There is a lot of buzz about the potential benefits of vitamin B-12. Should I take a B-12 supplement? | Health | Spokane | The Pacific Northwest Inlander
in most of the cases people get enough vitamin B-12 (cyanocobalamin) in their diet. B-12 is found in red meat, organ meats, clams, fish, and some fortified foods such as grains, yeast, and milk. But B-12 deficiency can occur, and when it does, there can be serious consequences. Vegans or vegetarians are probably at some risk for B-12 deficiency, as are the elderly. Additionally, taking the drug metformin or long-term use of common antacid drugs, including esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), or omeprazole (Prilosec), can in some cases lead to B deficiency. -12. There are other causes of vitamin B12 deficiency as well, including a condition called pernicious anemia which occurs when the individual is unable to make a substance called the intrinsic factor responsible for the gastrointestinal absorption of vitamin B-12. Untreated pernicious anemia can be fatal.
The signs and symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency are sometimes fleeting and can include physical ailments such as lack of energy, heart problems and neuropathy (tingling or numbness in the extremities), but also symptoms of mental health such as confusion or delusions.
If you’re worried about B-12 deficiency, you can take an over-the-counter sublingual (under the tongue) supplement or nasal formulation. However, in many cases, it is best to talk to your health care provider about blood work to check your B-12 level and make sure you are not anemic.
John R. White is Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences based in Spokane.