Yes, the title is a tad dramatic but low B12 is a very serious condition. I’ve mentioned my battle with low B12 in previous posts but never took the time to dedicate a full blog post to this crucial nutrient. I want to keep it as short and sweet as possible! Let’s start with the symptoms of low B12:
Symptoms of low B12:
Shortness of breath
Tingling in the arms and legs
Low B12 can lead to a condition called pernicious anemia. In the past, people died of this condition because there were no vitamin B12 treatments. When my blood work came back 4 years ago, my B12 levels were so low I was losing feeling in my feet and hands, having nerve pain in my back and couldn’t get through the day without taking a nap.
The most common reason for this type of anemia is the bodies inability to absorb B12 due to damage done in the gut. Often people with pernicious anemia also have an underlying autoimmune disease. This is often a misdiagnosed condition. Up to 44% of people with pernicious anemia are wrongly diagnosed. If untreated this condition can have terrible side effects, like the ones listed above.
Ask your doctor to test your B12 levels, most will comply. Make sure you ask to see the results for yourself, normal B12 levels are a wide range and some people need more than others. Personally, I do not feel well unless I am above the recommended range. Talk to a health professional before taking any new supplements! If your levels are very low, B12 shots may be recommended. This is a good option, especially if your body is unable to absorb the nutrient in pill form.
Natural sources of B12
Much like the many other nutrients our bodies need, we can get B12 from our food. Some of the main sources of B12 are as follows:
Be Your Own Advocate
You’ve heard me say it before, be your own advocate! No one knows your body like you. If you think there is something wrong, trust that gut instinct and find a health care practitioner that will help you.
Eat Your Veggies!