B-12 Deficiency…. Are You at Risk?
o you have numbness, strange tingling in the hands and feet, paranoia, yellowing skin? —It could be a B12 deficiency. The body needs vitamin B12 to create red blood cells, DNA, and nerves. It is a crucial vitamin for our nervous system and adults should be getting on average, 2.4 micrograms a day. Without a supplement the only way for humans to get the B12 we need is through animal products.
Who’s at risk?
Some individuals may never be able to replenish their B12 stores no matter how high their intake; their bodies’ simply cannot absorb the vitamin. Those who have had weight loss surgery may have interfered with their body’s ability to extract the vitamin from food all together. Other health issues like celiac or Crohn’s disease can lead to problematic absorption. These individuals will need to opt for B12 injections since they cannot extract through the digestive process. Those who are older are especially at risk since lower stomach acid production occurs with aging. Common use of different heartburn drugs can also interfere with absorption. Vegetarians and vegans should be supplementing regularly once adopting this diet, since B12 is really only found in meat and dairy products aside from fortified nut milks and nutritional yeasts.
What are the symptoms?
- strange sensations, numbness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet
- balance and walking problems
- a swollen tongue
- yellowed skin
- difficulty thinking and/or memory loss
- paranoia or hallucinations
Symptom checking is one way to know if you are experiencing a B12 deficiency, the other is to get blood tested. After meeting with a physician and having a total physical examination a blood test can confirm this condition easily. All vegetarians, vegans, those on stomach acid altering medication, those who have had weight loss surgery and people over the age of 50 should get tested.