B12 The Vitamin Bandit?
Bandit, thats pretty strong but so is the requirement for the vitamin B12! B12 vitamin deficiency may be a problem that thousands of people are living with and they don't even realise.
B12 is found in liver, mackerel, sardines, red meat, salmon, dairy, fortified cereals and soy. It is an extremely important water soluble vitamin that helps to keep the nerves and red blood cells healthy. It converts food into energy and it also helps to regulate your mood.
Most people absorb it without a problem but for some people a deficiency can have devastating effects. Older people (around the age of 65+) vegans and vegetarians are at risk of not getting enough B12. If you have suffered from anaemia or Chron's disease you could also be at risk due to the conditions which make it hard for the body to absorb B12.
Signs of a B12 deficiency can include tiredness, muscle weakness, pale skin, nerve problems such as numbness or weakness, constipation, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, loss of vision and mental problems such as depression, memory loss or behaviour changes.
So what can you do if you think this may be you or a loved one?
Most people can prevent a B12 deficiency by eating some of the foods I recommended earlier that are high in B12. However if you are a vegan, vegetarian or you have a medical condition which reduces your ability to absorb B12 you could take a B12 supplement; this could be in a multivitamin or as a B vitamin supplement. It is always wise to check with your doctor if you are on medication to ensure that supplementation does not affect the medication you have been prescribed.