Fitness Facts: Vitamin B deficiency
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
Are you getting enough Vitamin B?
According to Medline Plus (2108):
These vitamins help the process your body uses to get or make energy from the food you eat. They also help form red blood cells. You can get B vitamins from proteins such as fish, poultry, meat, eggs and dairy products. Leafy green vegetables, beans, and peas also have B vitamins. Many cereals and some breads have added B vitamins.
If you do not get enough of Vitamin B12 or B6, you can become anemic. This anemia is different from what you generally might think of as anemia. It is not caused by blood loss or iron depletion but rather a vitamin deficiency.
A vitamin deficiency may be caused by a lack of adequate intake through your diet or a physical problem with absorbing vitamins, such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease, or certain medications may block the absorption of these vitamins. Other risk factors include pregnancy, alcohol abuse and chronic illness.
Whatever the case may be, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical advice and testing if the symptoms persist.
In general, the symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
- Pale or yellowish skin
- Irregular heartbeats
- Weight loss
- Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet
- Muscle weakness
- Personality changes
- Unsteady movements
- Mental confusion or forgetfulness
These symptoms often develop slowly over time and may be very subtle at first but then become more pronounced as the deficiency worsens.
Here is a list of foods that contain the different forms of Vitamin B. To assure your continued health, it is essential to include these in your diet or take a supplement to complement areas of your diet that are lacking the intake of these foods.
Vitamin B1: pork, berries, legumes, lean meats, nuts, soy milk
Vitamin B2: eggs, dark green vegetables, fish, grains, lean meat, mushrooms
Vitamin B3: sunflower seeds, tuna, poultry, potato, cottage cheese, liver
Vitamin B5: organ meats, avocados, broccoli, mushrooms
Vitamin B6: green beans, whole grains, spinach, fish, bananas
Vitamin B7: soy products, egg yolks, fish, organ meats, cheese, sweet potatoes
Vitamin B9: green leafy vegetables, citrus juice, legumes, tofu, tomato juice
Vitamin B12: milk, fish, fortified breakfast cereal, eggs, shellfish
If you lack intake of the foods listed above, do not take a daily supplement and/or have a chronic illness affecting absorption of nutrients, it is possible that you have a vitamin deficiency. It is best to see a medical professional for advice and treatment recommendations.