Your en­ergy plan B

Feel run down, anx­ious, dis­tracted by ev­ery­thing? The rea­son could be some­thing you never saw com­ing...

Women's Health Australia - - CONTENT - By Kris­ten Dold

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

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