Enhance Your Health

Health Tip of the Week: Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin, meaning that it is not stored in the body. It is also an essential vitamin that your body cannot manufacture itself.

B12 needs to be consumed every day. Why? B12 has a major role in most body functions and helps to create normal blood cells and maintains the health of nerve cells. B12 also has roles in brain and heart health.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia with the associated symptoms of fatigue, lightheadedness and skin paleness.  There is also a long list of symptoms that can come from a lack of vitamin B-12 in the diet. Symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Tingling or numbness in hands
  • Mental confusion
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Balance
  • Walking problems

If you have the following conditions, you are susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency: Age. Older adults have less stomach acids which contributes to less B12 being absorbed in the body.

4 or more cups of coffee a day will decrease B12 as will alcohol beverage intake on a regular basis. Certain medications and antacids will lower your B12. Stomach or intestinal surgery or disorders also decrease B12 levels, once again due to the hydrochloric acid issue.

Vegetarian or vegans also are low in B12.  Why?  Vitamin B12 is found in animal foods.  Meat, fish, eggs and dairy.  If you are vegan or vegetarian, your source for B12 is nutritional yeast which is high in B12.  As far as supplements go, the best B12 supplements are oral sublingual spray mists.


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