If you aren't getting enough B12 through diet, or your body isn't absorbing or using it efficiently, you can become deficient. This can lead to a range of health problems: intense fatigue, loss of appetite, trouble concentrating, anemia, and depression. B12 deficiency affects up to 15% of people in the U.S.
The aging process, a vegan diet, stress, certain medications, and illness can alter your body's ability to utilize B12 from food. Medications, such as those for reflux or Type 2 diabetes, affect B12 absorption. Also, if you've had major surgery, have digestive problems, or Celiac Disease you have an increased risk for B12 deficiency.
Most people who eat meat, fish, eggs and dairy products get enough B12. Vegans are advised to eat fortified food and take supplements because B12 is not found in sufficient amounts in plant foods. Carefully read labels for fortified food claims, as these foods can be loaded with preservatives that don't contribute to your health.
For nutrition supplements, B12 is available as
- a multivitamin -- often the best approach for people who don't have a deficiency
- an injection
- a tablet that dissolves under the tongue (sublingual).
Taking a B12 supplement when you don't have a deficiency doesn't provide any health benefit. A holistic health practitioner can determine a B12 deficiency by blood test and then work with you to determine the best form of supplement for your health needs.
NIH.Gov "Vitamin B-12 Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet." Accessed 5 Oct 2017: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia Online. "Vitamin B12" Accessed 5 Oct 2017: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002403.htm
Patrick, S.J., "Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can be Sneaky, Harmful." Harvard Health Newsletter. Accessed Oct 7 2017: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/vitamin-b12-deficiency-can-be-sneaky-harmful-201301105780
HealthLine.com "What is Vitamin B12?" Accessed 12 Oct 2017: https://www.healthline.com/health/b12-vitamins-for-energy
Leonard, Jayne. "Vitamin B12 shots: Uses, benefits, and side effects." Posted 4 July 2017 at MedicalNewsToday.com; Accessed 12 Oct 2017: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318216.php
NIH.Gov "Vitamin B12" Accessed on 6 Nov 2017: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/
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