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. (LINK TO BLOG ONE 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
As any good builder can attest, creating a strong foundation is imperative. Likewise, in health, we want to ensure that we are providing each bodily system with the key structures for proper physiology. See the thing is our bodies are very good at knowing what to do in the right circumstances. So, when we talk about health optimization, we are really talking about creating those “right” circumstances. Of course, we all have different needs depending on our dietary habits, current health status, environment, and genetic predispositions. That being said there are some universal principles we all need to take stock of:
1.Heal your gut, save your butt!
- Pretty much everything your body needs but doesn’t already have needs to be obtained through nutrition. What you put in your mouth matters! It also matters how it travels through your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, more so how your body can absorb these nutrients, and finally how you can eliminate toxins. Getting your GI tract healthy is often the first order of business. Optimizing your gut can be as simple as getting more fiber for regulating bowel movements or as complicated as eradicating infections and repopulating your microbiome. So, you must first identify how well you are digesting?
- For movement: increase fiber, choose LOW FODMAP sources such as hydrolyzed guar gum, for those with IBS/IBD. Fiber is also important for cholesterol management in the body.
- To improve the health of your upper GI tract (esophagus and stomach) ensure there are no ulcers, and sufficient acid production. This may include eradication of H.Pylori infections, and supporting the healing of gastric mucosa.
- Replenish your microbiome. Think of your large intestine as a lush fertile plot of land primed for many helpful bacteria to colonize and help you break down food to get the nutrients. So, make sure you are letting the right probiotics move in.
2.Won’t someone think of the liver! Our liver is one of our hardest working organs. It processes threats from our environment and removes them immediately.
- Decrease toxic burden from your environment. This means avoiding harsh toxins and chemicals such as most cleaners. Limit the highly processed foods, instead include the more of the rich leafy greens and bitters.
- Include botanicals and herbs known to support liver function, including dandelion, artichoke, and milk thistle.
3.Movement is medicine: we all know that consistent exercise is important for cardiovascular health, immune function, mental health and much more. Help yourself move more with your supplement regime.
- This includes magnesium to help with muscle function ( one of the >300 functions)
- Get sufficient protein for muscle development
- Add in bone and joint support as you age to help you move for longer
Know where your deficiencies lie: understand how your choices in diet will influence your health. This means knowing if you choose to be vegetarian, you supplement with the nutrients you may be missing such as iron, b12, and protein. Or if you are on certain medications you need to understand what they may be depleting. As soon as you identify these deficiencies, you can begin to supplement appropriately.