Vitamin B12 – What is It? Why is it important? How can I get more into my diet?
Recently, we have had numerous patients tell us their primary doctor found they were vitamin B12 deficient. Many of the patients were unaware why vitamin B12 was needed, what it did for their body, and which foods they could consume containing B12.
B12 is a water soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver for years. Low levels of this vitamin can cause anemia, numbness/tingling in arms or legs, weakness, and loss of balance. Many people over the age of 50 start to lose the ability to absorb B12 from their food. Additional causes of low B12 are gastrointestinal disorders such as Celiac Disease or Crohn’s Disease and gastrointestinal surgeries, especially weight loss surgery.
B12 is important in the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, maintaining the body’s natural metabolism, and the formation of red blood cells.
Vitamin B12 is found in a variety of foods such as organ meats and shellfish. It is also found in most multivitamins.