Many people who change their diets and begin eating more healthfully often end up with a deficiency in B12, an essential vitamin for optimal health. B12 is common among red meats, poultry, fish, and dairy. But if you want to cut down on your saturated fat intake, you may decide to cut down or eliminate these foods, which can cause a B12 deficiency. It is important to pay attention to changes in your body so that you can identify the symptoms right away. The symptoms are many, and may include fatigue, changes in vision, shortness of breath, problems with memory, changes in mood, or paleness.
Since the physical changes in your body are gradual, you are likely to have a chronic case of B12 deficiency by the time you notices any of these symptoms. So, I recommend that you get what is known as a “Complete Blood Count” test, or it's also called just a CBC test. It measures the concentration of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in the blood. It will help your doctor determine if you have vitamin deficiencies commonly associated with those who restrict or eliminate red meat and dairy, such as vitamins B12, B1, B6, B2, iron, A, D, protein, and other common vitamin deficiencies. Another good test is the Comprehensive Metabolic Panels, or the CMP, that measures concentration of potassium, calcium, iron, and sodium. The CMPs also measure glucose levels, thyroid levels, Endocrine functioning, and a check of your cholesterol.
These tests are not always done, and you may need to tell your doctor to perform them. It’s a good idea to have them done during your annual physical. As with all maladies, early detection is key. So, pay attention to your body and get your regular check-ups.
For more reading on B12 deficiencies, check out the following Centers for Disease Control website: