Did you know that a woman’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 slows down with age? In fact, 4 out of every 100 women ages 40 and older suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency, a condition in which the vitamin’s levels in the blood are too low.
The significance? Vitamin B12 is a powerhouse that’s essential for living. The nutrient holds a host of benefits including boosting mood, blood-cell formation, digestion, nervous system and brain function. Per the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, how much one needs will depend greatly on their age. However, in general, it’s recommended that both men and women over the age of 14 aim for 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 each day. Pregnant women should ingest 2.6 mcg and women breastfeeding need 2.8 mcg daily.
Still, up to 15 percent of people don’t get enough B12, and they’re likely to be vegetarians, have celiac disease or other digestion problems, according to the Harvard Health Letter.
Here’s what happens when you don’t get enough:
- Foggy brain: Chronic forgetfulness may indicate a deeper medical issue.
- Weakness and increased fatigue: Researchers from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claim that those who feel worn out and weary, even though they get plenty of rest may be experiencing low levels of B12.
- Constipation and diarrhea: Stomach troubles aren’t always the result of something you ate. With a B12 deficiency, nausea, diarrhea and difficulty going number two is common.
- Anemia: Anemia happens when the body is unable to absorb the vitamin.
- Muscle weakness: No longer able to max out on the leg press? This may signal a lack of oxygenation of the organs – a responsibility of B12.