Vitamin B12 plays an important role in our nervous systems and red blood cell formation. It is also involved in our metabolism. Lack of vitamin B12 can manifest as:
- lethargy and fatigue
- low mood or affect
- restless legs
- breathlessness & decreased physical endurance
- mental fogginess
- muscular pain
- and more
Some people can’t absorb B12 well, such as the elderly and those with digestive issues, and some people can’t convert B12 to its active form.
Testing for B12 is simple - a blood test can show if someone is vitamin B12 deficient or not. The “normal” range for B12 is quite large, but if energy and mood are low, then aim for levels of more than 400pmol/L.
Animal protein, especially red meat, is a source of B12. For vegetarians and/or vegans, nutritional yeast and fortified foods are suitable options.
Supplementation with B12 is quite common and most people respond well to the active form of B12 called methylcobalamin. Oral forms are most often not used due to their limited absorption. Sublingual tablets are usually an effective way of obtaining B12 and injections are the most failsafe way.
Patients tend to love B12 injections because they help with energy, mood, physical and mental fatigue, and alertness. B12 injections are extremely helpful for concussions and when administered close or into painful areas can help muscle recovery and decrease pain.