B12 deficiency got you down?
B12 deficiency isn’t just something that is common in vegan and vegetarian individuals. B12 deficiency is also relevant to individuals with history of stomach surgery, use of pharmaceuticals which lower stomach acid, type 2 diabetes medications, disorders of impaired malabsorption such as Crohn’s or Celiac, as well older individuals with lower levels of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid).
Vitamin B12 is bound to protein in food, and is released by the activity of hydrochloric acid produced by the cells in the lining of the stomach. This is very important as not only does hydrochloric acid production decrease while we age, there are also a variety of roadblocks to its optimal production, including pharmaceuticals listed above, as well as other conditions affecting normal digestion.
A simple way to increase your hydrochloric acid production is to sip lemon juice in water before a meal.
Dietary sources of vitamin B12 include fish, shellfish, dairy products, organ meats (particularly liver and kidney) eggs, beef, and pork.
Some of the physical symptoms associated with B12 deficiency are fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Because vitamin B12 plays a role in maintaining nerve health, deficiency may result in neurological changes, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet,difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue.
Recent research studies are showing that vitamin B12 reference ranges from blood laboratory results are too low and a portion of individuals may already be suffering from deficiency symptoms captured by lab results. As a Naturopathic Doctor I am able to look at these lab results and look for trends, as discuss physical symptoms.
Naturopathic Medicine provides many additional ways to support hydrochloric acid production and to optimize digestion so vitamin B12 can be absorbed optimally. If you are already taking a B12 supplement, be sure to check out my blog on supplements. Vitamin B12 is commonly found in the form cyanocobalmin, which isn’t necessarily the best most absorbable form for everyone.
This post is for educational purposes only, and not meant to replace a visit with a health practitioner.