What is Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is needed to produce a good amount of healthy red blood cells in the bone marrow. Vitamin B12 is only available from foods like meat and dairy or yeast extracts. Deficiency in B12 is defined by a blood test and results would show a lower number of red blood cells.
As I am active on a daily basis, eat well the majority of the time, I would never have thought to be deficient in something. I did however put my tiredness down to my daily exercise but when my sleep started to suffer and I became unusually irritable I thought maybe something was up. I did however avoid addressing these symptoms initially until I started to gain more. My appetite in the mornings completely went, I was never a big fan of breakfast to begin with but I understood the necessity of it so I always ate it. I also started getting regular headaches and then random heart palpitations. At first I thought they were from drinking coffee but when they started to persist every couple of minutes even when I was in bed I made an appointment with my GP.
My GP was excellent and instantly put my mind at ease. After a general chat about how I was feeling, I told her all the symptoms I have listed above and I was then surprised to learn that they all were related. After a full routine bloods, everything came back normal apart from my B12 levels which were considerably low. There is no serious repercussions from a B12 deficiency apart from not feeling very upbeat and in my case headaches, sleep disturbance, loss of appetite and heart palpitations as my levels where very low.
So my reason for writing this blog is to create awareness of getting routine blood tests every 6 months just to be sure everything is in check. Also to acknowledge that although daily life can make you tired and a bit sluggish its important not to just leave it, especially if you start to feel other symptoms like I did. Go to your GP and get yourself checked.
Although I eat meat and dairy on a daily basis, my body was obviously not absorbing enough nutrients. So my GP recommend that I get a Vitamin B12 injection over a course of 3 weeks once a week and then to take a B12 supplement daily after that for the foreseeable.
I have to say after the third injection I started to feel myself again, the palpitations disappeared, my energy levels boosted and my sleep went back to normal. As many top athletes are known to get a B12 shot for energy levels there is no scientific evidence to prove it works unless you actually have a Vitamin B12 deficiency.
So here is to being health conscious and listening to our bodies :)