Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Seniors
Experts estimate that up to 20% of people 50 and older may be deficient in vitamin B12. Treatments for vitamin B12 deficiency are safe and effective as long as the problem is detected early enough to prevent permanent damage. Learn the symptoms and risk factors now so you can recognize the signs and get tested sooner.
What are the important benefits of vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is used by the body to make red blood cells and keep nerve cells functioning properly.
How does vitamin B12 deficiency cause harm to seniors?
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a variety of physical, mental, and emotional issues in seniors, including anemia, neuropathy, cognitive impairment, and retinitis pigmentosa, to name a few.
What are the most common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency in seniors can lead to nerve and brain problems; the body requires intrinsic factor to absorb vitamin B12, and without it, levels drop.
How does the body obtain and process vitamin B12?
People get vitamin B12 from food and supplements, and only a small amount is required each day. Even if you stop eating vitamin B12, it could be years before you show signs of deficiency, as the amount stored in your body is sufficient for a few years.
What’s the recommended dosage of vitamin B12 for seniors?
In comparison to a multivitamin’s recommended daily allowance of 25-50 micrograms, vitamin B12 is scarce in the Western diet.
Why are seniors at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency?
Low stomach acid and medications that reduce stomach acid are common risk factors for vitamin B12 absorption. Poor absorption can also cause problems with the acids and enzymes needed to process the vitamin in the body.
Why is vitamin B12 deficiency often missed in the elderly?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in older adults, and even a mild deficiency will almost always worsen over time. However, unlike many other problems that affect seniors, vitamin B12 deficiency is easily treatable.
When should you check for vitamin B12 deficiency?
Experts advise checking vitamin B12 levels if you’re concerned about: MemoryBrain function. Common risk factors for developing a Vitamin B12 deficiency include eating a vegetarian diet and taking stomach acid-reducing medication for a long time.
How is vitamin B12 deficiency diagnosed?
A blood test to check the serum level of vitamin B12 is the first step in checking for deficiency; folate deficiency can cause a similar type of anemia. A doctor may also recommend additional tests or investigations to figure out why your parent’s vitamin B12 levels have dropped.
What are the treatments with vitamin B12 supplements for seniors?
An intramuscular shot is the standard treatment for a significant vitamin B12 deficiency, but oral vitamins can be given instead, bypassing any absorption issues in the stomach or intestine. However, oral treatments are likely to take longer to work than shots, so they are not ideal for correcting a deficiency right away.
Can high levels of vitamin B12 become dangerous to seniors?
If your parent is being treated for vitamin B12 deficiency, you don’t need to be concerned that the doctors will overshoot; instead, make sure a follow-up test has confirmed better Vitamin B12 levels.
Are there other benefits to taking vitamin B12 supplements?
Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell and brain cell function, and the greater the deficiency, the more harm is caused. You can help your parents avoid problems by having their vitamin B12 levels checked if they exhibit a related symptom.
Are B12 shots safe for seniors?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, serious, and, worst of all, it’s often overlooked until it causes serious health problems. Treatments for vitamin B12 deficiency are safe and effective as long as the problem is caught before permanent damage occurs.
How long do you have B12 injections for?
For vitamin B12 deficiency, a daily dose of 30 mcg is given as an injection into the muscle or under the skin for 5-10 days, followed by a monthly dose of 100-200 mcg. Both cyanocobalamin and hydroxocobalamin forms are used.
What happens when you stop taking B12 shots?
What happens if I don’t get the injections? You’ll be given an appointment for your hydroxocobalamin injection, and if you don’t get it, your vitamin B12 level in your body will drop even more, potentially worsening your health problems.
How often is it safe to get a B12 shot?
More frequent injections, about once a month, may be ideal for patients who are naturally B12 deficient, while an injection every three to four months may suffice for others.
How much vitamin B12 does a senior woman need?
A recent study found that a daily dose of 500 micrograms of vitamin B12 was effective in reversing the signs of B12 deficiency in seniors; in general, experts recommend 2.5 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day for people over the age of 14.
Is vitamin B12 good for elderly?
A healthy level of vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is one of the most important aspects of good nutrition for the elderly. Our bodies require this vitamin to make parts of our DNA, make red blood cells, and keep our nerve cells functioning properly, among other things.
What are the benefits of a B12 injection?
A B12 injection can provide immediate health benefits.
- Increases energy and concentration.
- Improves metabolism and aids weight loss.
- Boosts the immune system.
- Improves sleep patterns.
- Aids in the prevention of certain types of hair loss.
What medications should not be taken with B12?
Colchicine, metformin, extended-release potassium products, antibiotics (such as gentamicin, neomycin, tobramycin), anti-seizure medications (such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone), and medications to treat heartburn (such as H2 blockers) can all reduce vitamin B12 absorption.
What are the neurological symptoms of B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to neurological issues that affect your nervous system, such as:
- Problems with vision
- memory loss
- pins and needles (paraesthesia)
- loss of physical co-ordination (ataxia), which can affect your entire body and make it difficult to speak or walk.
How many B12 injections do I need?
If your vitamin B12 deficiency isn’t due to a lack of vitamin B12 in your diet, you’ll most likely need a hydroxocobalamin injection every 2 to 3 months for the rest of your life.
Does alcohol deplete vitamin B12?
When you drink alcohol on a regular basis for more than two weeks, your gastrointestinal tract absorbs less vitamin B12.
Where is the best place to give a B12 injection?
The four most common injection sites for vitamin B12 are:
- Upper arm. The upper arm is frequently used for adults who are young or middle-aged. Buttocks. The upper, outer buttock on either side of the body is another common B12 injection site.
Do B12 shots give you energy?
Vitamin B-12 injections are promoted as giving you more energy and boosting your metabolism, which can help you lose weight, but they are unlikely to give you an energy boost unless you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Does B12 help you lose weight?
Vitamin B12 is an essential B vitamin that supports a healthy nervous system by converting the food we eat into sugar and other types of fuel that keep the body running smoothly. Because of its ability to boost metabolism and provide long-lasting energy, B12 is often associated with weight loss.