A well-rounded, active lifestyle full of healthy habits can benefit your overall quality of life. Getting enough physical exercise and watching what you eat is only part of the picture, though. You also need to ensure you're getting all of the vitamins and minerals your body craves.
If you're concerned you might have a vitamin B12 deficiency, in particular, you're not alone. Consider this statistic reported by the National Institutes of Health. It suggests that anywhere from 1.5% to 15% of the American population experience a vitamin B12 deficiency.
The good thing is that you've come to the right place by reading this article. Detailed below is your complete guide to recognizing the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Armed with this knowledge, you can then take steps to ensure you're getting the nutrition you need.
Why Do Our Bodies Need Vitamin B12?
As soon as we're born, our bodies need specific vitamins and minerals to encourage growth. Vitamin B12 is one of the most essential nutrients we need for just that reason. It's crucial in the development of the nervous system and the production of red blood cells.
At the same time, adults need plenty of vitamin B12, too. Those red blood cells need continuous nourishment to do their job well.
Red blood cells provide oxygen to the rest of the body. When they aren't healthy or numerous enough, our body can exhibit very tell-tale signs. Our tissues and organs rely on red blood cells to get the oxygen they need for day-to-day life.
The same study about vitamin B12 cited above does have some guidance about how much the average adult needs. Experts suggest aiming for about 2.4 micrograms consumed every day.
When we don't meet that minimum amount of that vitamin on a consistent basis, our bodies suffer. Plus, meeting that minimum can be more difficult for some people than for others.
People Most at Risk for a Vitamin B12 Deficiency
As we age, our bodies have a harder time staying healthy if we're not getting proper nutrition. The unfortunate truth is that one of the groups most at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency is the elderly. Plus, it can take a very long time for some of the symptoms of this deficiency to showcase themselves.
Another group of people who need to keep an eye on their intake levels of vitamin B12 is that of pregnant women. If you think about the fact that their bodies are responsible for two nervous systems, this makes sense.
Other people's lifestyle choices can affect their levels of vitamin B12. This is true, in particular, for people who live with a strict vegetarian or vegan diet.
That's because this vitamin is most often found in animal-based products, not plant-based ones. If you have been a vegetarian or a vegan for many years, this could be crucial to learn. You just might be experiencing some of the most common symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Signs That You're Not Getting Enough Vitamin B12
It's an unfortunate truth that many vitamin B12 deficiencies don't present themselves for many years. If you notice any of the following tell-tale symptoms, though, it might be time to talk to your doctor.
A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause problems with the nervous system, first and foremost. These can present themselves through numbness in your feet, hands, or limbs. You might also have trouble walking straight or maintaining your balance.
Other times, not getting enough vitamin B12 can cause regular fatigue or drowsiness. Your muscles might feel weak all of the time for no apparent reason.
In fact, even your brain could get drowsy. You could have a hard time remembering things or processing otherwise simple cognitive functions.
You could also start to experience unexplained weight loss. A significant vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a loss of appetite that you might not even notice at first.
If you start to experience any or all of these symptoms in your daily life, take note. It's important to talk with your doctor about ways you might be able to boost the levels of vitamin B12 your body craves.
Ways to Boost Your Body's Vitamin B12 Levels
As mentioned above, certain foods have enough vitamin B12 in them to help out your body's nutritional needs. For the most part, this includes animal products such as dairy and meats. Poultry and fish even have enough vitamin B12 to help out your nutrition.
Thanks to modern Western medicine, there are other ways to get the vitamin B12 you need. Many patients turn to supplement shots provided by their doctor. This regular boost of vitamin B12 in your system can be a life-changer.
Perhaps getting shots all of the time doesn't sound enticing to you. Well, that's where investing in a reliable supplement in pill form could be convenient. There are plenty of supplements out there that can regulate your bodies' nutritional needs without too much effort on your part.
It's up to you, though, to only consume a daily supplement from a brand you can trust. Here's an example of the perfect multivitamin for women. Make sure you do plenty of research and talk with your doctor before investing in a supplement to take every day.
Continue Investing in Your Overall Health and Wellness
You're now familiar with the signs and symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency. You recognize that you have to be extra intentional about getting all of the nutrients your body needs. That's why you're interested in taking a regular multivitamin, for one thing.
In addition, it can be in your best interest to continue your research regarding modern health trends. That's where this website can come into play.
We prioritize bringing readers like you the most reliable health, fitness, and wellness guidance. We encourage you to browse through the rest of our article archives today to see how you can invest in your health even more. To start, comment below this article about how it inspired you to boost your vitamin B12 levels.