Mercy's Dr. Ernestine Wright and Dietitian Kristian Morey Discuss Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Having vitamin B12 deficiency may sound harmless, but your body needs the vitamin to make red blood cells, nerves and DNA and to carry out other functions.
Some people don't consume enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs, while others can't absorb it.
Sandra Welborn gets Vitamin B-12 injections every 30 days. Before a blood test confirmed she had pernicious anemia, she could tell something didn't feel right.
"I started having fatigue, and then started getting weak in my limbs and my legs," Welborn said.
According to Mercy primary care physician Dr. Ernestine Wright, fatigue and weakness are just some of the signs that a person is vitamin B12 deficient.
"There are lots of studies that show people who are low in B12 have problems with memory loss, cognition and function, and also depression," she said.
Not everyone who has a vitamin B12 deficiency needs injections. Sometimes, fixing the problem is as simple as changing your diet.
"B12 is primarily found in nature and foods that contain protein, so things like red liver or seafood or steak or chicken. Animal products like that are generally pretty rich in B12," said Kristian Morey, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian at Mercy Medical Center.
Morey recommends looking for foods fortified in vitamin B12 and said taking the vitamin itself is a good option, too.
Dr. Wright suggests any patient who has had weight-loss surgery take supplements.
"The surgery bypasses the lower part of the stomach and the first part of the intestine, which is where B12 is actually absorbed from, so it's important the patients who undergo any type of bariatric surgery do take B12 supplementation," Dr. Wright said.
Welborn said she wants to tell patients: "It's manageable. You just have to pay attention to your body."
View Mercy’s Dr. Ernestine Wright and registered dietitian Kristian Morey’s interviews regarding vitamin B12 deficiency.
Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.