Friday, July 22, 2016

Fitness Friday- Vitamin B12

What is it?

Vitamin B12 is called cobalamin and is one of the 8 B complex vitamins.  Vitamin B12 is also called the energy vitamin.  As with all the B complex vitamins B12 is water soluble.

What purpose does it serve?

All the B vitamins helps convert carbohydrate into glucose.  The B complex vitamins helps the nervous systems function properly. Vitamin B12 works closely with Vitamin B9 (folic acid) to make red blood cells and helps iron works better in the body.

What causes Vitamin B12 deficiency?

  • Gastritis, which is a thinning of the lining of the stomach
  • Pernicious Anemia
  • Weight loss surgery that removes a part of your stomach or small intestine
  • Small intestine diseases such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease
  • Immune system disorders such as Graves’ disease and lupus
  • Heavy drinking
  • Long term use of acid reducing drugs

What are the symptoms of deficiency?

Vitamin B12 deficiency can happen for different reasons, however in my particular case I have chronic gastritis which is a thinning of the lining of the stomach. Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nervousness, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. I first realized that something was wrong when I started experiencing numbness in my feet. 
Vitamin B12 is needed to make red blood cells, which brings oxygen throughout the body.  Therefore a deficiency can lead to anemia or nerve damage. 

What foods are high in it?

The body does not make vitamin B12 therefore you have to consume foods that contains this vitamin.  Vitamin B12 is found in only animal products such as meat, milk, cheese and eggs. Good dietary sources includes fish, shellfish, dairy products, organ meats such as liver and kidney, eggs, beef and pork. If you are a vegan, or not a big meat eater or has a medical condition that makes you unable to absorb vitamin B15, taking a vitamin supplement is recommended.  If you are considering taking a Vitamin B12 supplement ask your health care provider so they can recommend the proper dosage.  Your healthcare provider will normally do a blood work-up to determine if or how deficient you are, then recommend the proper treatment.

I found out I was severely vitamin B12 deficient and have to take a supplement, however if my levels don’t improve I may need to take a vitamin B12 injection. However, since I began taking the supplement my energy level is up and the tingling in my feet has slowly gone away. 

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