Vitamin B12 is an essential building block for the body to operate at peak performance. Especially when it comes to children, this vitamin plays a critical role in their proper growth and development.
Vitamin B12 is a required element in the synthesis and regulation of DNA, which is found in every cell in the body. It also prevents DNA damage from occurring, which could result in the release of free radicals that spur chronic illness and diseases in the future.
Proper nervous function
Tasked with keeping nerve cells healthy, B12 plays an important part in a child’s growth. It aids in tasks related to memory and vision.
It’s clear that Vitamin B12 is important in a child’s development. However, due to the modern diet and fast-paced nature of our culture, it can be difficult to ensure that our children are receiving adequate levels of vitamin B12 each day. Unlike some other things, the body does not produce vitamin B12 on its own. We get it from our diet.
For children, becoming deficient in vitamin B12 can cause a whole host of problems such as:
- Lack of appetite
- Delay in growth
- Developmental delay or even regression
- Tingling or burning sensation (in extremities)
- Reduced tactile sensation
- Lack of muscle control
- Involuntary movements
- Concentration problems
- Memory disorders
- Personality changes
- Low white blood cell count
- Thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count)
- Diarrhea and/or intestinal symptoms
Many parents are now asking what they can do to help treat their child’s Vitamin B12 deficiency naturally. It is important to note that a child’s daily needs are vastly different than that of an adult. It is highly recommended to approach this process under medical guidance.
With that in mind, let’s look at some ways parents are utilizing to ensure that their children get to optimal levels of vitamin B12.
While not the most appetizing option for children, it does provide one of the highest concentrations of B12 of any other food group. In fact, just 100 grams can provide more than 3,500% of the Daily Value for an adult. There are several posts on Pinterest demonstrating how parents have disguised organ meats in their child’s meals with positive results. For those with children that don’t mind swallowing pills, there are several companies that are now offering organ meats in a vegetable capsule.
Many parents start by increasing their children’s intake of dairy. Already a part of many’s regular diets, it’s the “low hanging fruit” option. While milk, cheeses, and yogurts may contain a lesser concentration of B12 than other sources, they have one major advantage. Based on research, the B12 found in dairy is easily absorbed.
Nutritional yeast & fortified cereals
Fortified nutritional yeast provides a great way to add B12 to snacks and meals with very little fuss. Cereals fortified with Vitamin B12 are a part of a breakfast rotation many children will find familiar. The combination of increased dairy and the use of fortified cereals is usually enough to bridge the gap of most mild B12 deficiencies.
Vitamin B12 in the form of pills is readily available at any grocery store or pharmacy. The downside is that they are historically difficult for the body to absorb and assimilate. The reason for this is that most supplements contain a synthetic form of B12, Cyanocobalamin, that is not ready to be used in its present form. Most children who are already suffering from a B12 deficiency lack the other ingredients needed to convert Cyanocobalamin into something their body can use.
One of the most effective ways of increasing Vitamin B12 levels is via a booster shot. This is especially effective when B12 levels may be at extremely low levels, and an immediate turnaround is required. An important point that sets this and IV therapy apart from traditional oral supplements is that the B12 being utilized is in a ready-to-use form called Methylcobalamin.
In regards to B12 delivery, IV therapy is considered by many to be the most effective. Intravenous delivery ensures 100% bioavailability of the material being given. As long as your child has the patience to sit for a prolonged period of time, a B12 infusion may be a powerful tool. Some parents have been able to accomplish this by bribing their children with screen time as they receive treatment.
Many parents have found success utilizing a combination of the above methods in addressing their child’s B12 deficiency. However, before pursuing any of them, we recommend consulting a medical professional at their office or arranging an in-home consultation to determine a personalized course of action.