Not feeling like the sharpest tool in the box? Feeling sluggish? Or that Father Time is catching up on you? A deficiency in vitamin B12 could be the culprit. B12 is a micronutrient that aids in supporting energy levels as it helps the body convert carbohydrates into glucose, essentially, the fuel that keeps you going. It is also important in the replication of DNA, without it, the body won’t generate new cells and this deficiency can mimic the effects of aging. B12 has a impact on nerve cells which has a significant effect on the brain, resulting in mental fog, problems with memory and at worst, an increased risk of dementia in later life.
According to Dr. Mercola, it’s a very common to be lacking in this essential vitamin with one in four people being deficient. Vegetarians and vegans are at higher risk as they tend to consume little to none of foods that contain high B12 levels which are seafood, meat, dairy and eggs. People who do follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet may not see any signs of deficiency for some time because the body has the capacity to store up to 5 years worth of B12.
Even through diet it’s difficult to obtain enough of B12 because absorbing this essential energy vitamin is a complex process that needs binding to a protein called the intrinsic factor in the small intestine and as we age this factor naturally decreases and some people lack the intrinsic factor. Common symptoms of lacking B12 are dizziness, weakness, fatigue, numbness, irritability and anemia can be a result from a deficiency.
Because B12 isn’t the easiest vitamin for the body to absorb, the best way to supplement is to take a sublingual (under the tongue) as this goes straight into the bloodstream. Also, make sure that the B12 is it’s most active form which is methylcobalamin while the most common form used in supplements is cyanocobalamin, a cheaper B12 to manufacture and harder for the body to assimilate.
When it comes to dosing and taking B12, the suggested dosage is 24-100 mcg a day, always ask a health professional to make sure it won’t counteract with any existing medication you may be taking.