Tuesday, March 26, 2013
To quote a recent article I read: "Vitamin B12 is essential for many critical functions in the body, including energy production, DNA synthesis and blood formation. However, B12 is most critically needed to form myelin, the protective “insulation” that surrounds nerve endings and helps nerves “talk” to each other efficiently."
A recent study found that nearly 40% of Americans of ALL AGES are deficient - and that is when they are NOT dieting.
I recently experienced the very scary effects of a severe vitamin B12 deficiency, which can include the following symptoms:
Fatigue or lack of energy
Shortness of breath
Dizziness or lightheadedness
It can lead to damage to the myelin sheath that covers nerves and include the following symptoms:
Numbness or tingling in arms and legs
I had EVERYTHING but the dementia before I realized what was going on (thanks to my SparkPeople food tracker), and had all the classic symptoms of a heart attack. Prolonged deficiency can lead to irreversible nervous system damage.
Through this process, I have discovered most animal product entries (food source for B12) in the SparkPeople food database DO NOT accurately reflect their B12 content, probably because they are not listed on the label.
When I sampled one of my more robust food days and looked up the B12 values for the food items that day, I discovered that even with all my food entries, I STILL did not get enough vitamin B12 to hit the 50% mark. The irony is that if I didn't have a decent background in nutrition and asked the Dr. to test me for B12 and do a CBC, I could have ended up with a slew of ER and cardiology bills. Most docs overlook B12 and don't think of testing for it.
If you are experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned above, make sure to get your B12 levels checked.
References (not properly documented - sorry have to get to work):