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Taking the right B vitamins over time will maintain proper nerve function. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve cells healthy. It’s critical for the nervous system to supplement adequate B12 amounts in this day and age. Most of us do not have the time to farm our own produce so it’s tough to know exactly what you are getting, food-wise. Playing it safe and eating organic foods plus good quality meat will ensure your maximizing nutrition in everything you eat. To understand how to improve your nerve health, you should know what supplements to take, how it is absorbed in the body, and what is the most common cause of B12 deficiency.

Where are the best sources to naturally consume vitamin B12?

Animal products and dairy are the leading contributors. Chicken, fish, low-fat milk, yogurt, and eggs are all examples of B12-rich foods. There are great documentaries out there highlighting the benefits of a vegan diet such as Forks Over Knives and The Game Changers. However, people that maintain a vegan diet and vegans that are breastfeeding are susceptible to a B12 deficiency. If you are doing a plant-based diet, it’s a good idea to take B12 vitamin daily.

Vitamin B12 is absorbed in the small intestine, where we produce a substance in our stomach called intrinsic factor. That is what B12 binds and absorbs later in the small intestine. If you have a B12 deficiency, it can be from an intrinsic factor deficiency, which causes chronic gastritis attacking the stomach cells that make that intrinsic factor. That is something that we call pernicious anemia. Other causes of inadequate absorption of vitamin B12 can be inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, Crohn’s disease, among other malabsorption disorders. A decrease in stomach acid, which is common in older adults also leads to vitamin B12 deficiency. There’s a wide variety of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis that can attack healthy cells in your body including nerves or stomach cells that create intrinsic factor.

What is the most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency?

You’d be surprised to learn it’s excessive alcohol use. Everybody’s opinion of what constitutes excessive alcohol use varies. What the CDC recommends and the amount of a typical serving of alcohol is drastically different. They used to say two drinks for men, one drink for women, but they changed that recently to one drink per day. One drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, eight ounces of malt liquor, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof-distilled spirits or liquor such as vodka, rum, whiskey, and others. Five or more drinks in one day for men, or four or more drinks for women is considered excess. Binge drinking is considered 15 or more servings per week for men and eight or more drinks for women. Alcohol can also damage your sleep if consumed before you go to bed at night. This dramatically effects your body’s ability to regenerate and be ready for the next day.

Having a good understanding of vitamin deficiencies can lead to action and breed positive habits that will ensure proper nerve health. The B complex vitamin is essential and should be taken daily. Do your best to consume nutrients to promote proper nerve function through your diet. We all know it’s difficult to pay attention to these details in our busy lives. That’s why it’s important to add the right vitamins to your regimen. Neuropathy Treatment Clinic of Oklahoma offers B-Complex vitamins along with others that promote healthy nerves.

If you are experiencing pain, burning, tingling or numbness regularly, schedule a consultation with us at Neuropathy Treatment Clinic of Oklahoma and we’ll get you on the path to a pain-free life.