well, when you’re lacking energy and motivation stemming from a B12 deficiency, it’s hard to complete even normal daily tasks, let alone having the physical and mental stamina required for weight loss and healthy living.
Certain bodily processes required for fat-burning are also dependent upon having enough of this crucial nutrient. And in general, if you’re lacking in vitamin B12, you most likely feel like crap, and this can promote unhealthy or emotional eating habits, which can lead to weight gain.
“So, How Do I Know If I’m Deficient?”
Luckily, there are some clear warning signs that you might need more vitamin B12 in your life. Although these particular symptoms (listed below) could also be due to another health issue and not a B12 deficiency, you should definitely get your nutrient levels checked if you have any of them, or start taking a daily supplement.
Clear warning signs that you may be missing out on crucial vitamin B12:
- You constantly feel tired, weak, or unmotivated (even if you get enough sleep at night)
- You experience frequent muscle aches and joint pains
- You have a hard time concentrating or remembering things
- You feel anxious or depressed
- You have troubling digestive issues such as nausea, diarrhea or cramping
- You’re lacking an appetite, since food doesn’t taste as great anymore
- You have blurry vision or you feel dizzy
- You aren’t sleeping well
Just by looking at the list of diverse symptoms that a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause, it’s easy to see how this nutrient is involved in a plethora of vital functions in our bodies. In fact, being deficient in this vitamin for a prolonged period is actually dangerous and may lead to serious health issues.
So, let’s take a look at all of the ways that our bodies actually use this nutrient each and every day, and why it’s imperative to consistently be getting enough of this vitamin.
Main health-promoting benefits of vitamin B12:
- Powers up your energy and helps increase metabolism – Your body needs vitamin B12 to convert carbs into glucose, which is what gives you energy and also increases your metabolism (necessary for fat-burning and weight loss). Vitamin B12 is also necessary to help your muscles contract, which also gives you energy throughout your day.
- Significant for overall heart health – Vitamin B12 helps reduce elevated homocysteine levels in the blood –which helps protect against heart disease (heart attack and stroke). It may also help control high cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
- Helps boost mood and alleviate stress – Vitamin B12 plays an important role in regulating the nervous system, therefore helping to reduce mood disorders including depression and anxiety. It’s also an essential factor in helping you cope with stress and regulating your mood.
- Assists with normal concentration and memory – Vitamin B12 is needed for proper concentration and cognitive processes in the brain, including learning. For this reason, a B12 deficiency can mean a feeling of “foggy brain”, difficulty focusing and remembering details. It also puts someone at an increased risk for attention disorders.
- Aids in healthy sleep (2) – Vitamin B12 helps with the production of melatonin, a hormone that is responsible for regulating sleep patterns. Therefore, getting enough B12 may improve sleep quality at night as well as energy levels throughout the day.
- Promotes healthy skin, nails and hair – Vitamin B12 plays a pertinent role in cell reproduction and is therefore necessary for healthy skin, nails and hair. It helps to prevent hair breakage, works to make nails stronger, and can reduce skin redness, dryness, inflammation and acne.
- Crucial for proper digestion – Vitamin B12 assists with digestive enzyme production, therefore is necessary to support the normal breakdown of foods in the digestive tract and promote a healthy metabolism. It also helps foster healthy gut bacteria, helping to prevent digestive disorders.
- Needed for a healthy pregnancy and baby – Your prenatal vitamin should include a good amount of vitamin B12. This is because this nutrient is essential in the formation of DNA, the basic building blocks or genetic material used to create the entire body! Vitamin B12 is therefore necessary for proper growth and development, and vital for a healthy pregnancy and developing baby. The nutrient also works together with folate to help reduce the risk of birth defects.
- Helps prevent anemia – Vitamin B12 is needed by the body in order to produce a healthy amount of red blood cells, which can help prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia. Symptoms of this health issue include chronic fatigue and weakness.
Those who have a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Anyone whose had weight loss surgery (3) – Those who have had surgeries to help reduce their weight, including gastric bypass surgery, may become deficient in numerous vital nutrients including vitamin B12 and need to take a high-quality supplement. This is because bariatric surgery involves gut manipulation which alters the natural absorption of nutrients.
- Those on certain medications – Taking Metformin (typically prescribed to diabetes patients or those with polycystic ovary syndrome) can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency. In addition, taking certain heartburn medications can also lead to a deficiency of this nutrient in the body.
- Elderly people – As people grow older, they tend to produce less stomach acid, which is needed to convert vitamin B12 in the body. These impaired digestive issues make the elderly one of the most susceptible populations to vitamin B12 deficiencies. In fact, sometimes a vitamin B12 deficiency is confused for Alzheimer’s diseases or other illnesses in older people.
- Those following a vegetarian or vegan diet – Animal-based food products are the best sources of vitamin B12, therefore those that don’t eat them are at a heightened risk for deficiency.
- Smokers and alcoholics – Nicotine can block absorption of vitamin B12 in the body, so anyone who smokes will need more of this nutrient. In addition, the effects of alcoholism include damages to the lining of the GI tract, which is directly responsible for the absorption and distribution of B12 in the body.
- Those with a digestive disorder such as celiac or Crohn’s disease – These diseases cause inflammation of the digestive system or GI tract, which can greatly affect vitamin B12 absorption in the body and lead to deficiency.
“What Should I Do If I’m Lacking in Vitamin B12?”
If you’re in one of the heightened risk groups above or you’re experiencing one or a multitude of symptoms that could mean a vitamin B12 deficiency, you’re without a doubt wondering what to do next.
Your first step should be to increase your intake of animal-based food sources that are high in vitamin B12. But, also keep in mind that everyone has different levels of digestive health and depending on your ability to fully be able to absorb the nutrient, you may wish to take a daily supplement with enhanced absorption properties to ensure you are getting enough.
Here are some of the main food sources of vitamin B12:
- Beef (grass-fed is best)
- Chicken (especially the liver)
- Certain fish including…
- Shellfish including shrimp and mussels
- Pasture-raised organic eggs
- Greek yogurt
- Raw milk
It’s evident that the main food sources containing sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 are mainly animal-based foods, so simply not liking or not eating these foods can also put you at risk for deficiency.
“How Much Vitamin B12 Should I Get Each Day?”
You’re probably also wondering exactly how much of this nutrient you should be getting every day. The answer depends on your age and other lifestyle factors but here is a good guideline for recommended doses (4):
- Infants up to age 6 months: 0.4 mcg
- Babies age 7-12 months: 0.5 mcg
- Children age 1-3 years: 0.9 mcg
- Kids age 4-8 years: 1.2 mcg
- Children age 9-13 years: 1.8 mcg
- Teens age 14-18: 2.4 mcg (2.6 mcg per day if pregnant and 2.8 mcg per day if breastfeeding)
- Adults: 2.4 mcg (2.6 mcg per day if pregnant and 2.8 mcg per day if breastfeeding)
But the bottom line is, you may need much more than this if you’re deficient in vitamin B12. And since the nutrient is a water-soluble vitamin, your body flushes out any of the vitamin it doesn’t use – therefore it’s completely non-toxic to your system.
Because it is water-soluble and doesn’t build up in your system, vitamin B12 is also a nutrient that you have to constantly replenish every day. Therefore, taking a high-quality daily vitamin B12 supplement is your best bet to make sure you aren’t deficient, although you should always check with your health care provider before starting any new health care supplement or medication.
310 Vitamin B12 Berry Melts
If you’re in any of the high-risk groups for being deficient in vitamin B12, you’re experiencing uncomfortable symptoms that could spell out a deficiency, or you just simply want to ensure you’re getting enough of this nutrient, we’ve created a convenient and easy daily supplement that will give you what you need.
310 B12 Berry Melts benefit you by:
- Being quick-dissolving “mini” tablets that melt in your mouth, no water needed!
- Tasting delicious, with a mixed berry flavor
- Delivering 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 in just one tablet
- Featuring rapid dissolve technology which promotes fast absorption
- Easily fitting in a purse or pocket, making them perfect for on-the-go
Don’t let a vitamin B12 deficiency get the best of you, your health, or your weight loss goals when you can get ahead of it now! Ensure you are getting enough of this absolutely crucial nutrient and “energy vitamin” today.