Are you tired of being tired? Do you want to get to the bottom of why you have so much fatigue, all the time - and do you want to be able to find a resolution for it all?
One of the reasons that you feel tired may be because you have a deficiency. You could have a deficiency in any type of vitamin or mineral - for instance, a deficiency in iron, which is found in leafy green vegetables and meat, is normally attributed to extreme fatigue.
Another vitamin deficiency that could contribute to fatigue is B12. In this article, we will explore this vitamin and establish whether taking B12 supplements could give you more energy. What is vitamin B12? Vitamin B12 is one of the ‘B’ vitamins, and it is essential for human survival.
It keeps the nerve and blood cells of the body in good health, and it also prevents a type of anemia. This anemia makes people feel very low on energy - therefore, if you are deficient in B12 and have this type of anemia, supplements will definitely help your energy levels!
Where is vitamin B12 found?
Vitamin B12 is found in soil. Traditionally, our diets did contain a certain amount of soil as our food was never processed as much. Of course, this wasn’t hygienic and caused humans to catch lots of other diseases! As food processing has got more and more sophisticated, the levels of vitamin B12 in fruit and vegetables has decreased to a virtually non existent level. Vitamin B12 is still found naturally in meat and animal plants. Traditionally, this is because animals eat soil, and thus have reserves of vitamin B12 which is then transferred to the human when they eat meat.
However, nowadays, a lot of livestock does not graze on grass but instead is fed specific food. This may be supplemented with B12 itself, or the animal may be injected with B12. Because of this, you can be fairly sure that any meat or animal product has high levels of vitamin B12.
If you are vegetarian, you can still find B12 in eggs and dairy products. If you are vegan, many substitute dairy products have added B12, as does nutritional yeast which is used a lot in vegan cooking. If you are vegan and don’t eat these products, you may need to take a vitamin B12 supplement.
How do I know if I am deficient in B12? Most people who are deficient in B12 don’t get enough in their diet. If you don’t eat much of the following: meat, eggs, dairy, yeast products (such as Marmite) and products fortified with vitamin B12, and don’t take a B12 supplementation, you may be deficient in B12.
You should start to take some B12 in some form even if you don’t have any symptoms. If you have the following symptoms of B12 deficiency, you should consult your doctor. The symptoms include: pale yellow skin, ulcers in and around your mouth, pins and needles, difficulty walking, brain fog, and extreme fatigue.
It is indeed possible to have a B12 deficiency even if you get enough B12 in your diet. This may indicate a deeper concern, such as pernicious anemia, which is when your immune system stops your body from absorbing vitamin B12 from your food.
If you take certain medications, you could also be at risk of B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can lead to complications, some of which are irreversible, so it is extremely important to see your doctor as soon as you get these symptoms.
If deficiencies are caught early on, as most of them are, your body will respond well to increased levels of the vitamin. Vitamin B12 anemia Some people’s vitamin B12 deficiencies can turn into a type of anemia which can cause extreme fatigue.
This is generally treated the same way as other deficiencies, but your doctor will probably do some extra tests and take some considerations. It is possible to be deficient in B12 but not have this type of anemia, but in this case you typically would not experience fatigue as a symptom.
Can vitamin B12 increase energy even if I am not deficient?
You should be taking some vitamin B12 every day, even if you do not have symptoms of deficiency. If you do experience fatigue and you think it might be linked to a B12 deficiency, it is important to speak to your doctor about this. If you don’t have a vitamin B12 deficiency, taking the vitamin will probably not notably increase your energy.
However, if you take vitamin B12, as well as all of your other essential vitamins, regularly, you will notice an improvement in your general health.
When will my energy levels restore if I am deficient?
If you are diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency, you will probably be prescribed with vitamin B12 injections. These are typically given every other day for 2 weeks to boost vitamin B12 levels.
Your body will quickly react to the supplement and make new red blood cells. This will see your symptoms subside fairly quickly - generally you should notice a difference in your symptoms within 48 and 72 hours.
Your doctor will work with you to see why your vitamin B12 dropped so low, suggest lifestyle changes, and reassess your levels around 3 months later to see if further action is needed.
To conclude, vitamin B12 supplements are not energy pills - but if you don’t get enough B12 in your diet, you may well feel a lack of energy because of lack of B12. If you know that you do not consume enough vitamin B12, whether that be from food or from your diet, and you feel some symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, consult your doctor.
If you are diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency, you will certainly notice an improvement in your energy levels when you start treatment. If you are not diagnosed with a deficiency, your doctor can investigate the reasons behind your fatigue and hopefully get to the root of the issue.