Some people get a weekly B12 shot, boosting their energy for the next several days. Some even report having an elevated mood or an increased ability to deal with stress. While the bump in energy is great, there is real danger in being deficient. A blood test will provide that intelligence.
The most common effect of long-term B12 deficiency includes high homocysteine levels which is a risk factor for stroke and heart disease. Early symptoms may include loss of appetite, unusual fatigue, nausea, digestive problems and loss of menstruation cycle. Serious deficiency might show itself in tingling sensation in the hands and feet.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends adults get 2.4mcg per day. It is naturally found in a variety of food and is added to others labelled fortified, like breakfast cereals. Beef liver and clams top the list of best food sources for B12. You can also get it in your daily dose of dairy products, eggs, some fish, and poultry.
For those of you really into the science – here’s how vitamin B12 is absorbed – straight from the NIH.
“Two steps are required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food. First, hydrochloric acid in the stomach separates vitamin B12 from the protein to which vitamin B12 is attached in food. After this, vitamin B12 combines with a protein made by the stomach called intrinsic factor and is absorbed by the body. Some people have pernicious anemia, a condition where they cannot make intrinsic factor. As a result, they have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from all foods and dietary supplements.”