If you’ve tried everything to boost your energy, but still feel drained, you may want to start looking for answers elsewhere. Low levels of vitamin B12, a vitamin that lies at the core of our body’s ability to make DNA for new cells, form healthy red blood cells, and turn the food we eat into energy to power our metabolism, is often overlooked. Recent studies suggest anywhere from 15-40% of Americans don’t have adequate levels of B12 for optimal health.
Symptoms of B12 Deficiency:
Overall lack of energy
Unusual mood changes
Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
Inflamed, red, cracked tongue
Fortified breakfast cereals are an affordable, super easy way to get the B12 you need. Check the label and choose your favorite whole grain cereal that provides 25-100% of the Daily Value (DV) of B12. Add 1 cup of organic lowfat or skim milk or yogurt for another 15-20% DV of B12, and you can meet your needs before you’ve cleared the breakfast table.
Cook Up a Buffalo Slider
The best natural sources of vitamin B12 are animal foods. One-hundred percent grass-fed buffalo (or bison) is a lean and green superfood, as it’s lower in calories, total fat and saturated fat than conventional beef, and higher in heart-healthy omega-3s. Look for “100% grass fed” on the label, as some buffalo at the supermarket is corn-fed (in which case, those health benefits disappear). If you can’t find buffalo or bison, 95% extra lean organic grass-fed beef is a good alternative.
Crack Open a Clam
Seafood provides some of the best B12 foods on the planet. Just 3 ounces of canned clams, for example, pack over 100% of the DV for vitamin B12, and is also an excellent source of selenium, iron, zinc and protein. You can also find frozen clams in the freezer section of many seafood counters. Don’t like clams? Substitute 4-5 ounces of sardines, salmon or trout for a nutrient-rich B12 boost.
Try a Nutritional Yeast
If you’ve eliminated red meat altogether, are a vegan or vegetarian, a nutritional yeast that is fortified with B12 (be sure to check the label) can also be an excellent source of this vitamin; simply sprinkle 1 tablespoon per day into your lasagnas, smoothies and even desserts for your daily dose of B12. While other plant foods may claim to be a source of B12, these are unreliable as the amount can vary; a fortified yeast (or breakfast cereal) is a better bet.
What About B12 Shots or Supplements?
For many Americans, including vitamin B12-rich foods and fortified foods can help them easily meet their needs. However, supplements and injections can be another option for people who already have or are at higher risk for deficiency. There are numerous vitamins, lozenges, dissolving oral tablets, lollipops and patches that deliver adequate amounts of B12, so choose a method that works for you.