Originally published on phlabs.org
If you’re a regular reader of my blogs and are familiar with my book, it’s no secret to you that I’m all about overcoming nutrient deficiencies and imbalances. If you have too little or too much of the nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, which are needed for proper body functioning, you are likely to have health issues. Nutritional imbalance puts you at a greater risk of developing health issues such as depression and obesity. And if you already have certain health issues, like metabolic syndrome, you may need more of a certain nutrient than the average person.
Nutrient deficiencies in particular are very common for a variety of reasons, including:
The latter of these reasons, older age, is something we will all inevitably face if we are lucky enough to grow older. With age comes wisdom, but with this wisdom also comes a body that is less efficient and less capable of absorbing the nutrients it gets from food intake. Not to mention, it’s pretty common these days for older adults to be taking at least one or more prescription drug.
One nutrient we should be especially concerned about is vitamin B12. Recent research in Ireland has suggested that one in eight people over 50 have low vitamin B12 levels.
Vitamin B12 is one of the eight B vitamins. It is necessary for nerve function, brain health and production of red blood cells and DNA. This is all important for metabolism as well as cellular and nervous system functions. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia, which makes people tired and weak. This vitamin may also help prevent memory loss associated with aging.
You may have heard that vegans need to take B12 supplements, because this vitamin is mainly found in animal foods such as eggs, poultry, fish, milk and red meat.
“Normal function of the digestive system required for food-bound vitamin B12 absorption is commonly impaired in individuals over 60 years of age, placing them at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency,” reports the Linus Pauling Institute.
And as mentioned, it appears that just being over 50 can put you at a greater risk for this nutrient deficiency.
Signs and symptoms of a B12 deficiency, which may be mistaken for other health issues, may include:
Memory issues and issues with general thinking skills (may even cause brain shrinkage, according to the American Academy of Neurology)
Fatigue and weakness
Shortness of breath
Tingling and numbness in the feet and/or hands
“Doctors don’t always have B12 at the front of their minds when a patient is having symptoms like these, according to Joshua Miller, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University,” according to one source.
“But if not caught in time, some of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency may be irreversible.”
Also know that the recent research found that smokers are also at a high risk for B12 deficiency and so are people with Crohn’s disease. Furthermore, the evidence showed that one in seven older adults (50 and over) are also low in folate(another B vitamin), according to this report. Folate is also necessary for nerve function, brain health and the production of red blood cells.
How can we be proactive?
“If you are over age 50, the Institute of Medicine recommends that you get extra B12 from a supplement, since you may not be able to absorb enough of the vitamin through foods. A standard multivitamin should do the trick,” according to Harvard Health.
Supplements can be great at alleviating nutritional deficiencies, however, you must supplement with the advice of a competent healthcare professional. It is not safe to blindly take supplements if you do not know the status of your nutrient levels (which you can find out through a comprehensive nutrient test). In addition to this, there are many poor quality supplements that just do not work, so you want to get recommended brands from your doctor.
And if you’re like me, you may even have issues absorbing certain nutrients from supplements.
Don’t worry. There is a solution.
I utilize pH IV Vitamin Drips on a monthly basis to address my inevitable nutrient absorption issues. They provide vitamins (and hydration) directly into the bloodstream to help boost my nutritional status and help with energy levels. I believe this has successfully boosted my immunity, energy and good health.
If you’re squeamish about needles, please don’t let that deter you. It is really worth it, and I feel confident in saying that it will improve your quality of life as it has improved mine. You can read more about these health “cocktails,” here.
Enjoy your healthy life!