Medical Weight Loss Centers of America

The Epidemic of Ignoring a B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a very serious and common problem, but it is not diagnosed with the same frequency as many other medical conditions.  The reason for this is many of the symptoms of B12 deficiency can also be attributed to numerous other medical conditions – typically, other medical conditions that take much more time, and much more money, to treat.

Catching a B12 deficiency early can prevent many damaging effects, undo a large amount of damage caused by the deficiency, and save you a lot of money – treating low B12 is much less expensive than many of the other conditions that get misdiagnosed because of it.

Signs of Low B12

Fortunately, there are a number of signs that can hint at a B12 deficiency.  If you notice any of them, then being tested for B12 may catch a deficiency early, and allow you to reverse any damage done, while preventing even more dangerous complications.

Difficulty Losing Weight or Sudden Weight Gain

B12 is necessary for your body to undergo metabolism.  When you have sufficient amounts of B12, your body will not burn more fat than usual, but when your levels drop too low, your body will have a difficult time breaking down new fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that are given to it.  This can result in a sudden weight gain, even without changes to diet or physical activity.

Additionally, it can make losing weight extremely difficult.  If you are struggling with your weight, or notice a sudden increase, a B12 deficiency may be to blame.

Fatigue or Weariness

The main purpose of metabolism is to provide energy for your body.  Because B12 is needed for your body to undergo metabolism, then it is also needed for your body to produce energy.  Without enough B12, you may begin to feel weak, sluggish, or tired.  This can be dangerous, especially in older people, as these feelings of weariness and fatigue may lead to falls that could cause serious injury or disability.

If you lack energy, then you may also lack B12.  While everyone has off days, a B12 deficiency could make these days a regular thing, and having your B12 levels checked may help you to get your energy back.

Confusion, Difficult Concentrating, or Memory Loss

B12 is also very important for maintaining the health of your brain.  When your B12 levels drop, the protective coating around your nerves may begin to break down, and your brain itself will not function optimally.  When your brain suffers like this, so do your mental functions – if you feel confused, have difficulty remembering things, or are having trouble focusing, then a B12 deficiency may be to blame.

Do not wait to get your B12 levels checked if you struggle with any of these problems – the longer a deficiency persists, the more damage it can do, and the more likely its effects are to be permanent.

Depression, Anxiety, or Irritability

When your brain does not function optimally, your hormones and neurotransmitter production suffers from it.  These two factors are extremely important in determining your mood, and when they are not taken care of, you are at risk of mood swings or prolonged states of depression, anxiety, or irritability.

If you suffer from any of these conditions, then your B12 levels may be contributing to them.  Catching this early may help you to bring your mood up, and prevent even further complications from cropping up in the future.

Do Not Ignore the Early Warning Signs

This was only a brief list of early warning signs, but a B12 deficiency is not something that you can ignore and hope it will go away.  The longer low levels of B12 exist, the more damage they can and will do to your body – these early warning signs are just good ways to identify if you may be at risk.

If left ignored, low B12 can lead to even more serious conditions, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and even cancer.  If you suspect you have a deficiency, then do not wait to get it checked out. The sooner you can fix your B12 levels, the sooner you can reduce your risks of developing life-threatening health conditions.

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