What does Vitamin B12 and Stress have to do with each other?
What is the relationship between vitamin B12 and stress? Well, high levels of stress can deplete your body of B vitamins, which are essential for the nervous and circulatory systems. It can also reduce the absorption of nutrients in your system from the foods you eat and the supplements you take.
Vitamin B12 and stress
Taking in adequate amounts of vitamin B12 can help reduce stress by promoting healthy nervous system function. When the nervous system is functioning properly, the adrenal glands do not secrete as much cortisol—the hormone produced during times of stress that causes “fight or flight” response.
How vitamin B12 deficiency can affect your health
Vitamin B12 deficiency can hinder the ability to manage stress and can manifest in the body physically and mentally in the following ways:
- Loss of balance and trouble walking
- Tingling sensations or numbness in hands, legs or feet
- Memory loss or cognitive difficulties
- Paranoia and delusions
- Loss of taste and smell
Are you getting enough B12?
Vitamin B12 assists in maintaining healthy nerve cells and red blood cells and is needed to make DNA. Vitamin B12 is also involved in homocysteine metabolism and plays a critical role in proper energy metabolism, immune function, and nerve function. Vitamin B12 deficiency is fairly common, especially among older populations. Other groups at risk of inadequate vitamin B12 intake or absorption include:
- Strict vegetarians and vegans
- People who have had stomach stapling or weight loss surgery
- People with celiac or Chron’s disease
- People who frequently use prescription drugs to control heartburn
- People with autoimmune diseases
- People who smoke
- People who consume a lot of alcohol
- People who have used a lot of antibiotics
Some people don’t consume enough vitamin B12 rich foods, and others can’t absorb enough B12 through their diets no matter how much they take in. The average adult should get 2.4 micrograms of B12 per day. Like most vitamins, B12 can’t be made by the body. Instead, it must be ingested from food or supplements.
Vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, milk and poultry, but it is typically not found in plant foods, however, I found a liquid vitamin called Complete Plus+ that contains a vitamin B-12 from a plant source.
Some foods are fortified with vitamin B12, such as some cereals.
Vitamin B-12 Supplementation
Incorporating alternative treatments with traditional therapies for stress is becoming widely accepted by many medical providers. Adding vitamin B12 can help improve methylation pathways, which are necessary to help your body and mind adapt to environmental changes.
If a vitamin B12 deficiency is left untreated, it can cause neurological problems and blood diseases.
A serious vitamin B12 deficiency can be corrected by weekly shots of vitamin B12 or daily high-dose B12 oral supplements.