Getting a good night’s sleep is a pretty surefire way to ensure you have enough energy for the day.
But sometimes things can go awry…
Anxiety and too much caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns.
And many prescription and over-the-counter medications, like antihistamines, beta blockers, alpha blockers and antidepressants, can hinder your quality of sleep too.
But a major cause of fatigue in the U.S. comes from a deficiency in a vitamin that plays some critical roles in the body.
We’re talking about vitamin B12.
For starters, B12 helps transform food into energy.
It also keeps nerves and blood cells healthy and prevents anemia, which is known to cause a weak and tired feeling.
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in a lot of animal proteins.
Organ meats are especially rich in B12.
Same goes for clams, sardines, beef, dairy products and most fish.
There are also fortified versions of cereals, nutritional yeast and nondairy milks with added levels of B12.
But even a healthy, balanced diet might not be enough to keep B12 levels where they should be.
This is especially true for older adults.
Those over 50 can often have trouble absorbing B12. As we age, our stomachs create less acids and proteins to help absorb it.
Vegans and vegetarians are also often on the lower end of the B12 scale because animal-based foods are the primary natural source of this vitamin.
Lastly, those with gastrointestinal disorders (like celiac disease and Crohn’s disease) can also have trouble properly absorbing B12.
The good news for those with a B12 deficiency is there are scores of cheap supplements out there.
They can be found in capsules, liquid tinctures and flavored powders that can be added to water or smoothies.
And maxing out B12 levels can work wonders as far as increasing energy levels.
It’s also worth noting that this is one of those vitamins where more is almost always merrier.
Daily oral supplements of up to 2,000 micrograms have been deemed safe for most people.
And because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, B12 is safe even at fairly high doses.
For otherwise healthy adults, whatever their bodies can’t use just goes out with their urine.
The only warnings regarding B12 are for those on the antibiotic chloramphenicol, proton pump inhibitors (like Prilosec or Prevacid) and medicines to treat peptic ulcer disease (like Zantac or Pepcid), as there can be negative interactions.
There is also some research that suggests high doses of vitamin B12 can lead to more rapid decline in kidney function for those with diabetic nephropathy. So those with diabetes or kidney disease should definitely consult with their doctor before taking a B12 supplement.
But the bottom line is low levels of B12 can lead to fatigue and weakness. Restoring B12 levels to where they should be can result in a quick boost of energy to help you make it through the day.
And because vitamin B12 helps regulate levels of tryptophan – which in turn helps the body produce the sleep hormone melatonin – you can rest assured you’ll get a good night’s sleep after taking a B12 supplement.