Getting enough vitamin B12 may make the difference between feeling like you can take on the world and feeling like you can't get out of bed in the morning. This essential vitamin delivers oxygen to your muscles, organs and tissues. Certain diseases, such as pernicious anemia, may leave you with low vitamin B12 levels and feelings of weakness and fatigue. Once you recognize this as the problem, you can make simple changes that will boost your energy levels.
One of the eight B vitamins, vitamin B12 is necessary for DNA synthesis, brain function and red blood cell formation. You get vitamin B12 when you eat meat, poultry, shellfish, eggs and dairy products. If you're vegetarian, you may need to supplement your diet to reach the needed amount. Consult your doctor about whether your current diet supplies your needs for this important nutrient.
Hemoglobin and Pernicious Anemia
Hemoglobin is an important part of red blood cells. Without it, not enough oxygen is delivered to your muscles and organs. Sometimes, this is caused by a disease, such as pernicious anemia. If you are diagnosed with pernicious anemia, you can’t absorb enough vitamin B12. In turn, your body can’t make adequate red blood cells, which means you won’t get enough oxygen delivered throughout your body.
Causes and Symptoms
The most common causes of pernicious anemia are a weak stomach lining and autoimmune disorders. Some people can thank mom or dad for passing down the trait. If you have frequent diarrhea, always feel tired, lack appetite and concentration, have a pallid color, experience bleeding gums and can’t catch your breath easily, tell your doctor you want to be tested for pernicious anemia.
If you find out you have pernicious anemia, you can make easy lifestyle and diet changes to improve your condition, under your doctor's supervision. You might need to have a vitamin B12 shot once a month. Or you might be lucky enough to only need an oral vitamin B12 supplement. You should also include foods in your diet that are high in vitamin B12. These simple changes will ease your symptoms and have you quickly feeling like your old self again.
Michelle Fisk began writing professionally in 2011. She has been published in the "Physician and Sports Medicine Journal." Her expertise lies in the fields of exercise physiology and nutrition. Fisk holds a Master of Science in kinesiology from Marywood University.