It's the season for over-indulging and overdoing, from sampling those cookies you baked for the office party to trying to fit in holiday shopping with work and family. But if your get-up-and-go seems to have vanished, you could be suffering from vitamin B-12 deficiency. On his Dec. 20 talk show, Dr. Mehmet Oz explained how to tell if you aren't getting enough of energizing vitamin B-12 and how to correct your deficiency.
Understanding the benefits of B-12: Your body needs this vitamin to manufacture red blood cells. If you don't get enough, you can develop anemia. It also helps your nerve cells to function properly and is needed to replicate DNA. Symptoms of B-12 deficiency include: Fatigue, dizziness, weakness, mood changes, numbness and tingling. And because B12 impacts your nerve cells, not getting enough can even result in dementia.
Because vitamin B-12 is present in animal foods, vegans and vegetarians are particularly at risk for deficiency. But they aren't the only ones. Common medications ranging from aspirin to antacids also can impact your body's ability to absorb vitamin B12. Although most cases can be corrected with food and/or supplements, some cases may require B-12 injections.
Should you take vitamin B-12? Because your stomach lining changes as you age, most experts recommend taking 25 to 100 mcg of B12 if you are over 50. In addition, if you are a vegan, vegetarian or regularly take medication, talk with your doctor to get personalized advice. For those who have problems swallowing large pills, vitamin B-12 is available in different formats, such as Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin B-12 Lozenges and Vitafusion Energy B12 Gummy Vitamins.
Foods high in B-12 include fish such as salmon, dairy products such as yogurt and eggs. In addition, some fortified cereals contain B-12. Read the label carefully and choose a whole grain cereal that contains a minimum of 25 percent of your daily B12 needs, such as Total Whole Grain Cereal and Kellogg's Special K Cereal.