Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin B12’

How to identify Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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Studies have found that around 20% of people over 60 years old are deficient in Vitamin B12, but many are not even aware of it. Vitamin B12 is responsible for creating nerves, DNA, and red blood cells.

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Deficiency of this vitamin may present itself as shortness of breath, tingling/numbness of extremities, constipation, paranoia, and irritability. B12 deficiency can also be developed over time, and may present only a few or all symptoms. It is often overlooked to diagnose as symptoms presented can resemble other diagnoses, and if left untreated it could cause irreversible damage. The optimal amount of B12 you should be getting daily is somewhere around 2.4 micrograms, and it can be found naturally in animal products such as dairy, fish, eggs, and fish. For this reason many vegetarians and vegans are deficient in B12. Even those older adults that consume plenty of Vitamin B12 can lack sufficient amounts because the production of stomach acid reduces with age, which makes it more difficult to absorb B12. Certain medications like omeprazole and ranitidine can also affect B12 levels. Autoimmune disorders like pernicious anemia, usually present themselves in people over the age of 65, and is one of the most common causes for severe Vitamin B12 deficiency. If you believe you are suffering from any of the symptoms related to deficiency, you can check your vitamin B12 levels through a blood test. If your blood test determine you don’t have sufficient amount of B12, you can speak to your physician about possibly taking a B12 supplement. Your doctor will help you determine the best dosage for you depending on the extent of your deficiency. Always check with your physician prior to taking vitamin B12 supplements.

 


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If you are considering or already are a vegan or vegetarian, one of your main concerns may be how you will get enough protein in your diet. Protein is one of the three macronutrients your body requires, so it is important you are getting enough of it. The protein intake varies from person to person, but according to the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), a good way to see roughly how much you should be getting by using your weight is 0.36 grams per pound. Although this approach will tell you the amount of protein you should be getting in order to prevent deficiency, you may want to consider speaking to a nutritionist as there are many factors that can affect the right amount for you. As a vegetarian or vegan, you shouldn’t feel like you are struggling with getting good sources of protein in your diet. The following are different options of high protein foods you can incorporate into your diet:protein vegetarians and vegans

  1. Edamame/Tempeh/Tofu: all 3 of these come from soybeans which is a complete source of protein, and has other nutrients such as calcium, and iron. There are about 10 to 19 grams of protein per 100 grams of either one of these.
  2. Nutritional Yeast: This is the deactivated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast. This will give a cheesy flavor to your recipes AND it is dairy free which is great if you are a vegan. Not only is it a good source of protein, but also has copper, vitamin B12 Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency may be Causing your Fatigue, magnesium, and zinc. There are 14 grams of protein per 28 grams of nutritional yeast.
  3. Spirulina: A superfood made of blue-green algae.  It has riboflavin, essential fatty acids, and potassium. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There are about 8 grams of complete protein in 2 tablespoons of spirulina.
  4. Quinoa: A good source of phosphorus, complex carbs, iron, magnesium, and fiber. It has about 9 grams of protein per cooked cup of quinoa.
  5. Chia Seeds: These can be incorporated into your cooking in so many different ways such as baking, smoothies, and even chia seed puddings. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, selenium, antioxidants. Chia seeds have 6 grams of protein per 35 grams.

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Nowadays, most people lead extremely busy lives, and it’s common for people to feel worn down. If you are burning the candle at both ends and sacrificing sleep, the source of your fatigue may be pretty obvious. But if you are getting enough sleep, yet still feel constantly exhausted, it may be caused by a vitamin or a mineral deficiency.  The following are a few vitamin levels you may want to have tested if you feel like you are always feeling worn out or drained:

  • Iron: Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, but if you don’t have enough of these cells, or if your red blood cells do not have sufficient amounts of an iron-dependent protein called hemoglobin, anemia can result. Fatigue is often one of the first symptoms experienced by people with anemia. Fortunately, anemia is easy to diagnose with a blood test that measures the number of red blood cells in the blood and amount of hemoglobin in those cells.  If you are suffering from anemia, you must first increase your body’s iron supply with iron-rich foods such as red meat, eggs, rice, and beans. With your doctor’s okay, over-the-counter iron supplements are another option for boosting iron levels, though these can cause constipation.
  • Vitamin B12:In addition to iron, vitamin B12 is also crucial for the body’s production of healthy red blood cells, and a vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anemia. Good dietary sources of vitamin B12 are meat and dairy products, so most people on a traditional Western diet get enough of this key nutrient through their food. However, vegetarians and vegans can become deficient in B12. Additionally, with age and certain health conditions–including gastrointestinal problems like Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease–it becomes more difficult for the body to absorb enough B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency is usually resolved with oral supplements and/or dietary changes to increase B12 consumption. For some people, B12 deficiency is treated with regular vitamin B12 injections.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is unique. There are few natural dietary sources of vitamin D, however, it is naturally produced by the human body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is imperative to maintain bone and muscle health. A deficiency of this vitamin can also cause insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and reduced immune function. Some examples of dietary sources of vitamin D is tuna, salmon, and fortified products like milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals. Another way to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D is nutritional supplements. If you decide to take the supplement route, the D3 form is easier for your body to absorb than other types of vitamin D.
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