The quest for the Fountain of Youth is a centuries-old and ongoing human endeavor. Most people want to live as long as possible, without the negative effects of aging. Aging and longevity are popular topics of modern research, and many inroads have been made to define specific factors that affect the aging process.
One important nutrient in particular plays a vital role in optimizing health and slowing the negative consequences of aging. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 3% of adults over age 50 will develop a serious B12 deficiency that can impair health.
The Role of B12 in Human Health
Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a water soluble vitamin found in animal products like meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Because B12 is water soluble, your body does not store it, so it needs to be replenished on a consistent basis. Plants do not provide vitamin B12, so a plant-based vegan or vegetarian diet is likely to be deficient in this important vitamin.
B12 plays many important roles in the human body, including:
- Nerve function
- Brain health
- Red blood cell production
- DNA synthesis
- Energy production
Some people simply do not get enough Vitamin B12 in their diet to meet the body’s demands, while others have difficulty absorbing it. Inadequate intake of B12 can cause a number of health problems and can accelerate the aging process.
Aging and B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by a number of factors, including a vegetarian diet, weight loss surgery, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease. Certain medications may also interfere with absorption and cause deficiency, in particular, medicines prescribed for heartburn, antibiotics, blood pressure medicine, cholesterol-lowering drugs, diabetes medications and antipsychotic drugs.
Older adults are at a higher risk for B12 deficiency for a number of reasons:
- Digestive issues that interfere with absorption
- Reduced food intake
- Dental issues that discourage meat consumption
- Disturbances to the gut biome
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Reduced stomach acid production that lowers absorption
Reduced consumption and absorption of B12 can lead to neurological disorders, cognitive impairment and a number of other issues that accelerate aging and reduce overall quality of life.
Benefits of B12 for Older Adults
B12 has a number of benefits for overall health in older adults:
- Boosts energy and reduces fatigue
- Prevents memory loss and reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimers
- Improves mood and reduces depression and anxiety
- Reduces the risk of heart and arterial disease
- Normalizes cholesterol levels
- Promotes healthy skin, hair and nails
- Fosters a healthy gut biome to improve digestion
- Supports DNA synthesis and mitochondrial function
- Helps prevent cancer, including cervical, prostate and colon cancers
- Supports red blood cell production and prevents anemia.
Maintaining healthy levels of Vitamin B12 can help prevent a number of cognitive and metabolic disorders that cost money and dramatically reduce your quality of life.
Symptoms of B12 Deficiency
B12 deficiency shares similar symptoms with a number of other health disorders, and it is often overlooked by doctors. Failure to identify B12 deficiency can lead to a faulty diagnosis and expensive treatments for the wrong condition.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency include:
- Low energy and fatigue
- Digestive problems
- Depression and moodiness
- Brain fog and memory loss
- Reduced immune system function
- Tingling or numbness in the extremities
- Swollen tongue
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Kidney disease
- Pale skin
- Poor circulation in the extremities
If you are over age 50 and are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms, boosting your intake of B12 cannot hurt, and it may provide a safe and inexpensive solution while preventing a wrong diagnosis.
The Best Way to Get B12
Due to the many factors that can interfere with B12 absorption in older adults, oral B12 supplements may not be enough to bridge the gap. Bioavailability of B12 is dependent on specific conditions in the digestive tract. In fact, for every 500 μg of oral B12 supplement ingested, only about 10 μg is absorbed.
Vitamin B12 injections provide a safe and reliable alternative to oral B12 supplements. Monthly shots combined with dietary intake of fortified foods and animal products can help older adults meet their dietary needs and reduce the risk of age-related deficiency. When combined with folate supplements and NAD+, B12 shots can dramatically slow the aging process.
Vitamin B12 Injections in NYC
Whether you are getting older, eating a vegetarian diet or experiencing digestive issues, supplementing with B12 can make a big difference in your overall health. A monthly vitamin B12 injection is a proactive step toward maintaining good health and combating the negative effects of aging. Contact Advanced Cryo NYC today to schedule your B12 injection, and be sure to ask us about NAD+ and other anti-aging treatments offered at our SoHo clinic.
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Dharmarajan, Thiruvinvamalai S., S. Lakshmi Narayanan, and Rajiv D. Poduval. “Life threatening vitamin B12 deficiency: will timely screening make a difference?.” World journal of gastroenterology 6.3 (2000): 456.
Eamon J. Laird, Aisling M. O’Halloran, Daniel Carey, Deirdre O’Connor, Rose A. Kenny, Anne M. Molloy. Voluntary fortification is ineffective to maintain the vitamin B12 and folate status of older Irish adults: evidence from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). British Journal of Nutrition, 2018; 120 (01): 111 DOI: 10.1017/S0007114518001356