Vitamin B12 Craze - Super Nutrient Or Super Hype?
Celebrities, from high-profile athletes to pop stars, have been known to inject it. Food products, including expensive energy drinks and even candy bars, are laced with massive amounts of it. It's vitamin B12 and it is the nutrient fad of the moment.
Fleming Pharmaceuticals found doses of vitamin B12 in some popular products on the market ranged from 40% all the way up to a whopping 5,000% of the U.S. government's recommended daily intake. But do these massive doses really provide an energy boost?
"There is no clinical evidence that large amounts of B12 provide an immediate surge of energy," said Glenn L. Gordon, MD, a noted gastroenterologist and adjunct assistant professor at St. Louis University. Dr. Gordon asserts that the connection these manufacturers make to energy and vitality is more rooted in the common knowledge that vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with fatigue, weakness and mental confusion.
75 Million Americans are B12 Deficient
Though most common in the elderly, vitamin B12 deficiency can also occur in vegetarians, gastric bypass patents, those suffering from Crohn's disease and Celiac disease and people who take acid blockers, like Pepcid or Zantac, on a long-term and regular basis.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is much more serious than a simple bout of low energy. Left untreated, the condition can lead to significant anemia and serious neurological problems such as dementia-like symptoms, mood swings, depression, numbness, balance problems, shooting sensations in the extremities and urinary incontinence.
Only a blood test by a physician can determine whether a patient is vitamin B12 deficient. Treatment options for vitamin B12 deficiency were once limited to oral supplements for those with normal digestive tracts and painful intramuscular injections for patients whose digestive systems cannot absorb B12 through food or oral supplements.
Recently, the availability of nasal sprays have provided a painless option for vitamin B12 deficiency sufferers. One of the newest FDA-approved vitamin B12 nasal sprays is Fleming Pharmaceutical's CaloMist, a convenient once-daily nasal spray that helps patients maintain consistent vitamin B12 levels in the bloodstream.
If you or a loved one exhibits the classic signs of vitamin B12 deficiency -- fatigue, weakness, depression and mental confusion -- see a doctor right away. Chances are, if you don't fall within any of the risk categories and you eat a balanced diet, you're probably already getting all the B12 your body needs.