Water-soluble vitamin B12, also known as cyanocobalamin, is necessary for proper adrenal gland function, nerve tissue health, and red blood cell production. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the findings of a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2004, which indicated one out of 31 adults over the age of 51 has insufficient vitamin B12 levels. The deficiency also affects more than five percent of adults over the age of 65. B12 is particularly important for older adults because the body does not absorb the nutrient as efficiently with age.
As they grow older, seniors can develop deficiencies and other serious medical conditions. Pawleys Island elderly care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Seniors lacking adequate levels of vitamin B12 can experience pernicious anemia, which causes unexplained fatigue, rapid heart rate, joint pain, and difficulty breathing. Deficient seniors also commonly display memory loss and other cognitive impairment symptoms, which may be mistaken for Alzheimer’s or mental illness. Cognitive symptoms range from confusion and depression to hallucinations and paranoia. Other symptoms include numbness or tingling in the extremities, lack of physical coordination, inflamed and swollen tongue, and jaundice. Although symptoms may hardly be noticeable initially, over time they can progress and the deficiency can become more severe.
Increasing Vitamin B12 Intake
Adults over the age of 14 should be getting at least 2.4 micrograms of the nutrient daily. Seniors have many options for boosting their intake of B12.
1. Dairy Products
Having a bowl of fortified cereal is an easy way to get B12. Whole-grain products typically offer 25 to 100 percent of daily recommended requirements. Adding low-fat milk, skim milk, or yogurt to dry cereal increases the amount of B12 another 15 to 20 percent. A couple of eggs and a dairy product is another great way to get the nutrient.
Lean beef is a rich source of vitamin B12. Consider buffalo or bison meat as an alternative. Buffalo meat is naturally lower in calories, saturated fat, and total fat content while providing seniors with cardiovascular-enriching omega-3 fatty acids. Grass-fed, organic beef is another source of B12.
Including four to five ounces of salmon, sardines, or trout in a lunch or dinner meal is a great way to boost B12 levels. Clams are another option. Three ounces of clams provide 100 percent of the recommended level of the vitamin and are also a wonderful source of iron, selenium, zinc, and protein for seniors.
4. Nutritional Yeast
Vegans, vegetarians, and seniors who don’t eat red meats might consider supplementing their diets with nutritional yeast. Add one tablespoon to desserts, casseroles, smoothies, or other foods to boost daily intake. Although some plant foods provide small amounts of vitamin B12, nutritional yeast is a better alternative.
The majority of over-the-counter multivitamins contain vitamin B12, folic acid, and other B vitamins. Sublingual supplements dissolve when placed under the tongue. Seniors with severe deficiencies are often prescribed supplementation via vitamin B12 injections. Other prescription options include the vitamin contained in nasal gels.
As seniors grow older, they can develop medical conditions that limit their mobility, making it challenging to complete daily tasks. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Pawleys Island, SC, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.
A trained caregiver can also benefit a senior who has a serious medical condition such as dementia. In Pawleys Island, SC, dementia home care professionals are available around the clock to help seniors with memory-related conditions age in place safely and comfortably. At Home Care Assistance, we understand the needs of seniors with dementia and the unique challenges they face as the disease progresses. Call (843) 353-3105 to learn how our services can benefit your loved one.