Women often juggle a lot in life. There are so many things competing for our time in an average day, it’s no wonder, women often experience low vitality and a lack of energy. However, this can also come from a deficiency in Vitamin B12. If you’re feeling sluggish and you’re not sure why, a lack of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) may be to blame.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that aids in red blood cell formation, which prevents against a type of anemia that can often make people feel weak and tired.
Heart disease and stroke kill 31,000 women in Canada annually. When it comes to heart health, Vitamin B12 along with B6, and folic acid work together help to reduce homocysteine, which is a protein that can build up in blood and damage arterial walls. Therefore, B12 plays an important role in heart health.
A lack of B12 can affect your oral health. If you are experiencing tongue inflammation also knows as ‘glossitis’, you may have a deficiency in Vitamin B12. You may notice that your tongue may be red and swollen or it might look smooth. The inflammation can cause the tiny bumps along your tongue that contain your taste buds to stretch out and disappear.
Pins & Needles
If you experience “pins and needles” sensations in your extremities and/or numbness or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet, you may be deficient in B12. Vitamin B12 helps produce the fatty sheath (myelin) that surrounds and protects your nerves. When you are deficient in B12, your nerve cells can’t function properly and you will surely notice. This is often seen in elderly people who are low in B12.
A deficiency in B12 can affect a person’s balance by producing an unsteady gait and balance (ataxia). You may experience difficulty walking, staggering and/or balance problems.
Thinning or Abnormal Hair
To keep it simple, B12 promotes healthy hair growth by assisting in the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells, which feed hair follicles. If you notice a change in the constituency of your hair, you may want to search for other clues that tie in as well and lead you to B12 deficiency as a possible underlying it all.
A Healthy Glow
People with a B12 deficiency often look pale or have a slight yellow tinge to their skin (jaundice).
Jaundice develops when a person’s body is not able to produce enough red blood cells. Red blood cells circulating under the skin provide it with its normal color. Without enough of these cells, the skin may look pale.
Vitamin B12 plays a role in the production of red blood cells. A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a lack of red blood cells, or megaloblastic anemia, which has an association with jaundice.
This type of anemia can also weaken the red blood cells, which the body then breaks down more quickly. When the liver breaks down red blood cells, it releases bilirubin. Bilirubin is a brownish substance that gives the skin the yellowish tone that is characteristic of jaundice, and thus explains the lack of a healthy glow.
These are only a few of the conditions caused by a deficiency of Vitamin B12. I will be writing more blog posts on this in the future, but I highly recommend getting your B12 serum levels checked the next time you are getting routine blood work. I personally obtain a copy of my blood work to keep in my own file so I can follow along and monitor my levels of this vitamin as well as others vitamins and other results from my lab work. I believe we should all be a proactive component of our own health care.
Maggie Holbik.com is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Registered Nutritional Therapist, Natural Nutrition Clinical Practitioner and a Certified Life Coach who has had an interest in Vitamin B12 Deficiency for many years.
Maggie can help you find the best source of Vitamin B12 based on your needs. Just drop her a request to chat or know more in the comments section below and she will get you information based on your current situation.