B Vitamin Shots: Do you ever feel fatigued, have difficulty sleeping, trouble shedding those last couple of pounds, feel like your memory is declining? If so, we have a suggestion that may put the pep back in your step! If you suffer from any of these symptoms, there is a possibility that you may have low levels of vitamin B12.
Function of Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is a powerhouse nutrient within the body, as it is required in nearly every cell for a variety of chemical reactions including metabolism, adequate red blood cell production, optimal immune system function, mood stabilization (through serotonin, dopamine, and SAMe production), cardiovascular health (homocysteine regulation), quality of sleep (melatonin production), thyroid function, and much more!
Who is at Risk for a B12 Deficiency? In a perfect world, we would live in the absence of stress, we would refrain from use of medications that deplete our systems of nutrients, and we would eat our meals in a relaxing environment allowing proper digestion and absorption. Unfortunately, many of us our committed to our active, on-the-go lifestyles that often cause or contribute to vitamin B12 deficiencies. Aside from stress, one can become vitamin B12 deficient for a variety of reasons, some of which include: increasing age, vegetarian/vegan diets, elite athletic performance, pernicious anemia, indigestion, low stomach acid levels, bowel conditions, regular alcohol consumption, and use of certain medications such as antibiotics, antacids, Nexium, Prilosec, Pepcid, Tagamet, hormone therapy, and birth control pills.
Symptoms: When our bodies are low in vitamin B12, we can experience slight disruptions in energy, mood or sleep up to severe symptoms, affecting many organ systems. Low levels of vitamin B12 can be diagnosed by a simple blood test, but most often, are diagnosed clinically based upon symptoms that the individual is experiencing. In addition to what is listed above, other symptoms and conditions associated with low levels of vitamin B12 include: Dizziness, heart palpitations, easy bruising, cardiovascular disease, thyroid conditions, numbness & tingling in extremities, insomnia, irritability, depression, recurrent viral infections, anemia, and PMS.
Sources: Vitamin B12 is found in many foods including meats, fish, eggs, and fortified nutritional yeast. Aside from diet, there are several options for supplementation that can be quite effective at restoring vitamin B12 levels within the body. The best options for supplementation of vitamin B12 remain through sublingual forms and intramuscular injections. Additionally, it is recommended to supplement B-vitamins in the morning, as they can give some individuals a boost of energy.