Could B12 Be The Missing Link To Optimal Health
Fatigue, lethargy, anxiety, mood changes, difficulty concentrating, depression, negativism, cognitive decline and memory loss, learning and behavior problems in children, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, and problems conceiving What do these symptoms have in common? Any one of them could be a sign of low levels of vitamin B12. And while some of these symptoms may be easy to ignore or write off as a normal part of life, they could be your bodys way of telling you to pay attention before things get out of hand.
Vitamin B12 is necessary for a laundry list of crucial functions, including DNA synthesis, red blood cell production, and the development and maintenance of the nervous system. It is also a vitamin that many of us do not have sufficient levels of. Because of the variability and general nature of deficiency symptoms, and current testing standards that are set so low, a diagnosis is often missed, leading to increased neurological deterioration and possibly irreversible neurological damage.
It is interesting to note that in Japan, where the lower limit for a B12 deficiency is set much higher than the United States , the rates of Alzheimers and dementia are very low. Some experts speculate that these low rates are due in part to Japans proactive policy of recognizing and treating B12 deficiencies.15
References available upon request
Staying Healthy As The Years Go By
As we get older, we have to get more creative and involved in staying healthy. Planning regular visits to the doctor and getting blood tests can help us stay on top of vitamin deficiencies and other issues that may cause health problems. Fortunately, if you have a B12 deficiency, its relatively easy to get a diagnosis and start a treatment plan.
For other ways to stay healthy, Snug has you covered. Visit our blog for more information on how to stay active, including tips for yoga, tai chi, core exercises, and balance exercises for seniors. Youll find advice ranging from the best vitamins for seniors to tips on recovering from surgeries such as hip replacements and bunion surgery.
We also make it easy for you to stay connected in an increasingly digital world. Discover how to stay in touch with loved ones with the best cell phones for seniors, and learn how to stay connected with online forums. The Snug app is also a free and friendly way to get daily check-ins that can give you peace of mind and freedom. The app will check in with you each day. If somethings amiss, itll notify your emergency contacts.
How Much Vitamin B12 Is Too Much
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that plays many critical roles in your body.
Some people think that taking high doses of B12 rather than the recommended intake is best for their health.
This practice has led many to wonder how much of this vitamin is too much.
This article examines the health benefits, as well as potential risks of taking megadoses of B12.
Theres no question that vitamin B12 is essential for health.
This nutrient is responsible for numerous functions in your body, including red blood cell formation, energy production, DNA formation and nerve maintenance .
Though B12 is found in many foods, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products and fortified cereals, many people dont get enough of this important vitamin.
Health conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease , certain medications, genetic mutations, age and dietary restrictions can all contribute to an increased need for B12.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to serious complications such as nerve damage, anemia and fatigue, which is why those at risk should add a high-quality B12 supplement to their diet .
While people who consume adequate amounts of B12-rich foods and are able to properly absorb and utilize this nutrient dont necessarily need to supplement, taking extra B12 has been linked to some health benefits.
For example, studies show that supplemental B12 may benefit people without a deficiency in the following ways:
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What Does The Test Involve
Itâs a simple blood test. You can get it anytime, and you donât need to go without food before you do. Your doctor can add it to the order for your blood test that checks your levels of cholesterol, glucose, and other markers of health.
You should tell your doctor about all of the medications and supplements you take before the test. Some of them may affect the results.
Milk And Dairy Products
Milk can be the answer to many nutritional deficiencies. It not only takes care of your vitamin B12 content, but is also a rich source of calcium and vitamin D. Just one cup of milk gives you 1.2 micrograms of vitamin B12. Another way to load up on vitamin B12 content is to add dairy products in your diet plan. Dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese not only offer you high amount of protein, but they also are a great source of vitamin B12. You can get up to 0.8 micrograms of this vitamin by having a cup of yoghurt.
Read Also: What Is Vitamin B12 Used For
What To Eat To Prevent Vitamin B
Many cases of B-12 deficiency are rooted in underlying health problems, but its possible to take preventative measures. Preventative measures include paying close attention to your diet, especially if youre vegetarian or vegan.
One serving of fortified breakfast cereal may fulfill 25 to 100 percent of your daily intake value, depending on the brand. Three ounces of cooked salmon has about 80 percent of your daily intake value.
You can also find B-12 in:
Treatment For High Vitamin B
There is no upper limit for vitamin B-12 intake because consuming high levels does not cause problems. However, having naturally high levels of vitamin B-12 in the body may be a cause for concern, as it suggests a severe underlying condition. Doctors will aim to treat the underlying medical condition, rather than the elevated levels of vitamin B-12.
Precautions To Be Taken To Maintain Normal Levels Of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be prevented by introducing enough meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, and eggs into the diet. Vegetarians can add foods fortified with vitamin B12 to their diet. Taking vitamin V12 in a multivitamin or direct vitamin B12 supplement can also help maintain the levels and prevent deficiency.
It is often advised for individuals with low vitamin B12 levels to take regular doses of the vitamin via injections. This is also helpful for people with medical conditions that hinder the absorption of the vitamin. High levels of vitamin B12 are generally caused due to underlying disease or condition. In cases of elevated vitamin B12, underlying condition is treated to maintain the levels.
Should I Be Worried If My B12 Is High
Though daily high doses of B12 are unlikely to cause harm in most people, extremely high doses should be avoided unless prescribed by a healthcare professional. If you think you may be deficient in B12, speak with your doctor, who can recommend an appropriate treatment based on your level of deficiency.
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Serum B12 Is A Conclusive Test
The serum B12 test is still widely used as thé test to confirm or rule out a vitamin B12 deficiency. However, a normal blood value cannot rule out a B12 deficiency, as has often been shown in scientific medical literature. Serum B12 can be false normal or even false high, while a deficiency is present.
A value above the reference value does not automaticcaly rule out a deficiency and a lower value does not automatically mean a B12 deficiency, although a B12 value beneath 150 pmol/L has a specificity of 95% or more. There is a large grey area wherein a deficiency is possible, despite a normal serum B12 value.
We advice to combine serum B12 or Active B12 with MMA when a deficiency is suspected for increased accuracy. The problem however is that many physicians do not know these tests or do not know how to interpret them. And if they know them, the are considered too expensive to do. Of course the cost of years of visiting doctors, sometimes with very expensive other tests, and years of medication, are much higher.
As there is no golden test, patients with clear neurological symptoms, and no other obvious cause for those problems, should be treated with B12 injections. When clinical improvement occurs the treatment should be continued. There are numerous stories of patients who have benefited from B12 treatment, despite normal blood results.
Why Is My Vitamin B
Usually, these are caused by consuming or receiving vitamin B12, which is normally an inexorable cause of increased B12 in the blood. Overdosing on B12 supplements is not advised, because excessive amounts in your body can be excreted through your urine. It also may occur naturally on animal products, which includes meat, eggs, and shellfish as well.
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How Much Does The Test Cost
The cost of vitamin B12 testing may vary depending upon factors such as where the test is performed and whether you have health care coverage.
Insurance will usually cover the cost of vitamin B12 testing if your health care provider orders it to diagnose or monitor a medical condition. You can check with your doctor or nurse, the lab, or your health insurance company to learn more about what, if any, testing costs you are responsible for.
How Often To Track Your B12 And Folate Labs
This should be determined on an individual basis with your Health Coach or Functional Medicine practitioner.
If your B12 levels are very low and youre experiencing life-altering symptoms, or if youre pregnant and come back very low in folate, for example, re-testing may be recommended in as little as 1-3 months time.
Curious about how your B12 and folate levels may be impacting your health? Were here to help.
All kNew Health members receive a B12 and RBC-folate lab workup as part of their initial assessment, along with a dedicated Health Coach to help you optimize your levels for the long-term.
-The Knew Health Team
Knew Health is only available in the US, excluding Vermont , Alaska, Washington. Please contact us with any questions.
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Do Home B12 Blood Tests Work
If you go with a reputable home blood test brand that sends out clear instructions, good kit, uses accredited laboratories to test your blood samples, and details / communicates your results clearly, then yes, they should work.
Obviously, you have to take ownership of following instructions correctly and completing your part at home, as this is key!
Should I Take Vitamin B12 Supplements
People with compromised gastrointestinal absorptive capacity, with pernicious anemia, or who are taking certain medications (e.g. metformin, a drug used to treat diabetes, may need a vitamin B12 supplement to help meet recommended intake requirements. Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplement.
High folate intake can mask vitamin B12 deficiency by correcting megaloblastic anemia. This can be dangerous since neurological damage from vitamin B12 deficiency can manifest undetected. Vegans and vegetarians tend to have sufficient folate intake but are at a higher risk for vitamin B12 deficiency making vitamin B12 supplementation especially important.
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Ways To Increase Vitamin B12
The most important thing is to work with your doctor to find out whats causing your low vitamin B12 levels and to treat any underlying conditions.
Discuss the additional lifestyle changes listed below with your doctor. None of these strategies should ever be done in place of what your doctor recommends or prescribes!
1) Get More Vitamin B12 in Your Diet
If your diet is low in vitamin B12, try and boost your dietary B12 intake.
Common sources of B12 include animal products such as red meat, fish, poultry, yogurt, and milk. Vitamin B12 is poorly absorbed from eggs .
A couple of studies suggest that algae may also be a viable source of B12 .
However, keep in mind that vitamin B12 levels are often low due to underlying conditions, such as impaired nutrient absorption due to gut-associated disease. In these cases, a simple dietary change wont help increase B12 levels.
2) Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol consumption can reduce B12. Avoiding it will prevent further decreases in B12 levels .
3) Avoid Smoking
Smoking can also lower B12 levels and should be avoided .
4) Alternative Drugs
Knowing that your drugs likely decrease B12 levels can help if you take action and supplement accordingly. Metformin in diabetics is a good example .
Review your medication with your doctor or another healthcare professional, and discuss alternatives for those that are decreasing your B12 levels.
Natural or biologically active forms are a better option than synthetic cyanocobalamin.
Understanding Your Lab Tests: Vitamin B12 And Rbc
The body needs thousands of nutrients. What we call vitamins are just the ones we cannot manufacture ourselves and must get from our diet.
Of all the known B-vitamins , B12 and B9 levels are two of the most important to maintaining our physical, mental and emotional health.
Folate levels, for example, are routinely checked in pregnant women as deficiency can result in birth defects.
And if youre low on energy, over the age of 60, on a restrictive vegetarian or vegan diet, or are having issues with memory, mood or neuropathy, many doctors will run B12 tests, as deficiencies have become common.
We know that reference ranges in labs only capture variation in a population.
Just because a vitamin level is normal does not mean its sufficient. Do you really know what your optimal levels of B12 and folate should be, or how to get enough of these crucial vitamins?
In todays article , youll learn exactly what you need to know about your B12 and folate levels and lab tests including:
- Why you should get your levels checked
- Symptoms of low B12 and folate
- The optimal/functional ranges of B12 and folate
- The root causes of deficiencies
- How to optimize your levels safely
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Treating Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anaemia
Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia is usually treated with injections of vitamin B12.
There are 2 types of vitamin B12 injections:
Hydroxocobalamin is usually the recommended option as it stays in the body for longer.
At first, you’ll have these injections every other day for 2 weeks or until your symptoms have started improving.
Your GP or nurse will give the injections.
After this initial period, your treatment will depend on whether the cause of your vitamin B12 deficiency is related to your diet or whether the deficiency is causing any neurological problems, such as problems with thinking, memory and behaviour.
The most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in the UK is pernicious anaemia, which is not related to your diet.
The Mcv Can Test Vitamin B12 Levels
The first and most common Vitamin B12 blood test that is done is actually not for Vitamin B12 at all. When laboratories do a regular Complete Blood Count or CBC, they further categorize this test by measuring the size of the red blood cell and the number of them on the portion of the test called an MCV Blood Test. If the cells come back larger than normal with fewer of them, you will be said to have Macrocytic Anemia– which is often caused vitamin B12 deficiency. But macrocytic anemia often wont occur for up to 2 years after the onset of Vitamin B12 deficiency.
So, even if you are severely deficient, if you havent been that way for up to 2 years, you won’t show macrocytic anemia. Therefore, IF you have macrocytic anemia, it’s extremely likely that you do have Vitamin B12 Deficiency, but if you do not have macrocytosis, you can still have Vitamin B12 Deficiency.
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We Indians Are Significantly Deficient Of Vitamin B12 Says New Research Your Body Cannot Make This Vitamin So You Have To Rely Upon Certain Foods To Up The Count Of This Vitamin
Written by Editorial Team | Published : April 6, 2019 10:41 AM IST
Vitamin B12 plays a pivotal role in your nerves. It also helps in the development of red blood cells . So, lack of this vitamin may lead to low RBC count and cause anaemia. Since RBCs are crucial for transporting oxygen to crucial organs and tissues inside your body, you may experience heart and lung problems if you are low on vitamin B12. Recently, scientists from Hyderabad s National Institute of Nutrition tested vitamin levels of 270 individuals for a study. The age group of the study participants was between 30 to 70 years. The research, published in the journal Nutrition revealed dietary deficiency of vitamin B12 by 46 per cent, folate by 32 per cent, vitamin D by 29 per cent, and vitamins B1 and A registered 11 and 6 per cent deficit respectively. The deficiency of vitamin D was quite surprising in our context as Indians are not supposed to be lacking in sunlight, the best source of this vitamin.
According to this study, 96 per cent of the participants exhibited dietary deficiency of vitamin B12. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to various health complications including cognitive impairment, swollen or inflamed tongue and anaemia. You may also find it difficult to walk if you are deficient of this vitamin. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include fatigue, shortness of breath, impaired vision, memory loss, and loss of appetite among others.