Vitamin B12, aka cobalamin, is one of the B group of Vitamins. Your body needs it to make red blood cells and DNA, and it’s critical for brain and nervous system function. It is an essential co-factor in the body’s enzymatic processes. Vitamin B12 itself can be broken down into four different, but interrelated types, which you can read about here. Here we’ll discuss the causes, who is at risk and the signs of a B12 deficiency, as well as how you can guard against it.
Who May Be At Risk For B12 Deficiency?
Seniors – who may have problems with the acids and stomach enzymes needed to process B12.
Vegans and vegetarians – because most cobalamin sources are animal-based.
Those who have taken a lot of antibiotics – which can lower levels of B12.
Those who have had weight loss surgery – whose GI tract has been altered to interfere with absorption.
Smokers – because smoking increases homocysteine levels and decreases B12, leading to heart disease.
Crohn’s, Celiac, Ulcerative colitis or other malabsorption conditions preventing the body from making use of B12.
Special Genetic Factors prevent some from absorbing B12 – those with certain types of genes are susceptible to deficiency and problems with methylation, one of the body’s metabolic processes.
Causes of a Deficiency
Poor diet – highly processed food may have the B Vitamins stripped from it.
Impaired microbiota – aka dysbiosis, it happens when the probiotics in your body are not kept in balance.
Pernicious anemia – Megaloblastic anemia (see below) caused by B12 deficiency is known as pernicious anemia.
Malabsorption – due to the conditions listed above but it can also include long-term use of antacid medications.
Signs of Deficiency
A deficiency in vitamin B12 can cause:
Megaloblastic anemia – a blood disorder in which the red blood cell count is lower than normal
Cognitive changes – which may include difficulty thinking or memory loss
Fatigue -- exhaustion is a common sign of B12 shortage
Numbness or tingling in arms or legs – or tremors or a swollen tongue, facial pallor
Mood disturbances – B12 deficiency has been linked with depression and anxiety
Poor balance – or in severe cases of B12 deficiency, difficulty walking
How to Get the Most Bioavailable Forms of Vitamin B12
Because of the inherent potential for issues with the absorption of B12, it’s advisable to take cobalamin in its most bioavailable forms. That’s why AOR presents Vitamin B12 in its three most active and bioavailable forms. By providing the three foundational forms of Vitamin B12 in its Tri B12 Synergy, AOR ensures that an appropriate dose of active and bioavailable B12 is present, for whatever B12 you may be lacking.