The Importance of Vitamin B12

The Importance of Vitamin B12

What causes B12 deficiency?

Were you aware that Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common problem in adults and can cause disorders like memory loss and nervous system malfunctions? Vitamin B12 is essential for the brain and nervous system to function properly and is often caused by poor absorption of the vitamin in the digestive tract. Diets high in inflammatory foods, food intolerances (such as gluten), and chronic stress are significant causes. A lack of stomach acid due to the use of antacids and acid-blocking drugs and other prescription drugs, alcoholism, and weight-loss surgery can also create B12 depletion.

B12 deficiency symptoms

B12 deficiency can cause symptoms that resemble early signs of dementia. This is particularly significant because our ability to absorb B12 declines with age. Research indicates that elderly individuals who maintain higher levels of B12 are less likely to experience cognitive decline and other aging-related disorders.

Symptoms of a B12 deficiency include:

  • Low Energy
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Confusion or Brain Fog
  • Sleep problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Hearing and vision loss
  • Memory problems
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Weak Immune function
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
vitamin b12
vitamin b12

What are the benefits of vitamin b12?

Vitamin B12 guards the brain and nervous system by keeping nerves healthy and functioning properly. It’s a water-soluble vitamin and one of the most important nutrients in protecting the brain and reducing the risk of age-related cognitive declines.

Vitamin B12 plays an integral role in the maintenance and development of red blood cells, nerve cells, and neurotransmitters, as well as the production of DNA and RNA. Adequate levels of vitamin B12 are essential for the function of the nervous system and the formation of blood cells. Additionally, vitamin B12 is necessary for synthesizing myelin, a fatty substance that protects and covers nerve fibers.

Can B12 deficiency affect your autoimmune system?

People with autoimmune hypothyroidism have a 25% risk of developing other autoimmune conditions due to a lack of B12. Hypothyroidism also impedes B12 absorption. Those without the autoimmune component are also at risk due to the generalized inflammation. B12 is mainly found in animal foods, which means vegans and vegetarians should be aware that they will need to get their B12 from other sources. Natural plant sources of B12, such as spirulina, algae, seaweed, or grasses, are poorly absorbed and often give a false reading of normal B12 levels.

A blood test and a specialized test for a comprehensive nutritional profile can determine if you are B12 deficient. The best treatment for B12 deficiency is methyl B12, or methylcobalamin, a form of B12 supplementation. It is usually a more neurologically active form of treatment, and it also enhances a liver detoxification process called methylation, which can reduce inflammation.