Vitamin B12 deficiency can negatively impact your overall health over time. If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, you may be experiencing fatigue brought on from factitious anemia. Vitamin deficiencies may also be responsible for fatigue, memory loss, physical numbness and dementia.
At LetsGetChecked we have identified 6 foods to boost your B12.
- What is Vitamin B12?
- Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- A Recent Study on Vitamin B12 and Parkinson’s Disease
- 6 Foods to Fight Your Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- How to Test For A Vitamin B12 Deficiency
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is one of the most impactful minerals in determining energy levels. It is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in certain foods, largely animal products. It can be added to non-natural sources and taken as a supplement. The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms, this equates to 100 grams of cooked Atlantic salmon.
Vitamin B12 is responsible for neurological function, producing DNA, maintaining a healthy nervous system and generating red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. It is an essential nutrient in pregnancy.
Folate, also known as vitamin B9 and vitamin B12 need one-another to work efficiently. The formation of healthy red blood cells requires vitamin B9 and B12. They should be taken in a balanced supplement as the effects of both vitamins can mask the symptoms of a deficiency in the other. Folate (B9), vitamin B12 and iron interact with one-another intrinsically. If one mineral is insufficient, the others will cease to carry out their functions properly. This is the reason it is suggested that they are taken in balanced proportions during pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
A deficiency in vitamin B12 is responsible for symptoms ranging from fatigue to depression. Vegetarians and vegans are often lacking in vitamin B12 as the mineral is not found in plant-based foods. The body cannot produce the mineral independently. In general, symptoms may include:
- Pale skin
- Dizziness/feeling faint
- Loss of vision
- Numbness/Tingling on the skin
- A smooth tongue
- Feeling low or depressed
- Memory Loss
- Constipation/gas/changes in appetite
A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anaemia in which red blood cells, that are lacking in oxygen are not are not serving organs correctly. Anaemia is the most common blood disorder in the U.S with a reported 3.5 million sufferers of the condition.
A recent study on Vitamin B12 and Parkinson's Disease
A recent study on behalf of the Parkinson’s Group illustrates that those who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are more likely to develop symptoms faster if they have a deficiency in vitamin B12. This research suggests that supplementation could postpone early symptoms in patients who are suffering from Parkinson’s including cognition and mobility.
6 Foods to increase your vitamin B12 levels naturally
Tuna, prawns, sardines, mussels, clams, oysters, crab, salmon, trout, herring.
Fish is packed with protein, essential omega-3s and vitamin B12. The key players in attaining your daily requirements of the mineral include tuna, prawns, sardines, salmon, trout and herring. Shellfish such as mussels, clams and oysters are also packed with the healthy fats and vitamin B12. The optimum intake per week is 3 ounces of a mix of fish which offer a variety of healthy fats and fight fatigue in their serving of vitamin B12.
Eggs are the king of the fitness community as they offer a perfect balance of protein and healthy fats. They ensure a feeling of fullness for longer. One hard boiled egg contains 1.1 micrograms of vitamin B12. For vegetarians, they are an essential source of natural protein and Vitamin B12.
Dairy milk, dairy-free milks
A morning latte containing 250ml of milk offers you half of your daily requirement for vitamin B12. Milk is packed with calcium for healthy development and maintenance of bones and teeth. Numerous studies report that those who have a higher intake of milk and dairy products have a higher level of vitamin B12 in their system. For those who are lactose-intolerant or vegan, vitamin B12 can be found in fortified milk replacements however each brand varies and should be checked to ensure they contain the required minerals.
Fortified breakfast cereals, breads
The intake of cereals fortified with folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 increases blood concentrations of these vitamins and decreases the total homocysteine concentrations in the plasma of elderly subjects according to a U.S study in 2004. Cereals fortified with vitamin B12 may be a particularly valuable source for vegetarians. Processed foods are not the answer for all meat replacements and should be eaten in moderation alongside a balanced diet to ensure optimal health.
Swiss cheese, cottage cheese
A comparison of 1-ounce servings of 12 types of cheese shows that Swiss cheese has the most Vitamin B12, providing 39% of the recommended daily intake. Cottage cheese is the second best for Vitamin B12 content. Cheddar and Monterey cheeses have 0.24 micrograms, which is the lowest amount, yet they still provide 10 percent of the daily value. Cheese, which is notoriously known for being fattening is packed full of calcium. Dopamine is one of our feel-good neurotransmitters. It is released in the centre of the brain when salty foods like cheese are consumed. Next time you’re reaching for your guilty pleasure, remember that you’re doing it for the Vitamin B12.
Liver, turkey, chicken, beef
The highest concentration of Vitamin B12 can be found in meat. Meat is a premium source of protein, iron and Vitamin B12. Liver packs the most mineral as it is an absorptive organ. Per 100 grams of beef liver, there is 111.3 micrograms of Vitamin B12. In a breast of chicken, there is 0.2 micrograms of Vitamin B12. Meat products are best served without skin and baked to attain a high level of protein and low fat. Optimum levels of Vitamin B12 are found in organic, grass-fed meat products.
How to Test at Home if You Have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency
At LetsGetChecked, we offer an at home Vitamin B12 test which will clearly indicate if you have a deficiency in Vitamin B12 which can be linked to a number of issues such as fatigue.
Order your At Home Vitamin B12 Test to monitor, track and improve your health.
Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley