Food for Thought: Who is at risk for vitamin B-12 deficiency?

Health

(WWLP) – Vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause numbness and tingling in your hands, legs and feet as well as weakness and fatigue.

You should have your doctor check your blood level of B-12 if you fall into any of these categories:

If you take any medication that interferes with B-12 absorption. These include drugs for heartburn like Prilosec or Nexium and the diabetes medication called metformin.

You will have trouble absorbing B-12 if you have had weight loss surgery or have an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Simply being over age 50 puts you at risk. Research shows up to 20 percent of people over age 50 are B-12 deficient. We just can’t absorb it well as we get older.

Finally, 1.6 million Americans are vegans and the numbers are growing. They eat no animal products at all. Since we only get B-12 from animal foods like meat and milk, vegans will develop a B-12 deficiency.

If you are B-12 deficient, the treatment is simple: you take a B-12 supplement in a pill, as a nasal spray, or as an injection.

For most people treatment solves any problems. But for some any nerve damage that happened while you were deficient could be permanent. So don’t ignore the warning signs.

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