How many risk factors do YOU have for developing a B-12 deficiency? And what are the signs and symptoms.
Are you anxious, fatigued, can’t sleep, experience nerve or foot pain. Has your ability to connect the dots diminished or your gait changed?
You could have a B-12 deficiency. These signs coupled with the risk factors below and testing, will help you and your health practitioner determine whether or not you’re B-12 deficient.
Risk factors for developing low vitamin B-12 levels:
- Metformin (diabetes)
- Antacids/proton inhibitors (acid reflux)
- Frequent alcohol intake
- Weight loss surgery
- Digestive issues
- Older than 50
The third part of this equation is to measure your B-12 status. The best method for testing B-12 status is not a direct blood measure, although that can be a nice marker to see. I much prefer either testing homocycteine levels or something called Methylmalonic Acid. Vitamin B-12 is required to break both of these substances down, so elevated levels of either one, would indicate a probable B-12 deficiency. It’s kind of a back door way of getting a read, but I think more accurate.
If you are Vitamin B-12 deficient what are the best ways to get more? The best dietary source of B-12 is through animal sources, in particular, red meat. (If you are vegan or vegetarian, this is a nutrient for you to keep your eye on). And of course there’s supplementing and the most absorbable form is methylcobalamin. It’s probably best to get your B-12 either sublingually or via an injection for better absorption.
If you have any of the above symptoms or risk factors, ask your health care professional to test your homocysteine or methylmalonic acid levels. It’s not fun to live with the symptoms associated with low levels of B-12 and it’s an easy fix! If your doctor is not keen on ordering this test for you, I have a cash lab that we can use.