The Importance of Vitamins
When it comes to eating right, you are probably familiar with macronutrients that include fat, proteins and fiber. However, it is the micronutrients that can really dictate how your metabolism functions. In particular, vitamin intake plays a crucial role in how your body functions on a day to day basis. If you do not get all of the right vitamins, in the right amounts, you may experience a number of adverse side effects.
What are Vitamins?
Vitamins are micronutrients that you mostly get from food. These nutrients allow your body to function properly and offer a number of benefits. For instance, Vitamin A protects your eyes, Vitamin C helps battle high blood pressure and Vitamin D maintains bone health. Being deficient in any of these vitamins can cause problems with your body. An important and often overlooked micronutrient is Vitamin B12.
What is Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is one of eight B vitamins that contain the rare mineral cobalt. B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in metabolism in every part of your body. This important vitamin is also a cofactor in DNA synthesis.
What Does B12 Do in Your Body
Vitamin B12 plays a key work in your energy production and the creation of blood cells. More specifically, vitamin B12 ensures that your nerves and your blood cells are working properly. In addition to controlling the production of nerve and blood cells, B12 plays a key role in the building process in your DNA. Your DNA will dictate everything from the color of your hair to the color of your eyes. With the right amount of B12 in your body, you will have the energy you need and your DNA production will function properly.
Symptoms of B12 Deficiency
While B12 is one of the most important vitamins out there, many people are actually deficient in this important vitamin. In fact, it is estimated that 40% of the U.S. population is deficient in vitamin B12. While vitamin B12 deficiency is mostly associated with vegan diets, there are a number of non-vegans who are lacking in their daily recommended intake of B12.
Without the right amounts of vitamin B12, your body can experience a number of problems. Symptoms of low levels of vitamin B12 include:
- A loss of appetite
- Unexplained Weight Loss
If you do not correct your deficiency in vitamin B12, your body will experience a number of more serious issues including:
- Confusion which can lead to dementia
- Balance issues that can lead to falls and injuries
- Tingling in the hands and the feet
- Soreness in the mouth and in the tongue
- Short term memory loss
Many people who are deficient in vitamin B12 tend to feel run down, depressed and low on energy. They don’t know why they feel this way and they have no idea that the source of their issues is a lack of these critical micronutrients. In many cases, these “run down” people try to take a bunch of energy supplements or energy drinks in order to get out of their rut. The problem is, almost all of these “energy boosters” are high in caffeine and do not contain any B12. That means these people will experience a “pop” in energy followed by an “energy crash.” The vitamin B12 deficiency issue is not addressed and the person is at risk for long term damage to their body.
Foods That May Help Boost Levels of Vitamin B12
The good news is that it is rather easy to get all the B12 vitamins you need by eating some foods that you already like. Here is a list of foods that are high in vitamin B12.
- Beef, Liver and Chicken – Meats are generally high in B12. However, it is important not to overeat meats which could lead to weight gain. It is recommended that you eat about 4 ounces of meat with your meal.
- Fish and shellfish such as tuna fish, clams, trout and salmon – Many of the healthiest populations in the world enjoy fish on a regular basis. You should try to integrate at least one serving of fish, into your meals, at least once a week.
- Fortified breakfast cereal – Those who are on a vegan or vegetarian diet will have a problem finding foods that naturally contain vitamin B12. However, there are a number of cereals fortified with vitamin B12. Usually, one serving of cereal will have about 25% of the daily recommended serving of vitamin B12.
- Fortified Non-Diary Milk – Another great source of B12 for vegans is almond milk, oat milk and other non-dairy milk products. The vitamin B12 is fortified in the milk.
- Milk, Yogurt and Cheese – Many dairy products contain vitamin B12. However, it is important to enjoy these foods in moderation to avoid weight gain.
- Eggs – Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. However, you will want to no overdo your egg intake because of the high cholesterol content.
Who Should Take B12 Supplementation?
You may want to consider B12 supplementation if you are on a strict vegan or vegetarian diet. While you can find fortified cereals and fortified non-diary milk with vitamin B12, these foods may not have enough of the micronutrient for your daily recommended intake. Note that not all supplements are effective. Therefore, you should research the best vitamin B12 supplements. There are various options for getting supplemental B12. These include tablets, sublingual tablets or drops, and injections.
B12 and Weight Gain. Can Vitamin B12 Make You Gain Weight?
While low levels of B12 can lead to weight loss. Some people are concerned that may gain weigh after starting B12 injection. You may gain a few pounds initially because of increased appetite. This is usually short lived and uncommon in our clinical practice. Following an appropriate diet with exercise will help prevent weight gain from happening.
What to Do About Weight Gain
Vitamin B12 and weight gain can be prevented by some common sense eating habits. It is recommended that you enjoy vitamin B12 rich animal foods in moderation. For instance, enjoy one or two eggs instead of three eggs for breakfast. You can also opt for leaner cuts of meat or restrict your overall meat consumption to about four ounces per meal.
If you are already overweight or if you are gaining weight, then consider consuming fortified cereals and non-dairy milk in order to get your vitamin B12 intake. Be careful not eat too much processed food. Also, look at supplementing B12 during your meals.
In addition to making adjustments to you diet, you can begin to move more. It is recommended that you get at least 60 minutes of exercise per week. Don’t worry. You don’t even need to go to the gym to get these amount of exercise. You can simply go for four 15-minute walks each week. This will give you 60 minutes of weekly exercise that will boost your metabolism and help you burn more fat.
Should I Get Tested?
If you are feeling low in energy, then you should have your B12 levels tested. There is a tendency for people to “self diagnose” their condition and treat themselves with energy pills, energy drinks and “uppers.” This is why so many people feel so run down and don’t know why. When it comes to your body, you should always seek the help of a professional that can safely detect the problem and offer proven treatments.
One of the quickest ways to measure your vitamin B12 levels is by getting a blood screening. A proper blood screen of your micronutrient levels will allow you to know for sure what is wrong with your body. From there, you will be able to safely reverse your low energy without dangerous side effects.
Come in Today to Boost Your B12 Levels and Regain Your Lost Energy
You don’t have to live your life with low energy. Visit us today at Modern Body Clinic. For years, we have treated hundreds of people with low energy and other related health issues. Our medical, health and wellness specialists can help improve your low-energy issues with proven treatments that may include B12 vitamins. Imagine having more energy than ever and living your life to the fullest. Imagine all the fun activities you can do without fear of getting tired or feeling “run down.” Start your new path today for a happier, healthier and more energetic tomorrow.
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