The Harmful Effects of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency


The Harmful Effects of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Do you suffer from fatigue and do you have little energy? Are you struggling through your day? Can you no longer have the motivation to go to the gym?

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Do you suffer from fatigue and do you have little energy? Are you struggling through your day? Can you no longer have the motivation to go to the gym?

Although there are many possible causes for fatigue, we dive deeper into the matter and see how a lack of a specific nutrient, vitamin B12, can lead to fatigue and reduced vitality. Of course we also tell you how you can supplement this.

What does Vitamin B12 do?

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is one of the eight essential B vitamins and essential for maintaining your energy levels by producing your red blood cells, the oxygen and nutrient transporting “taxis” in your bloodstream. However, you will be surprised how many other essential processes are controlled by this essential vitamin.

B12 plays a critical role in the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone necessary for recovery, renewal and resilience. It is also important for the formation of myelin, which ensures that your nerves and nervous system function optimally.

The function of B12 can be directly traced back to your DNA and RNA production, the genetic material that is the blueprint for your health and your performance. B12 works in teams with other B vitamins to convert your food into energy (crucial to combat winter fatigue) and also keeps your heart healthy by regulating the pro-inflammatory homocysteine ​​level, which is a reliable indicator of heart disease .

If your B12 levels are low, you may suffer from;

  • increasing fatigue
  • poor memory
  • concentration problems
  • anemia
  • muscle weakness
  • low vitality
  • bad night’s sleep

Why is my B12 level too low?

Common causes of a B12 deficiency that you may have heard of before are vegan / vegetarian diets, an inability to absorb B12 (for example, due to an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or surgery for weight loss), bacterial infection (e.g. with the H. pylori bacteria) and aging.

However, if we dig a little deeper and do some more research, we find a few lesser known causes that are not noticed by many doctors, namely:

Your heartburn is not acidic enough

  • Genetic “SNiPs”
  • Medication
  • Below we explain more about the above causes.

1. Your heartburn is not acidic enough
Your stomach plays a key role in supporting B12 uptake through the production of a protein called intrinsic factor / intrinsic factor (IF), which is necessary for B12 to be absorbed effectively into your cells. If your stomach acid level is too low – due to stress, a vegan / vegetarian diet, stomach acid medication, aging, et ceteta – your stomach cannot produce enough IF, leading to a B12 deficiency. A mild solution to contribute to an optimal acid situation in your stomach is to use apple cider vinegar for your meals.

2. Genetic “SNiPs”
It is also possible that your DNA ensures that your B12 level is not optimal. Genetic “single nucleotide polymorphisms” (abbreviated to SNiPs and pronounced “snips”) are small genetic variations that occur in your DNA that can lead to inadequate production of key enzymes needed to absorb certain vitamins.

New research shows that the genetic SNiP FUT-2 gene may contribute strongly to low B12 levels. However, it is important to remember that even if you were tested positive for an SNiP during a genetic study, it does not mean that you will be deficient for life. It simply means that you will need to do some extras to ensure that your diet is rich in foods containing B12.

3. Medication
It’s not just the classic proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 blockers (this is
say drugs like omeprazole or ending in “-azole”, or ranitidine or drugs
ending in “-tidine”) that are made to treat stomach acid by affecting the acid levels in your stomach that can lower your B12. There is a whole range of medicines that can lead to low B12 levels and fatigue; metformin (for diabetes), antibiotics, methotrexate (used for chemotherapy) and some cholesterol-lowering medicines
medicines (e.g. cholestyramine). If you are taking any of these medications, talk to your doctor about checking your B12 level.

The Harmful Effects of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

The classic method of checking your B12 status is blood sampling. A clear deficiency is normally determined at a level of about 150-200pg / mL (this varies per laboratory). However, this range disregards the ideal “functional range” – a term used to describe the amount needed for good health (and not just to prevent disease). Most doctors aim for a level of 800-1,000pg / mL; anything less than that is considered a shortage. A deficiency related to your diet shows a level that is too low to ensure the best possible health, and while it is not an obvious deficiency, it can still lead to many of the ill effects associated with a B12- shortage.

Another important point to check if you think you have a B12 deficiency is methylmalonic acid. If you have a deficient or too low B12 level, you will produce significant amounts of methylmalonic acid and this may be the case even though the B12 levels in your blood have been found to be “normal”. This can be measured using the same blood draw as for the B12 test. Genetic research can also be useful to detect SNiPs in your DNA that can make you susceptible to a deficient B12 level or deficiency.

What is the best food to increase my B12 levels?
The best way to increase your B12 level is to follow a diet approach that provides a good amount of B12. A Paleo approach to your food is the perfect foundation to tackle a low B12 level for good, since animal protein is by far the best dietary source for B12.

Get extra B12 by regularly adding more of the following foods to the menu; shellfish (85 grams per serving), organ meats, fatty fish from cold waters (such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines), beef and game and free-range eggs. Depending on the severity of your deficiency, aim for one to four servings (85 grams) per day of these nutrient-rich products.

  • salmon

Are B12 injections recommended?
If you are found to have a deficient or too low B12 level and need to quickly restore B12 levels to fight your fatigue and lack of energy, B12 injections can be a great option. The injection is given intramuscularly, usually at the back of your shoulder, thus skipping your digestive system (an area that can limit your ability to absorb B12) and dramatically increases bioavailability or ability to absorb it. to take. In short, B12 injections are a great way to acutely increase your B12 levels while you build intake through your diet.

B12 injections can ensure that you reach an ideal level and can give you a nice energy kick. But keep in mind that your diet is the foundation for good health and performance, so be sure to get B12-rich animal protein to keep your B12 levels high year-round.

It’s important to note that the B12 that doctors use is generally cyanocobalamin, an older form of B12 not found in nature. While some of this is converted to the active form in the body, people with a conversion problem (such as a digestive condition) or SNiPs are unlikely to absorb this form very well.

Then opt for the methylcobalamin variant instead, which does not require any conversion in the body and which will give you the most benefit. B12 injections are usually given in doses of 1,000mcg, weekly and for four to eight weeks depending on your values ​​and your clinical condition (ask your doctor for more information).

Low energy, fatigue and brain fog are never pleasant, but are extra heavy in the winter months when the days are colder and darker, and the hectic period of the holidays can easily “neck” you. If you need a quick fix, a series of B12 injections can do the trick. But don’t forget that your diet is the foundation for your health and performance, so make sure you get enough B12-rich animal protein to keep your B12 levels up all year round.


The Harmful Effects of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency