On a daily basis, we have patients ask about the value of vitamins D and B12. They are concerned that a deficiency may be the cause of some of their illnesses. It turns out that their concerns are absolutely valid. Deficiencies of these vitamins are often responsible for a wide variety of chronic symptoms. We make sure that our patients are screened for such deficiencies and make recommendations for appropriate levels of supplement if the vitamin is not coming from their diet.
Proper vitamin D levels are important for proper metabolism and absorption of phosphorus and calcium. Many patients experiencing muscle pain, joint pain and headaches have been found to have low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is found naturally in fish and egg yolks and we also get Vitamin D from the sun. However, with our increased sensitivity to the sun’s rays and the increased use of sun blockers, we are receiving less Vitamin D from this source. Dairy products and orange juice are fortified sources of Vitamin D.
Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining your body’s health. It promotes healthy blood cells and nerve cells and also helps to make DNA. Proper red blood cell formation depends on B12. It is found naturally in animal foods and in some fortified foods. B12 deficiencies cause tiredness, weakness, weight loss and loss of appetite. Some of the nerve related symptoms include problems with balance, memory loss and confusion. Physical changes such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet can also occur.
Concerns of vitamin deficiencies can be relaxed with proper screening. Knowing the level of vitamin deficiency is a starting point for a nutritionist to figure out how to close the gap naturally or with the use of supplements. Taking a supplement is not an action that should be taken without medical guidance. Inappropriate amounts of vitamin supplements can lead to other medical problems or even toxicity. Vitamins are essential for bodily functioning, but like everything else, balance and moderation are often the best approach. Ask your care provider about having your vitamin levels tested to know if some corrective action can benefit your overall health.