Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin which the body is unable to produce it on its own so we need to acquire it from our diet and supplements. The body uses this vitamin, along with other B vitamins, to transform carbs into glucose for energy. As explained on Healthy Holistic Living, this vitamin is also essential in the DNA and RNA production and together with folate, it works to produce red blood cells and SAMe which participates in maintaining a healthy immunity and mood.
Moreover, vitamin B12 is pivotal for keeping a healthy central nervous system. With this in mind, lacking vitamin B12 may lead to irreversible damage, including nerve damage. And, it is crucial to point out that those who are taking the diabetes medication metformin are at a higher chance of experiencing this health problem.
The Link between Metformin & Vitamin B12 Deficiency
According to a research done by a team of researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, the group who took metformin had lower average vitamin B12 levels and 4 percent of them were lacking this vitamin, unlike the 2 percent of the placebo group.
Moreover, almost 20 percent of those who took the medication experienced low vitamin B12 levels while the percentage in the placebo group was only 10. And, the former group also suffered from anemia which is connected to vitamin B12 deficiency too. However, there is no warning by the FDA or the American Diabetes Association that diabetics taking this medication need to regularly check their vitamin B12 levels.
The Symptoms & Stages of Vitamin B12
Some of the major symptoms of vitamin B12 include:
- Unexplained anemia
- Gastrointestinal issues such as H. pylori or Crohn’s
- Poor memory
- Weak muscles
- Mental fogginess
There are 4 main stages of vitamin B12 deficiency. Check them out below:
- Low B12 levels in the blood caused by absorption issues
- B12 storages become depleted on a cellular level
- The capacity of the body to produce new red blood cells decreases
- Macrocytic anemia is the 4th stage of B12 deficiency
Who Is at a Higher Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
- Vegans (and vegetarians too) who do not eat animal products due to the fact that the B12 vitamin is available in natural form only from foods from animals such as meat, dairy, and eggs
- Age; people who are over the age of 50 have a reduced capacity for the proper absorption of vitamin B12 because of the stomach’s lining losing its capacity to make hydrochloric acid
- People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol
- Suffering from gut inflammation or leaky gut
- Taking some medications such as antacids and metformin
- Exposure to nitrous oxide
- Women with a history of miscarriages and infertility
Vitamin B12 Supplements
As seen on Healthy Holistic Living, a lot of people such as the elderly, people with gut problems, and vegans and vegetarians could benefit from the added amount of vitamin B12 coming from oral supplements. Unfortunately, the issue with these supplements is their poor absorbability level. Therefore, vitamin B12 injections are considered to be more efficient, as well as sublingual sprays.