With our long winter days and less time outside for exercise and activities, it can be easy for our energy levels to dip. This is usual at this time of year for most of us. Yet, we should pay attention if our energy level seems lower than usual for our daily routine and lifestyle. It is typical to experience the ‘winter blues’ and also ‘SAD’ (Seasonal Affective Disorder). With less sunshine for us to experience right now, this may contribute to emotional ups and downs along with other factors as well.
One easy to make sure we stay alert and active is to keep a healthy level of vitamin B-12 in our nutritional intake. Research shows that all of the B vitamins help with our overall mood and emotions. Out of the eight B vitamins, B-12 can especially help with feelings of anxiety and depression. It is typical that at only slightly lower than normal levels of vitamin B-12 we may experience symptoms of fatigue and poor memory. Other symptoms we may experience with a deficiency are weakness, constipation, loss of appetite and numbness in the hands and feet. All of these physical symptoms can also increase any emotional changes we may experience from a B-12 deficiency.
Along with being well-known for its benefits for mood, vitamin B-12 plays a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. It is needed to make red blood cells and nerves, as we see vitamin b-12 is commonly recommended for anemia. Another important role of B-12 is that it may help to protect against symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s Disease by protecting against brain atrophy and shrinking. Some studies claim that vitamin B-12 can help improve memory for Alzheimer’s patients.
Natural sources of vitamin B-12 are only found in animal products such as meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy. Some cereals, energy bars and milk substitutes are fortified with B-12 as well. So for vegetarians and vegans, you must use supplements to get your daily requirements of vitamin B-12. This is very easy as there are many high-quality supplements on the market. It can also be found in a ‘B-complex’ supplement which is great to make sure we cover all eight of our Bs. Also, some doctors and practitioners recommend vitamin b-12 shots which can greatly boost the immune system and overall health and well-being.
It is important for us to remember that vitamin B-12 can interact with certain medications such as some antibiotics and also specific diabetes medications. Please be certain and consult with your doctor before adding in additional nutritional supplements.
So, be sure to have your blood levels checked each year with your general practitioner to make sure your levels are up to par. Take your daily supplements as a preventative measure for your health and well-being!