Get Your B12!
As I get older, I find myself visiting with friends about new aches, pains or ailments. It seems so cliché to do so but many times you learn something! For instance, recently a friend was telling a group of 40-50 years olds about a frightening health issue she experienced. She was feeling dizzy, had no energy whatsoever and just plain felt lousy. This was going on for quite some time and she was beginning to work herself up into thinking she had a horrible disease. She thought she may have a brain tumor or something! She nervously went to see a doctor. They ran test after test and couldn’t find the root of the problem. This was costing thousands of dollars and every time they hit a dead end, she became more and more worried. As she told her story to our group we became more and more intrigued. She asked us, “After spending thousands of dollars on tests, can you guess what was causing the problem”? We all leaned in to hear her answer. She had a vitamin B12 deficiency. The lowest the doctor’s office had ever seen.
I’ve since learned that a woman’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 decreases with age. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, about 4% of 40-60 year old women have a deficiency. And deficiency increases for those that don’t eat meat or take certain medications that deplete the body of the vitamin.
Our friend experienced symptoms that included blurred vision, weakness and dizziness. These are all frequent symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. Other symptoms can include a pale complexion, forgetfulness, mood swings, stomach discomfort and a feeling of “pins and needles” throughout the body.
There are a number of ways to increase your B12 level to avoid a deficiency and these symptoms. The simplest way is to take a B12 vitamin capsule. However, perhaps the best approach is via food. Eat such things as eggs, milk, cheese, meat, fish, shellfish and poultry. For vegetarians, try fortified soy milk, fortified breakfast cereals, Shiitake mushrooms and cheese.
I’ll continue to talk to friends about various aches, pains and ailments. As we all get older, we can arm ourselves with knowledge to improve our health and maintain an active lifestyle.