B12 for Fatigue and Exhaustion

If you’re tired all the time, you could be suffering from a common—and easy-to-treat—vitamin deficiency. Vitamin B12 can safely and inexpensively improve your energy levels.

B12

The reason you should check out a possible B12 deficiency is because of the key role this nutrient plays in energy production.

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Do you find yourself having to drag yourself out of bed in the morning? Are you tired at times of the day you should be raring to go? You aren’t alone. According to Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, 31% of adults suffer from fatigue that is chronic in nature. Dr. Teitelbaum should know because he is medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, a national group of clinics, and is author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! But what can you do about it? Give B12 for fatigue a try.

Fatigue Has Many Possible Underlying Causes

Finding a solution to your extreme fatigue condition is troublesome because so many different underlying issues can be the problem. For example, just of few of these would include adrenal fatigue, underactive thyroid function, iron-deficiency anemia, depression, delayed food sensitivities, lack of restorative sleep due to insomnia or sleep apnea, insulin resistance or prediabetes,  and some medications such as statin drugs which deplete Coenzyme Q10, a nutrient critical for energy production. So to regain your energy and zest for life, you would have to methodically evaluate each of these possible underlying causes to see if any applied to you. Fortunately almost all of these root causes can be corrected with natural healing protocols and nutrients. But there is one quick and safe step you can take that is worth investigating first—and if it is the underlying cause of your extreme fatigue you can be back on track in short order. It involves a simple nutrient deficiency of vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12’s Key Role in Energy Production

The reason you should check out a possible B12 deficiency is because of the key role this nutrient plays in energy production. Here are the primary functions B12 performs in your body:

  • Helps maintain normal energy levels
  • Supports normal metabolism of carbohydrates and fats
  • Maintains healthy cell growth and repair
  • Promotes healthy neurological activity, including mental alertness
  • Helps to ease occasional stress and sleeplessness
  • Promotes normal immune function

Your body uses glucose as its source of fuel (and energy). Vitamin B12 plays a major role in the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose. So low B12 supplies mean low energy production. The body also uses B12 to convert fatty acids into energy as well.

Vegetarians and Older Adults Are at Risk

At least two groups are at a higher risk of becoming B12 deficient:

  • Vegetarians and vegans: Vitamin B12 is present primarily in animal sources of food so those who don’t eat animal products run a high risk of B12 deficiency
  • Adults over 60: ome estimates say one of every four adults in this age group is B12 deficient. Why? Older adults often cannot absorb B12 because they don’t produce enough stomach acid to break down the B12 and make it available to the cells. Malabsorption can also occur due to intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s or celiac disease, pernicious anemia, long-term medication use and stomach or intestinal surgery.

Vitamin B12 Shots or Sublingual

Although your doctor can test your B12 levels through routine blood labs, oftentimes the decision is made to just give a therapeutic trial of natural B12 injections at a frequency of about one shot per week. Sometimes your doctor is willing to even teach you how to give these injections yourself at home. This can quickly, safely and inexpensively improve energy levels with very little risk of adverse effects. If the idea of weekly injections doesn’t sound too appealing to you, sublingual (under the tongue) B12 is a safe, efficient and inexpensive option. It is not as well absorbed as the shots so it may take longer to feel the effects. What you want to look for is the sublingual methylcobalamin form of B12. A normal daily maintenance dosage is 1000 micrograms (mcg) dissolved under the tongue. However, if you have a current B12 deficiency, then dissolve 2000 micrograms/day under your tongue for one month followed up by the regular maintenance dose of 1000 mcg after that. This is one of those solutions that has little risk and much potential for benefit… so give it a try!

To learn more about taking vitamins and other supplements to fight fatigue, read our articles:

This blog originally appeared in 2011 and has been updated. 

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