Some people may not realize the importance of vitamin B12. This could be either from the fact that they think other vitamins may be more important or they just don’t think of vitamins at all.
But ironically, a lack of this vitamin may actually impair your clear train of thought, which is why it is so important not to be deficient in it. But that’s not the only thing it is good for.
It, along with the other B vitamins, aids your body in producing energy and converting carbs into glucose. Quite the important job, wouldn’t you say?
Unfortunately, our bodies cannot produce this vitamin on their own, so they need to absorb it from outside sources, such as supplements.
Vitamin B12 also plays quite a vital role when it comes to the central nervous system. It not only protects one’s nerves from damage, but it also conducts their impulses.
You it only makes sense that a lack of this vitamin can lead to nerve damage. Sad to say, the symptoms of B12 deficiency are rather hard to detect.
But one thing is for sure: if you happen to be taking metformin (a diabetes drug), you are certainly deficient in B12.
The Link Between B12 Deficiency and Metformin
There have been plenty of tests and studies conducted in order to come to the conclusion that metformin has an effect on one’s B12 levels.
In one study, human subjects were divided into two groups: one group was given metformin twice a day, the other a placebo.
After collecting the data, researchers found that the group which took metformin was significantly lacking in vitamin B12 than the one which took the placebo.
The former group were also evidently anemic, which is another sign of a deficiency of this vitamin.
Currently, there is no monitoring of one’s B12 levels while taking metformin, but we strongly advise those who do take this drug to ask their doctors to do the monitoring.
Some Extra Information on Vitamin B12 Deficiency
According to statistics, as much as 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin B12. This can cause some neurological symptoms. Another 9% had experienced this deficiency at some point while another 16% were almost deficient.
A fact worth noting is that as people age, they become more prone to this deficiency. This is because as they grow older, the stomach acid lowers.
And if one has low stomach acid, one system fails to properly absorb this vitamin. This explains why some of the symptoms which one would normally contribute to senior citizens, may just stem from a lack of vitamin B12.
For example, muscle weakness, cognitive decline, and memory loss, to name just a few. But that doesn’t mean young people can’t be deficient in B12 either. It can affect anyone.
Signs of B12 Deficiency
- Trouble remembering
- Feeling fatigued
- A foggy mind
- Neuropsychiatric disorders
- Unexplained anemia
- Weak muscles
- Gastrointestinal issues
The Many Roles of Vitamin B12
- Helps with digestion
- Helps better absorb your food
- Use of iron
- Red blood cells formation regulator
- Helps with the adrenal hormone production
- Mood regulator
- Better functioning of one’s nervous system
- Longevity and formation of cells
- Healthy and properly functioning immune system
- Helps one concentrate better
- Clarity of the mind
- Proper development and nerve growth
- Proper circulation
- Supports female reproductive health and pregnancy
- Physical, mental and emotional energy
And That’s Not All…
According to some research, this vitamin can have a serious role to play when it comes to bone health. That’s why a deficiency can lead to fractures, especially in older men, while older women are more prone to rapid loss of hip bones.
Cognitive and Mental Health
Like we mentioned, a lack of this vitamin can result in several neurological disturbances, like depression, dementia, and some other mental illnesses.
Luckily, the Journal Neurology had published a study from Finland. In it, they proved that foods abundant in B12, can reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Which Foods are B12 Abundant?
Since it is the animal food sources which are most abundant in this vitamin, those who choose not to eat meats tend to also be deficient. But luckily, there are other products like wild-caught Alaskan Salmon, grass-fed dairy, chicken and organic eggs.
Moreover, it is of crucial importance that children do not lack this vitamin, otherwise, they might grow up as adolescents with impaired cognitive function.
Factors Which Have An Effect on Vitamin B12 Absorption
We already explained that the aging process leads to a difficulty in our stomach absorbing this vitamin. But there are some other factors which can hinder its absorption. Such are:
- Intestinal dysbiosis
- Gut inflammation
- Usage of acid-suppressing drugs and metformin
- Exposure to nitrous oxide
- Pernicious anemia
Conclusion Concerning B12 and Metformin
The Diabetes Prevention Program had conducted a 3-year study. In it, they explain that lifelong lifestyle changes work better for hindering diabetes development than metformin does.
And after 15 years, a following study proved the exact same thing. So, other than making you deficient in vitamin B12, this drug is not your best option for treating and reserving your diabetes.
Stay healthy and informed, dear readers.