B12 deficiency is not particularly common, mostly because our bodies can store enough B12 to last for several years. However, certain illnesses like Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, and various gut illnesses make it more difficult for your body to absorb vitamin B12. It is also more common for vegans and vegetarians to be affected since they do not consume animal products. It is good to supplement your diet with fortified bread, crackers, and cereals if you are eating mostly plant-based foods. You can also get B12 supplements from your local pharmacy.
First, you need to know what the symptoms are that could suggest you are low in B12. You can also ask your local pharmacy for advice.
Symptoms of a B12 Deficiency
Numbness & Muscle Weakness
If you are experiencing numbness, like ‘pins and needles’ in your hands, feet, and legs, then it can indicate a lack of B12. When the body is running low, the protective layer on your nerves can become damaged. You may also have an increase in muscle weakness resulting in a lack of strength, fatigue, and lightheadedness.
Struggling to Stay Warm
If you are deficient in vitamin B12, it can mean that you have not got enough red blood cells to allow oxygen to move around your body. This makes it much more challenging to keep warm, resulting in shivering and cold – especially in your extremities. It is possible to buy B12 supplements from your local pharmacy, but be careful not to take too much as it can result in some unpleasant side effects.
Brain Fog & Other Mental Issues
Some of the long term symptoms of low levels of B12 include depression, confusion, memory problems, and even dementia. It can also have a negative impact on your balance and cause brain fog. However, all of these symptoms also have other causes, so it is crucial to seek advice rather than assuming that it is definitely a lack of B12.
Reason for Shortage of B12
There are many reasons why you may be deficient in Vitamin B12, and your local pharmacy is a great place to get some advice. As previously mentioned, a vegan diet can contribute to a B12 deficiency, but so can getting older. As we age, our bodies find it more difficult to absorb B12 from food. Another reason can be if you have had weight loss surgery since afterward, food bypasses the small intestine where B12 would usually be extracted. Some medications, including omeprazole, lansoprazole, metformin, and chloramphenicol, can also affect B12 absorption. Ask your local pharmacy if any of your current medications could impact your B12 levels.
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Vaughn Pharmacy is a local, family-owned pharmacy serving the community in Powell, TN. Specializing in providing personalized and attentive prescription programs to our patients, we believe you are more than just a number – you’re part of our family!