The winter is dragging and some of you may feel like you’ve had a cold for as long as you can remember. You’re not alone, the winter sniffles have just about reached everybody, with the weather being colder and wetter it’s easy to feel blue and maybe even a little rotten. But it might not just be the winter days and lack of sunshine causing your struggles. You can struggle to get enough vitamin B12, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. B12 is a super important vitamin for your body, and B12 deficiency symptoms may be tough, so by doing everything you can to help get enough B12 whether that’s upping your daily consumption of meat, or adding in supplements such as The Energy Booster to give you that extra support and soon you may find that you don’t feel so blue!
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal proteins, and scarcely anywhere else. You can find small quantities in fortified foods such as plant-based milk and cereals. It’s very important for our bodies and brains but what does vitamin B12 do? It helps the red blood cell formation in your blood and prevents you from developing megaloblastic anaemia, which is a disorder of the blood that can cause gut health issues, paleness, fatigue, and irritability. So, if you’re feeling particularly snappy for no reason, it might not be that your partner forgot to do the dishes you could in fact be B12 deficient!
There are many vitamin B12 benefits to your body. It plays a big part in the production of serotonin, a chemical that regulates your mood. If you have B12 you may find fewer symptoms of depression and a lift in mood. It also plays a role in the synthesis of myelin, which is a substance in your brain that forms protection around certain nerve fibres preventing the loss of neurons in your brain. Therefore, helping in the prevention of memory loss and dementia. In other words, you really don’t want to miss out on the stuff!
Foods With Vitamin B12
I think you get the picture now, right? You need B12, but where can you get it from. There are many foods with vitamin B12 that you can eat to make sure you get your B12 hit. There are certain meats that are rich in B12, these include beef, tuna, oysters, prawns and dairy products as well as eggs. But if you are not a number 1 fan of meat, vegan or a vegetarian don’t panic, there are ways you can get B12.
Plant-based milks as well as seaweed, nutritional yeast and fortified cereals such as Weetabix can all contain B12. Being vegetarian and vegan does make you a bit more at risk of developing a deficiency, so it is recommended that they add in supplements to your diet to lower that risk.
The supplements for B12 to look out for are the ones that will suit your day-to-day needs. You can choose either capsules, powder or liquid, there is no evidence that either one works better than the other so its down to what you prefer. Some great options if you want capsules would be our Tone Capsules or if you struggle to swallow tablets, sugar free chewable vitamin B12 supplements.
It is recommended that adults aged 19 to 64 need around 1.5 micrograms a day, so if you are buying supplements please take this into account.
A vitamin B12 deficiency
If you are not getting enough vitamin B12 foods into your diet, you could start to see symptoms of a B12 deficiency. There are two reasons why you may be deficient. One is the obvious one if you’re not giving enough to your body. But the second is if your body is not absorbing it. It’s estimated that up to 30% of older people can have difficulty absorbing B12 due to their level of stomach acid being low. When your body doesn’t absorb the B12 you’re putting in, your formation of healthy red blood cells decreases, and your unhealthy blood cells become bigger. This causes megaloblastic anaemia, in which symptoms may take years to show. These include fatigue, headaches, tingling and numbness in your limbs, and even difficulty walking.
Although this may sound really scary, you can treat B12 deficiency and get rid of the symptoms. If your body does absorb the vitamin, you can simply up your intake of vitamin B12 foods. However, if you are older and your body might not be absorbing as much as it should you can get a booster shot from your doctors, to put B12 straight into your bloodstream.
The benefits of B12
There are many major health benefits to getting enough B12. It doesn’t just stop at older people and vegans though. Pregnant people require sufficient levels of B12 to support their foetus’s brain and nervous system allowing them to develop properly and reducing the risk of birth defects.
Vitamin B12 also helps to support everyone’s bone health. It has been found that people with coeliac disease had low levels of B12 and therefore decreased mineral density in their bones. B12 deficiency has been linked to osteoporosis, so it’s a pretty good shout to keep up your levels.
It is also known that higher levels of B12 lead to an increase in energy, improve your mood and lower levels of depression.
So, if you’re chomping down on the right foods or taking enough B12 through supplements you should find that your energy levels are up, and you’re not so short with everyone around you. The trick is to get the right levels of vitamins in your diet, which can be a pain, but most certainly worth your time!