Let’s talk Vitamin B12 today. Why do we need it, what happens without it, and where can we get it?  Vitamin B12 is right up there on the list of most common vitamin deficiencies. We don’t consume enough and as we get older our bodies don’t absorb it as well. Deficiency can be pretty dangerous so let’s talk about it.

So why do we need it? Well Vitamin B12 is important in keeping our nerve and blood cells healthy. It also helps make DNA! B12 also works with other vitamins to help create red blood cells and help iron work better in our bodies. B12 helps sustain our energy level and protects our heart!! B12 also helps prevent nerve damage and keeps bones healthy and strong. B12 improves our mood and keeps you feeling and looking younger! B12 protects the brain! In causes of Alzheimer’s low levels of B12 have been found. And with the right nutrition some forms of dementia have been reversed!! That is a lot!!

When we don’t have enough B12 we can suffer from all kinds of ailments. The list includes: dizziness, pins and needles sensations, numbness in hands, legs or feet, muscle weakness, unexplained fatigue, swollen and inflamed tongue, anemia, difficulty walking, shortness of breath, and pale or yellowed skin. A severe vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to deep depression, paranoia and delusions, memory loss, incontinence, loss of taste and smell, and moreSounds pretty yucky huh?! Those things can turn very serious pretty quickly so it is important we make sure we are getting the vitamin B12 we need.

Now that you have seen how terrible a deficiency can be let’s talk about where we can get B12. Vitamin B12 is only manufactured using bacteria and can only be found in animal products. So my vegan and vegetarian friends, you will want to consider a supplement if you aren’t already. Maybe grains are fortified with B12 so make sure you are eating those. There is no harm is getting too much B12 because excess is excreted after some is stored in the liver for times of need. Foods that are high in vitamin B12 are shellfish, liver, fish, crab, red meat, low fat dairy, cheese (swiss cheese has the highest), and eggs. Many cereals and tofu are fortified with vitamin B12 so those are good options as well.

Do a little research and see where you are at as far as foods you are consuming that are high in vitamin B12. Increasing the amount you take in will spare you some harsh side effects of a deficiency.