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How Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Affect Your Body And Treatments You Should Try

How Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Affect Your Body And Treatments You Should Try

Are you sure you’re not short on Vitamin B12? This vitamin is important for your body. It helps manufacture your DNA[1] and red blood cells. Since it’s not made by the human body, you have to source it from animal-based food or from supplements and take it in regularly. That way, you will get the benefits.

In case you suspect that you lack Vitamin B12, it’s recommended that you ask your doctor for a blood test. If you have this kind of deficiency then it’d be wise to take note of the info available here. Everything included in this article will help you on your way to recover from Vitamin B12 deficiency immediately.

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What Are The Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency?

  • extreme tiredness, lightheadedness, weakness
  • pale skin
  • pins and needles (paraesthesia)
  • heart palpitations, shortness of breath
  • a loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, or gas
  • a sore and red tongue
  • nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
  • mouth ulcers
  • disturbed vision
  • muscle weakness
  • psychological problems. It may include confusion and depression
  • problems with memory, understanding and judgement

Causes of a Vitamin B12 deficiency

The most common cause of this deficiency in the UK is pernicious anaemia. It’s a condition where the immune system attacks healthy cells in the stomach. This prevents your body from absorbing vitamin B12[2] from what you eat. Another is lack of Vitamin B12 in your diet. This is not common, but can happen if you have a generally poor diet for a long time, a vegan diet (a kind of diet which doesn’t include animal products, such as meat, milk, cheese, and eggs.), or follow a fad diet.

Treatments you can try

In most cases of vitamin B12 deficiency, treatment can be administered simply with injections or tablets to replace the missing vitamins. In some cases, nasal therapy is recommended.

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Regarding supplements, they are usually given by injection as a preliminary treatment. Depending on whether a person’s B12 deficiency is related to his diet, he’ll either need to take in B12 tablets in between meals or have regular injections. Sad to say, these treatments could be needed to be administered for the rest of his life.

In some cases, making improvements on your diet can help treat the condition and may prevent it from recurring. Commonly Vitamin B12 is found in eggs, dairy products, meat, fish, yeast extract (like Marmite) and specially fortified foods.

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For the elderly they should take a daily B12 supplement or a multivitamin that contains B12 on a regular basis.

Majority of the people with this condition can have treatment and be their problem solved. You must be warned, though, that any nerve damage that may happen because of the deficiency could be permanent.

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Preventing B12 Deficiency

For most people they can prevent vitamin B12 deficiency by consuming enough eggs, poultry, meat, seafood, or dairy products.[3] In case your diet requires you to avoid animal products, or you have a medical condition that limits your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, many experts strongly suggest to take in B12-containing multivitamin and consuming breakfast cereal that has vitamin B12.

If you regularly take in vitamin B12 supplements, inform your doctor, so he or she can make sure they won’t affect any of your other medications.

How to increase absorption of Vitamin B12:

  1. Eat or drink cranberry juice: A study in 2005 found out that eating cranberries or drinking cranberry juice may help increase B12 absorption. 300 to 1,200 mg per day of cranberry capsules may also work.
  2. Add spice to chow: One study suggested that “piperine,” a component in black pepper, may help enhance the absorption of nutrients like vitamin B.
  3. Avoid too much alcohol: Don’t drink more than the recommended serving per day. 1 for women and 2 for men.
  4. Get a caffeine fix: Caffeine in coffee stimulates stomach acid production. This helps the body absorb vitamin B12. Be careful not to take in too much, as it’s possible that you may feel other symptoms (headaches, dizziness, and edginess.)
  5. Consume calcium: Calcium is essential for vitamin B12 absorption, hence it’s recommended that you get enough of this nutrient, too. A study in 2000 found, for example, that patients taking the diabetes medication metformin, which inhibits vitamin B absorption, were able to reverse low Vitamin B12 levels by increasing their doses of calcium.

Featured photo credit: freestocks.org via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/vitamin-b12-deficiency-symptoms-causes#1
[2] http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Anaemia-vitamin-B12-and-folate-deficiency/Pages/Introduction.aspx
[3] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219822.php

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Anthony Dejolde

TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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Last Updated on July 28, 2020

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

1. Quinoa

GI: 53

Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

GI: 50

Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

3. Corn on the Cob

GI: 48

Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

4. Bananas

GI: 47

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Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

5. Bran Cereal

GI: 43

Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

6. Natural Muesli

GI: 40

Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

7. Apples

GI: 40

Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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8. Apricots

GI: 30

Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

9. Kidney Beans

GI: 29

Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

10. Barley

GI: 22

Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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11. Raw Nuts

GI: 20

Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

12. Carrots

GI: 16

Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

13. Greek Yogurt

GI: 12

Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

14. Hummus

GI: 6

When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

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Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

Reference

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