Not feeling yourself lately? Maybe a little more tired and sluggish then usual? One thing that could be contributing to the way you are feeling is not getting enough vitamin B12. B12 helps make red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout your body. According to WebMD not getting enough vitamin B12 can cause you to become anemic, which makes you feel weak and tired. WebMD states, “Anemia is a condition that develops when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a main part of red blood cells and binds oxygen.” Vitamin B12 is absorbed by a persons stomach, intestines and digestive system. However when this doesn’t occur you could have a specific kind of anemia, called vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. This anemia is when your body does not absorb the vitamin B12 as it should.
So how do you know how much B12 a persons needs a day? Well, the amount of B12 that you need on a daily basis depends on your age. When a person is thirteen the recommended daily amount of B12 is about 1.8 micrograms. Once you are fourteen or over that increases to about 2.4 micrograms a day. If you are pregnant it is recommended to increase your intake to 2.6 micrograms daily and if you are breastfeeding 2.8 micrograms daily is suggested.
Are there natural ways to receive vitamin B12? Of course! B12 is a vitamin that is found in meat or products that come from animals. Some things you could eat that will help increase your B12 intake are food such as plain yogurt, eggs, milk and chicken breast. Some foods have B12 added to them, like certain kinds of cereal because they don’t naturally have the vitamin. Many people naturally get enough B12 if they eat a variety of different foods. However, If you are a vegan a supplement such as a daily vitamin might be necessary to get the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12.
Alcohol can also play a role in the absorption of B12 in a persons body. The more alcohol a person drinks the less ability they have to absorb vitamin B12 in their liver. According to Livestrong.com “Vitamin B12 is essential and stored in the liver, an organ often severely damaged by alcohol abuse. Repeat exposure to excessive amounts of alcohol can cause irreversible damage to the liver and eventual B12 deficiency” So the next time you are out try to keep you alcohol level to a minimum as not to tamper with your bodies ability to absorb B12.
If you have vitamin B12 deficiency anemia there are a couple different ways to improve your health. After consulting with a physician, they may recommend to take a pill form of vitamin B12 you could take that has a higher dose of the vitamin than a regular multi-vitamin. Once your level of B12 has returned to normal some of the symptoms of B12 deficiency anemia might go away, however many people with this form of anemia may have to keep taking the pills as a preventative of it returning.
There are ways to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency. WebMD recommends to, “eat a varied diet that includes meat, milk, cheese, and eggs, which are good sources of vitamin B12. Also eat plenty of foods that contain folic acid, another type of B vitamin. These include leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and fortified cereals.”
If you are feeling like it is harder then usual to get out of bed in the morning, consult your physician because you could be needing more vitamin B12 in your diet. Make sure to eat a variety of foods and take a multi-vitamin daily to keep your energy levels up and keep your body feeling the best it can!