If you’re stuck at home, practicing social distancing and self-isolation, you might feel less motivated than usual.
I get it… It’s easy to feel indifferent during these trying times.
Weeks of staying home can leave you feeling drained and struggling to get up off the couch. You might be tempted to reach for an energy drink to get you going.
If you do, you’re not alone. Bottled energy drinks are big business… The market was valued at $53 billion in 2018 and is predicted to surge to $86 billion in the next Few years.1
But these “energy” drinks deliver a lot of false promises AND big health risks.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that caffeinated energy drinks altered the heart’s electrical activity to dangerous levels and raised blood pressure.2 And the World Health Organization says they may pose a danger to public health.3
And as for the promises they make, that’s just clever marketing.
For instance, they promise to give you the energy you need to get through the day by providing mega doses of B vitamins.
Unfortunately, it’s just not true.
The quick pick-me-up in the beverages typically comes from their chemically-induced caffeine content and high levels of sugAr.
It’s true that B vitamins are essential to your body’s energy metabolism. And vitamin B12 in particular is crucial for energy.
When you consume high-quality B12, you unlock the energy contained in the foods you eat and turn it into glucose you can burn.
B12 Deficiency Is Common As You Age
You see, your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B diminishes as you get older. So you may need vitamin B supplements, even shots, if you are defiCient. A straightforward blood test can determine your vitamin B levels.
And as you age, your digestive tract no longer produces a protein called gastric “intrinsic factor.” This protein binds to vitamin B12 so that your body can absorb it.
If you are deficient in vitamin B12, you may experience memory loss, fatigue and weakness, trouble walking and balance problems, numbness or tingling in your hands, legs or feet and vision problems.
When you don’t get enough B12, your body can’t get energy out of your food. It also can’t form healthy red blood cells. And the result is low energy, weakness and fatigue.
Sadly, mainstream doctors know almost nothing about vitamins. They’ll rarely check your B12 levels. But in my practice, I recommend a simple B12 blood test for most patients.
Most labs say normal B12 levels are beTween 150 and 350 pg/mL. But I find patients at that level have clear symptoms of a deficiency. I recommend keeping your level above 450 pg/mL.
Best Ways To Get Your B12
Most nutritionists say adults only need 2.4 mcg per day. That’s way too low. I recommend at least 100 mcg per day. But I advise many of my patients to take as much as 2,000 mcg per day.
1. Get what you need from food
I always recommend that you get this nutrient from food. B12 is produced in the gut of animals. It’s found almost exclusively in foods like beef, liver, lamb, salmon, shrimp and poultry. While you can get B12 from grain-fed animals, there are a million other reasons to choose grass-fed meats. Grain-fed animals lack dOzens of other nutrients your body needs. They’re also pumped full of antibiotics and hormones that your body doesn’t need.
Other good sources include clams, wild-caught trout and salmon, yogurt, Swiss cheese and eggs.
2. Take the right supplement
It’s not easy to get what you need from food, so I recommend supplementing…
You can find vitamin B12 supplements in capsules, patches or lozenges. Sprays are very effective. You spray a fine mist of vitamin B12 into your mouth. Capillaries and small blood vessels in your mouth quickly absorb the mist. They deliver B12 to your ciRculatory system, tissues and cells. It bypasses the gut where your B12 absorption may be low.
3. Get the shot
Here at the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, I also offer B12 injections. Shots are a good option if you have trouble absorbing B12. They bypass the gut and go directly into the bloodstream. If you’d like more information about B12 injections, call my staff at 561-784-7852. They’re happy to answer any questions you have.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
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Sources and References
1. Abhishek R and Desmukh R. “Energy drinks market outlook – 2026.” Allied Market Res. June 2019.
2. Shah SA, et al. “Impact of high volume energy drink consumption on electrocardiographic and blood pressure parameters: A randomized trial.” J Am Heart Assoc. 2019;8(11):e011318.
3. World Health Organization. Energy drinks cause concern for health of young people. [euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/nutrition/news/news/2014/10/energy-drinks-cause-concern-for-health-of-young-people] October 14, 2014. Accessed July 15, 2019.