Before describing the vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms in more details I will explain the most common symptom related to B12 (which might have brought most of you to this page) which is a lack of energy. No wonder if you look at the nutritional label of energy drinks like Red bull, they overdose you on vitamin B12! Also, if you are a vegan (0 animal products), this might be another red signal that you are deficient in Vitamin B12 since it comes mostly from animal products. Vegetarians at the very least can eat eggs (ideally pastured free range eggs) or which are very high in vitamin B12 and highly recommended (milk/cheese also good). Your other alternatives, given in more details later, are supplements and injections.
Onwards to the less “obvious” causes and deficiency symptoms of B12:
Besides lack of energy/willpower here are some other symptoms of vitamin B12:
- Tension in Muscles
- Poor Memory
- Digestive Issues (leaky gut)
- Long term deficiency might damage the brain and/or bone
When left unchecked the disease can lead to more serious complications such as mood swings leading to depression, feeling numb on both hands and feet, and diminishing memory like dementia.
While less known, vitamin B12 holds very important functions in keeping the body healthy. Also known as cobalamin and cyanocobalamin, it is responsible for producing red blood cells which transport oxygen to all cells of the body. Vitamin B 12 also plays an integral role in making the nervous system to function properly and prevent conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
Common causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency includes:
- gastro-intestinal surgeries,
- Crohn’s disease (condition of the intestines), and
- pernicious anemia (inadequate amount of intrinsic factor in the bloodstream).
- Being vegeterian (low amount of animal products) or Vegan (0 animal products)
Mothers who are vegan are at risks of having babies born with defects because of the lack of cobalamin in the diet which is very important for brain and body development.
How to prevent and cure symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency:
Although Vitamin 12 Deficiency can lead to serious problems, there are many ways this can be prevented and (most likely if you came to this page) treated.
1) If the cause of the deficiency is due to poor diet, and your doctor does not see some other reason for the deficiency, you should eat foods that are rich with Vitamin B12 such as meat, fish, and poultry. There are also a lot of Vitamin B12 supplements that are available in the form of tablets, capsules or as a spray. According to this article from DR Mercola the best way in supplement from to absorb B12 is sublingual (liquid under the tongue). So if your test results of vitamin B12 do not improve with conventional supplements, definitely try a spray under your tongue next! I posted a link to the now foods B12 liposomal spray here on amazon for those in the US (iherb link for worldwide viewers is here use coupon “IFI934” for $10 off! ), which is a brand I use for most of my normal supplements (but not B12 currently, since I just increased my intake of food sources that have a lot of B12).
2) If your deficiency is not 100% due to nutrition or you need an extreme boost due to pharmaceutical pills, a genetic condition or some other condition, that is preventing you from absorbing it correctly, what seems to be most effective is the use of Vitamin B12 injections.
Many sufferers of symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are prescribed by their physicians to have injections. Here are the reasons why Vitamin B12 injections are better than other treatments (if your need is immediate and you cannot wait or the nutrition change aspect does not work):
- Compared to oral medications, Vitamin B12 injections offer faster results because it does not undergo process in the digestive tract. It is directly absorbed in the bloodstream after administration so you can experience an increased sense of energy and diminishing symptoms after being given the injection.
- Having Vitamin B12 injections could maybe come cheaper than taking vitamin capsules daily if those are badly absorbed, the doctor can prescribe once a month injections.
- Vitamin B12 injections are also a good option for people who are taking a lot of medications since it is less of a toll on your liver and maybe makes it easier depending on the individual when to take it.
While Vitamin B12 shots seems to be the best option in combating Vitamin B12 deficiency, it is still advised to seek advice from your physician as to what treatment suits you best. Personally making sure I ate more meat products (especially eggs which are very healthy for me and that I use for homemade ice cream) solved all potential problems.