Why feeling Fatigue can take over your life.
As well as feeling completely exhausted, you can lack focus, ‘zone out’, lose concentration, and even be bloated, constipated and have a stomach upset. You might even feel moody or that your memory is slipping. If you are experiencing these symptoms, there might be a deficiency in your diet.
Often, a vitamin B12 deficiency can have these negative effects on your wellness. Your body needs this vitamin for regulating healthy metabolism and energy production, synthesising your body’s DNA and RNA, producing the mood-regulating SAMe or S-adenosyl-L-methionine chemicals in your brain, supporting the normal function of your nerve cells and properly forming your red blood cells. In fact, every cell in your body needs sufficient amounts of vitamin B12.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 can be determined with the correct blood or urine tests, but more often than not it goes unrecognised and untreated as a disorder, even though it’s much more common than most people realize. Symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, poor memory, confusion, nerve problems, balance, constipation, loss of appetite and soreness of the tongue or mouth, can be misinterpreted by your healthcare professional if he or she isn’t familiar with the warning signs associated with low levels of B12.
A lot of people get the B12 they need in their diet. Unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’ll get plenty of vitamin B12 from beef liver, organ meats, beef, lamb, cheese and eggs. You can also get it from some seafood, such as clams, mussels, sardines and salmon. The reason you might suffer from having low levels of this vitamin is that it is bound to protein in food, and your body cannot use it in this form. Your stomach has to produce hydrochloric acid in order to separate B12 from the protein, so it can combine with the enzymes and ‘intrinsic factor’ protein secreted by the stomach, and be absorbed by the small intestine for distribution throughout your body. If your stomach isn’t producing enough hydrochloric acid, however, the B12 can’t be separated from the protein in the first place.
You might find with age that even eating huge amounts of these B12 foods still leaves you deficient in the vitamin. This is because as you get older, you lose the ability to produce sufficient stomach acid. Over-the-counter antacids can also destroy hydrochloric acid production and strip your ability to properly absorb vitamin B12. If your doctor is familiar with B12 deficiency symptoms, he may recommend intramuscular injections of vitamin B12. This way the vitamin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and bypasses the digestive process altogether. However, you can boost your B12 levels with supplements that contain un-protein-bound forms of the vitamin. This is less expensive, and less painful, than the injections and gives you a quick and easy way to fight off the fatigue that may be damaging your wellbeing.
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