B12 Deficiency Is Devastating To Health 

And Often Missed By Doctors

from Health Radar Newsletter

   What do lack of energy, falls, shakiness, difficulty walking, mental fogginess, and depression have in common?  All can signal a deficiency of B12, a crucial vitamin found in meat, eggs, and dairy products.
   Yet, despite the fact that shortage of B12 is epidemic and devastating to health, doctors typically misdiagnose it.

    B12 is necessary for our bodies to produce red blood cells and to maintain a healthy nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord.

   But as we get older, supplies are likely to fall short because our bodies produce less stomach acid, which is necessary to absorb B12.
  Symptoms can take years to develop and may not be noticeable until they become more severe and debilitating.   They may include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, difficulty walking, memory loss, depression, irritability, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, or weight loss.
    If you suspect a deficiency, get these two blood tests: serum B12 and methylmalonic acid.  Methylmalonic acid is elevated when B12 is lacking.
  In some instances, there may be an underlying medical condition that needs attention.  Or, you simply may need to take B12 supplements or get shots.
 
But Get The Right B12
    If you are healthy and want to stay that way, take a sublingual B12 supplement of at least 1,000 mcg a day of methylcobalamin.  Methylcobalamin is the form of B12 that is naturally found in the human body.  
    Many supplements come in another, lower-priced form called cyanocobalamin, which is derived from cyanide.  Cyanocobalamin has to be broken down into the methylcobalamin form in order to be used by the body.  That process can be problematic, and additives in the lower-priced form can cause side effects.
    Many people get B12 injections from their doctor periodically, which can also be an effective way to avoid deficiency.  Studies have shown that the sublingual form is as effective as injections.

Causes of B12 Deficiency
    Pernicious anemia is a widely recognized  cause of B12 deficiency, and because meat is a major dietary source of the nutrient, vegans are quite likely to fall short.  However, other common contributors to a lack of B12 are often overlooked.  These include bariatric surgery, Crohn's disease, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and eating disorders.  Certain drugs can also cause B12 deficiency, including heart burn drugs such as proton pump inhibitors {Prilosec, Zantac, Nexium}, antacids, the diabetes drug metformin, and nitrous oxide used for anesthesia during dental procedures.