Your energy plan B
Feel run down, anxious, distracted by everything? The reason could be something you never saw coming...
Tired all the time? Not for much longer. We suss the buzz around Vitamin B12
YYou mainline iron-rich foods, regularly clock enough sleep, have ditched the caffeine-and-chocolate crutch to get you through the day. And yet here you are nodding off at your desk again. A surprising culprit you may not have ever suspected? B12, the vitamin now being touted as a magic bullet for everything from low energy to a sluggish metabolism and flagging libido. Yet deficiencies can go undiagnosed for years. According to the World Health Organization, B12 deficiency could be a bigger health problem than we’re aware of – worrying because the nutrient is a powerhouse, helping to make DNA, keep nerve and blood cells healthy and deliver oxygen to organs. And when you’re low on O₂ you feel wiped out all the time, no matter how many Zs you log.
A GROWING RISK
B12 is almost exclusively found in animal-based foods, “so therefore [deficiency] is a potential concern for people who might follow a vegetarian or vegan-style diet”, says dietitian and sports nutritionist Robbie Clark. And with these diet preferences on the rise – Google Trends shows a 50 per cent rise in interest for veganism in the past year – deficiencies could increase.
A similar story is unfolding in the gut. Chronic gut inflammation – in conditions such as coeliac disease, Crohn’s or irritable bowel syndrome – limits absorption of B12. Heartburn sufferers often lack the nutrient, too, says Clark, because of the acidreducing meds they take. “Sufficient stomach acid is very important because that’s what extracts the
B12 from the food we consume.”
Fall into any of these groups? Check in with your GP, who can order blood tests and work out ways to boost your B12 levels if need be.
FLIP THAT SWITCH