What you need to know about B12 and possible deficiencies
Fact 1: Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. Although not generally present in plant foods, most plant products add in B12 through fortification. Vitamin B12 is required for healthy brain function, DNA creation, red blood cell formation, homocysteine regulation (an amino acid recognized as a marker for a number of diseases), and used in hundreds of processes and reactions in the body.
B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Symptoms of B12 deficiency can include:
- decreased cognitive function (memory, understanding, focus),
- nerve issues
- soreness of the mouth or tongue
What you may not know is that certain drugs and health conditions can further increase the likelihood of developing a B12 deficiency such as: alcohol abuse, antacid use, smoking, celiac disease, other digestive concerns, pregnancy, a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, and natural aging.
Fact 2: Vitamin B12 levels can be checked with a simple blood test.
Injections vs. Oral Supplementation
Studies suggest that about 56% of an oral B12 supplement is absorbed, but this is largely dependent on the capacity of intrinsic factor (a glycoprotein released by the stomach that is needed for B12 absorption). If intrinsic factor is compromised, a much smaller percentage of this supplement is absorbed. B12 injections bypass some of the potential barriers to absorption so can be very helpful in patients with digestive concerns or pill fatigue. The B12 that I use in my practice is methylcobalamin; a form that is easy for the body to use. Who needs B12 injections and how often they are needed truly depends on the individual patient and is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Concerned about your B12 levels? Want to boost your mood and energy?
Dr. Janine, our Naturopathic Doctor can help! She offer injections within your regular Naturopathic Visits, or separately in a Naturopathic Injection Visit.