Is it a vitamin B-12 deficiency?

Gerald W. Deas M.D., MPH | 4/4/2019, 10:39 a.m.
Which way is your health going? Up or down? Or maybe sideways? In other words, do you feel as good ...
Vitamin B-12 Contributed

Which way is your health going? Up or down? Or maybe sideways? In other words, do you feel as good as you should? Aging has nothing to do with how you feel. I remember, even my grandmother at age 99 would crack jokes. Her mind was as clear as a bell. But, I also remember that she ate well. She was not a great meat eater but she ate plenty of fish, grains, liver and plenty of vegetables. Another thing that I remember was that she was not on a great deal of medications that would prevent the absorption of vitamin B-12. You can’t imagine how many medicines we take that help other medical conditions and at the same time, prevent the absorption of this precious vitamin. As we age, our stomach lining often becomes unable to absorb many nutrients such as vitamin B-12. For example, medications that are used to reduce acid in the stomach such as Prilosec, Prevacid and Zantac impair the absorption of vitamin B-12. These are just a few of the medications that can cause vitamin B-12 deficiency.

A deficiency in this vitamin can cause anemia, osteoporosis (softening of bone), and invasive cancer of any kind, such as breast. Macular degeneration has also been associated with the lack of vitamin B-12. Hearing loss due to improper functioning of the auditory pathway can be improved with this vitamin. Last but not least, mental conditions such as memory loss and confusion has been related to a decrease in the absorption of B12.

It has been suggested that persons above the age of 50 years should have a blood test to determine if their vitamin B-12 level is low. If so, a supplement can be taken in the form of an oral vitamin or even an injection. There is also another form of this vitamin that can be absorbed by just placing a small tablet under the tongue. Usually, it is recommended for a person with this deficiency that they take 1,000 micrograms daily.

If the diet and appetite is poor, this vitamin can be found in ample amounts in pill form such as Centrum Silver or other brands that contain multiple B vitamins. An increase in the intake of fish, such as snapper, salmon and tuna offers a good supplement of this vitamin. Finally, animal livers are a good source of vitamin B-12 and can be used even when a pill form is not available.

I suggest that you “B” wise, “B” healthy and “B” hopeful. For further information, I suggest that you read “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Nutrition,” a wonderful book by Dr. David Reuben.