It is more important to take care of your body as you get older than when you were younger. This is because with time, the body’s ability to absorb and create key vitamins and minerals declines.
Vitamin B12 is one such vitamin. Vitamin B12 is vital for good health. It is found in the liver and is required for various functions, including cognitive function. A blood test is the only method to find out if you have a B12 deficiency. Treatment generally includes taking B12 supplements or altering your diet to include more B12-rich foods.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common in seniors since it is absorbed from meals by stomach acid. However, as you get older, your stomach acid decreases. As a result, it’s critical to get checked for vitamin B12 deficiency as you get older. Don’t panic if you don’t get enough vitamin B12. It is the most common vitamin deficiency problem in third-world developing countries. It’s a completely natural problem among seniors, and there are several treatments available.
What are the Advantages of Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, aids the body in producing red blood cells and the proper function of nerve cells.
The benefits of vitamin B12 for seniors include:
- It helps your body develop new cell growth.
- It Improves cognition.
- It makes your bones healthy.
- It boosts the Immune system.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Seniors: Signs and Symptoms
Nutrition is a crucial component of healthy aging. A high amount of vitamin B12 is one of the most important aspects of proper nutrition for seniors. This vitamin, also known as cobalamin, is required by our bodies to produce components of our DNA, red blood cells, and nerve cells, among other things. Vitamin B12 is obtained from the consumption of animal products, as well as multivitamins and fortified meals.
Why is it that vitamin B12 deficiency is frequently overlooked in seniors?
- The signs and symptoms are ignored.
- It develops at a very slow pace.
- Seniors believe that symptoms like memory loss are due to advanced age and are natural.
How Does It Feel Like to Have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
You can get your loved one checked for low vitamin B12 levels to ensure that a deficiency hasn’t gone unnoticed. In addition, if a senior family member has any of the common risk factors for this disease, it’s a good idea to get them checked.
The following are some of the most common risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency according to assisted living in Palm Springs:
- If you’re a strict vegetarian.
- If you’re having stomach problems.
- If you’re having issues with your pancreas
- If you’re experiencing digestive issues.
- If you’re taking medication for stomach acid for a long time.
- If you’re taking medication such as metformin (a diabetic medication).
- If you’re an Alcoholic.
- If parts of your stomach or small intestine are removed during surgery.
- If you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
The most common diseases connected with vitamin B12 deficiency in seniors are as follows:
Anemia is a sickness in which the blood does not have enough healthy red blood cells due to a vitamin B12 deficiency. As the deficit grows from mild to severe, symptoms usually worsen gradually.
- Skin becomes light or yellowish in color.
- Inflammation of the tongue
- Fatigue, Shortness of breath, dizziness, and weariness
- Tingling sensations in the hands or feet
- Having trouble walking
- Having blurred vision
- Changes in your style of thinking, remembering things, and feeling
Neuropathy – This condition arises when the nerves in the body are not working correctly.
- Tingling sensation.
- Burning feeling.
- Poor balance.
- Trouble walking.
Cognitive Impairment – A condition that slowly damages nerve cells in the brain.
- Gradual memory loss.
- Anger management issues.
How to treat Seniors with Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Suppose a blood test indicates low levels of B12. In that case, a doctor may prescribe an oral supplement with high doses of vitamin B12, intramuscular injections of vitamin B12, or both. Shots are usually more effective than oral supplements because they bypass the stomach and intestines, allowing seniors to absorb the vitamin more easily. Don’t be overly concerned about your loved one receiving too much vitamin B12 because it isn’t harmful at high doses.
An intramuscular injection is the first line of therapy for a substantial vitamin B12 shortage; however, oral supplements can also be effective.
The two possible treatments are:
1.) Vitamin B12 Injections are done intramuscularly (1,000 micrograms). This avoids any difficulties with absorption in the stomach or intestine.
2.) High-dose of Oral Vitamin B12 Supplements (1,000-2,000 mcg per day) has also been demonstrated to boost levels because large dosages can generally compensate for the body’s poor absorption. On the other hand, oral therapy is likely to take longer to function than intramuscular shots, so they’re not ideal for treating a deficit right away. Still, they are occasionally used to sustain vitamin B12 concentrations in the body.
What is the Suggested Vitamin B12 Dose for Seniors?
The daily recommended dose for adults is 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12. Experts say a Western diet comprises 5-7 micrograms of vitamin B12, whereas a multivitamin typically includes 12-25 micrograms. However, it is always best to consult your doctor prior to making a decision regarding a dosage.
Are There Any Additional Benefits to Using Vitamin B12 Supplements?
Given that vitamin B12 is necessary for proper red blood cell and brain cell function. You may be wondering if your senior family members should take higher vitamin B12 doses as part of a healthy aging plan to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency-related concerns.
This proactive approach is undoubtedly beneficial. However, suppose an older adult’s body already has enough vitamin B12. In that case, it’s unclear if supplementing with extra vitamin B12 can lower the risk of cancer or dementia. However, research has conclusively demonstrated that vitamin deficiency is harmful: the bigger the shortage, the greater the risk. One good option to consider is assisted living in Palm Springs. Here seniors can enjoy healthy living while being monitored for health risks like Vitamin B12 deficiency and its symptoms.
You may help your senior loved ones prevent difficulties by having their vitamin B12 levels checked. A check should be done if they have a connected symptom or any risk factors. Seniors at assisted living in Palm Springs are regularly checked for such conditions.
Our senior family members have enough health issues to cope with. So let’s keep them safe from conditions caused by Vitamin B12 deficiency.