Vitamins and minerals are essential to our health because, these are substances our body needs to function, yet we must ingest them, either in food, a beverage, or a vitamin supplement.
There are so many vitamins and minerals like this, that it can be difficult to monitor them all and ensure we are ingesting the minimum necessary. And the fact is that we do tend to get enough of most of these nutrients. But vitamin B12 is different.
Identifying Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Over 20% of seniors are vitamin B12 deficient, and this vital vitamin impacts some of the most important functions in our bodies:
- Red blood cell formation
- Maintaining proper neurologic function
- DNA synthesis
When we don’t ingest enough B12, these vital functions begin to deteriorate.
Vitamin B12 deficiency often develops slowly, so it is easy to overlook. As we age, the signs can be even more subtle, and are often seen as a normal part of getting old, when in reality, these happen to be symptoms you can treat with a healthy diet. In other cases, symptoms can develop rapidly.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Check the following list to see if you could be suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Anemia (causing tiredness, lethargy, being out of breath, feeling light-headed, headaches, and decreased appetite)
- Red tongue
- Mouth ulcers
- Yellowing of the skin
- Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
- Difficulty walking
- Vision problems
- Mood changes (irritability, depression, psychosis)
- Cognitive problems (memory, concentration, attention)
- Generalized weakness and fatigue
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then this article should be great news for you! Vitamin deficiency is one of the easiest health issues to solve.
Convenient Ways to Treat Vitamin B Deficiency
In seniors, changes in the stomach impair food absorption, and B12 is particularly impacted. However, it is possible to get our vitamin B12 levels back to normal. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults older than 50 years of age obtain most of their vitamin B12 from vitamin supplements or fortified foods.
Excellent sources of vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. Plant foods generally are not a good source of vitamin B12, but cereals are often fortified and provide a good source of the vitamin. Below are some excellent sources of vitamin B12:
- Liver or beef
- Breakfast cereals
Vitamin B12 is a vitamin with important functions. Without it, we are at risk for both mental and physical illness. Following the guidelines, and making sure we are getting enough B12 is a goal we all need to take seriously.