Vitamin B12 Deficiency Among Diabetic PATIENTS
As you probably already know, one of the side effects of metformin is that it prevents proper nutrient absorption from food in your intestinal tract. Vitally important vitamins and minerals pass through your system not absorbed, leaving your body deficient in the elements it needs to rebuild and heal itself. As you can understand, it’s a dangerous side effect, in that it can further exacerbate your condition and weaken your body even more, although all you are trying to do is to actually help it fight the disease.
The solution to this side effect is to start supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals to maintain the proper balance in your body and to help your body acquire those building blocks that it needs for its perfect performance. I definitely recommend speaking to your doctor about supplementation. It is possible that they will have you do some tests to see what you may already be deficient in and recommend certain supplements to support you.
Although supplements have been thoroughly researched and a multitude of studies have proved them effective and safe, a lot of people are still skeptical about the idea of nutritionally supplementing their diet, whether they are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or not. You may think you are already eating a healthy and balanced diet. Why would you need to supplement?
A harsh truth is that only a few of us come close to eating a truly healthy and balanced diet, even those that aren’t on metformin. The type of lifestyle people live today contributes to the decreasing quality of the food we eat. Our soil is depleted of nutrients due to constant overuse. Our meat, instead of being grass-fed, is often fed grains and other foods that aren’t nutritionally rich, and so we can’t get the nutrition we should be able to get from meats. In addition to that, most people simply don’t have a diverse and rich enough diet to really enjoy the nutritional variety that we need to thrive. A lot of us eat out in fast foods restaurants almost daily, and even if you eat at home, it is possible that most of your food is nutritionally poor processed food. These type of foods undoubtedly lack in nutrients needed by the body for proper function and performance.
Another misconception is the idea that supplements are really not that beneficial and are only a waste of money. This could not be farther from the truth! You will be surprised how much difference even a single supplement can make in your everyday life. I can attest to a major improvement in my health state after I began taking vitamins B6, B12, vitamin D, and iron. For my particular case, those were an absolute game changer. It is always a great idea to check your vitamin and mineral levels professionally to get a better picture of how your body is doing, especially if you are on such harsh medication as metformin. Further in this article, I will concentrate more on Vitamin B12 in particular as one of the most vitally important vitamins for your body to thrive.
BENEFITS OF VITAMIN B12
Vitamin B12 is one of the water-soluble vitamins that provides the following benefits:
- Effective metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, and fat
- Improves the function of iron in the body
- Supports proper maintenance of a healthy central nervous system
- Supports healthy folate activity and calcium absorption
- Helps increase your energy
- Helps in healthy formation and regeneration of red blood cells.
Here is some of my personal history with vitamin B12. At a certain point, I noticed that I started forgetting words, and it took me a while to remember them while speaking. I also noticed I became mentally slow. I talked slowly, I constantly stammered and couldn’t find words for even the simplest concepts. I couldn’t even think fast. I lived in a nearly constant state of mental fog. Then I found out I was deficient in Vitamin B12.
I started taking supplements, just one tablet a day, and the results have been short of amazing. I noticed that I am much less tired. I think and speak faster and make decisions with greater ease. I have much more energy. And that’s just what I see on the surface. I am sure if I did some tests, I would see some great results in the internal systems of my body as well. This is why I highly recommend supplementing with B12, especially if you are on metformin which tends to exacerbate malabsorption of nutrients and may wreak havoc in multiple systems of your body unless you help support yourself.
Through diet, Vitamin B12 can be obtained by consuming tuna, salmon, chicken, milk, and eggs, and also vegan burger patties fortified with Vitamin B12. You can see that most of the sources of B12 are of animal origin, so if you are a vegetarian or especially vegan, you are almost 100% guaranteed to be lacking in vitamin B12.
A study that involved 46 individuals diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and taking either Metformin or Phenformin or both, showed that thirty percent of patients had vitamin strong B12 malabsorption. This meant that their bodies had difficulties in absorbing the vitamin, which resulted in the deficiency that continued even when the intake of medications was stopped. This is quite a large percentage of such a small representative group. In reality, almost anyone should supplement with vitamin B12, even if they aren’t on metformin.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
How can you tell if you are vitamin B12 deficient? The best way is to do medical tests to find out. However, some of the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include the following:
- weakness and/or soreness in arms and legs
- slow sensory perception and reflexes
- stammering and nervousness
- jerking in limbs and difficulty walking
- inflammation of the nerves
- memory loss and mental slowness
- mood disorders (irritability, depression, anger, etc..)
- unpleasant body odor
Your health care provider can easily monitor your vitamin B12 levels through a blood test. In the case of severe deficiency, your doctor can administer vitamin B12 injections under the tongue or by using a patch that can quickly deliver the vitamin to the body. Once your levels are stabilized, you can maintain healthy levels of daily Vitamin B12 supplementation.
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