Do you feel tired all the time? Have a think about your Vitamin B12 levels

Do you feel tired all the time? Have a think about you Vitamin B12 levels
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is one of the many B Vitamins with numerous and wide-ranging functions throughout the body. One great role it has is the ability to help reduce tiredness and fatigue. If you are feeling unnaturally tired quite often, this may be something you need to address.

Are you getting enough Vitamin B12 in your diet?

Food sources of Vitamin B12 are typically found in meat, fish and seafood. Due to this, strict vegetarians and vegans are at risk of having a diet which is very low in this important vitamin. They may therefore develop a deficiency over time unless they supplement their diet with a Vitamin B12 supplement.

Not only is a good dietary intake of Vitamin B12 essential, but low levels may occur as a result of low stomach acid which can be due to taking regular antacids. We need enough hydrochloric acid in our stomach to help separate out the B12 from our food. We also need to make sure we have a protein made by the stomach called Intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor binds to B12 and it is then absorbed by the body. Some people have a condition known as pernicious anaemia and are unable to make intrinsic factor and therefore have issues absorbing B12 from food and supplements. Great food sources of vitamin B12 include –
  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Oysters
  • Herring
  • Egg yolks
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Red Meat
  • Swiss Cheese

Vitamin B12 ensures that we utilise the energy from our food so make sure you eat good amounts of these foods.

What are the symptoms of low levels of Vitamin B12? The symptoms of B12 deficiency can be quite wide ranging. These symptoms can include (1)–
  • Sore, red swollen tongue
  • Mouth Ulcers
  • Pins and needles
  • Changes in the way that you walk and move around
  • Disturbed vision
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • A change in the way you think, feel and behave
  • Decrease in mental ability, memory and cognition.

Due to the involvement in red blood cell formation, a deficiency in B12 can also result in anaemia which will present with the following symptoms –
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Lack of energy
  • Breathlessness
  • Feeling faint
  • Headaches
  • Pale skin
  • Heart palpitations
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss

What do I do if I think I have low levels of Vitamin B12?

The good news is that low vitamin B12 levels can be rectified by a vitamin supplement. Try 5001000 mcg daily for a month.

You can then take a daily multi vitamin and mineral with Vitamin B12 to keep you topped up in the future.

Who can I speak to for advice on Vitamin B12?

If you have any questions please contact our team of Nutrition Advisors who can discuss all your supplement queries. Simply call them on 01892 55 21 75 or email sally.davenport@naturesbest.co.uk. If your symptoms are serious please contact your Doctor.

How else can I improve my energy levels?

  • Exercise:
    Of course when we are new to an exercise routine it simply tires us out. But do persevere as in the medium to long term, it sends messages to the body in order to produce more energy! That’s a win/win situation, as with exercise we also release feel good hormones, which results in happier and healthier bodies!
  • Health Checks:
    It may be worth having a few health checks – the thyroid, levels of iron and Vitamin D to make sure that there are no deficiencies or malfunctions that can be corrected. Sometimes food intolerances could be the culprit so keep a track of the foods which may affect how you feel.
  • Limit the consumption of stimulants:
    caffeinated drinks, alcohol, sugars, energy drinks and other similar products. Some of these may be have an impact on your cortisol levels (stress hormone) which can negatively impact on your energy levels.
  • Pump up your water intake:
    Dehydration may contribute to fatigue. Water helps to maintain physical and cognitive function. If plain water isn’t your thing, flavour it with orange or lemon wedges, mint leaves, cucumber or strawberries.
  • Improve your uptake of Oxygen:
    Take time to breath in deeply when you feel tired in the afternoon. Take a deep breath in for 5 counts, hold for 2 counts and breath out again for 5 counts. Repeat a few times. Otherwise just head out for a few minutes of fresh air.
  • Last but not least – sleep:
    Have a good night’s sleep and do the things that help you relax and regenerate your body.


(1)
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anaemia-vitamin-B12-and-folate-deficiency/Pages/Symptoms.aspx
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