Medically Reviewed

What is the Ideal Vitamin B12 Dosage for Seniors?

As you get older, nutrient deficiencies become more common. Read on to learn how to make sure you’re getting the vitamin B12 you need as you age.

Vitamin B12 is a critically important vitamin, helping your body function at an optimal level. Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver and functions in much the same way the other B vitamins do, helping your body convert the carbohydrates you consume into glucose, thereby producing the energy your body needs day to day.

As we age, though, our bodies start to have a harder time absorbing all the vitamins and minerals they need. Some vitamins become harder for the body to process or absorb. In the case of some other vitamins, our bodies have a harder time producing them on their own. Regardless, it’s important, as we age, to find ways to get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we need to lead happy and productive lives.

In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about vitamin B12 – what it is, what its benefits are, and how much of it you should try to consume if you’re getting older.

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning you can take it with or without food. Water-soluble vitamins require no fat content to support absorption, and they’re not stored in the body for very long. Vitamin B12 is richly found in many food items, including clams (and other shellfish), beef, chicken, fish, milk and other fortified products. People who eat vegetarian or vegan diets are at a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, since most dietary B12 is to be found in animal-based products.

Each of the B vitamins has their own set of health benefits, but all are essential for converting the food you eat into the energy your body needs to function at an optimal level. Your body needs vitamin B12 to form red blood cells and DNA. Furthermore, vitamin B12 plays a vital role in the development and functioning of nerve cells and brain cells.

Vitamin B12 deficiency in seniors

In general, nutrient deficiencies tend to be more common in seniors than in younger people. That’s because, as we get older, our bodies have a more difficult time creating and absorbing the nutrients it needs to function at a high level. That is partly due to the fact that senior citizens tend to have less stomach acid than younger adults – vitamins, including vitamin B12, are absorbed from food by your stomach acid. Digestive enzymes in the body also tend to decrease with age, which can in turn affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Seniors with a vitamin B12 deficiency may experience cognitive and cardiovascular issues. Sometimes they will also experience declining energy levels. But there’s no need to despair – smart, strategic treatment options exist. Indeed, a vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the world. A good first step, as always, is to talk to a medical professional about the possibility of a deficiency.

How to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency

It can sometimes be difficult to diagnose a vitamin B12 deficiency. This can be especially so for seniors, since some of the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency are the same as regular symptoms of getting older. Some physical indicators that you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency include difficulty walking, tingling in your extremities, paleness, and fatigue.

If you start to suspect that you may be experiencing a vitamin B12 deficiency, you should talk to your doctor about running lab tests. According to the National Institutes of Health, B12 levels between 200 and 300 pg/mL are considered borderline, and further enzymatic testing will be necessary to diagnose the deficiency. Patients with levels below 200 pg/mL are considered deficient.

How Much B12 Should Seniors Take?

The amount of vitamin B12 that seniors should take depends on the level of need a given senior has; that’s why it’s important to involve medical professionals. In general, the recommended daily allowance is 2.4 mcg. But, because absorption may become more challenging with age, some medical professionals will recommend a higher dose. Depending on the circumstances some doctors may recommend B12 injections.

Care/of vitamin B12 capsules contain 250 mcg of vitamin B12. Our B12 – dubbed The Energizer – contains three different forms of the vitamin, which the science suggests are the most bioavailable. Like all Care/of supplements, our B12 is third-party tested, C.L.E.A.N. certified, and contains no unnecessarily fillers.

What are the Benefits of Vitamin B12 for Seniors?

Vitamin B12 can benefit seniors’ health in myriad ways. Some ways include promoting brain health, red blood cell count, and energy levels. This study even found that people with adequate B12 levels had stronger cognitive functioning in terms of memory and recognition. It’s clear that maintaining vitamin B12 levels can help keep you sharp, healthy, and active into your older years.

Potential Side Effects

Here’s the good news about vitamin B12: Few – if any – side effects are ever reported. That’s because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, which means the body can get rid of any excess B12 through urine. The side effects that are reported tend to be associated with B12 injections. As always, it’s best to work with your doctor to figure out the best way to get adequate vitamin B12 intake.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: Getting older is a gift. But it’s important to take good care of yourself, so that you can experience your older years with the kind of health and energy you want!

As we age, our bodies can have a harder time absorbing the nutrients it needs to function at a high level. Vitamin B12 is no exception. Watch out for the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can include fatigue, paleness, tingling in your extremities, and difficulty walking. If you’re concerned about such a deficiency, talk to your doctor about the best approach for you. Your doctor can do lab work to measure your vitamin B12 levels and figure out whether you’re deficient and what sort of treatment will get you back to full health.

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