Monday, February 26, 2018

Dear Creatives: Take Your Frickin' B12.

Thank you, Internet, for creating non-funny memes that gently remind us to drink water. Or to take our meds. Thank you to those little to-do lists that encourage us to take a shower or eat something if we're feeling off kilter. As much harm as the web can do with bullying and misinformation, it's also a fabulous way to send each other kindly reminders to look after ourselves.

That said, I'd like to throw one more reminder on the heap, if we can all handle it.

Take. Your. Damn. Vitamin. B12.

I know a lot of people in my circles already do, and some even get injections, it's so low. Personally, I have a natural deficiency, combined with the fact that my seizure meds strip what little I get. So I have to take a bunch. But considering how easy it can be to forget to take your prescriptions without little mnemonics and which bottle's facing which way on your nightstand, it can be a nightmare to remember vitamins.

And considering just how much B12 benefits your brainmeats, I think all of us -- myself included -- need this yelled at us a little more often.

What's the Big Deal About Vitamin B12

B12 is a big hecking deal. It helps brain function, red blood cell production, and nerve function. Basically if you want to feel like a walking, awake human, you need it.

But as you get older, you become less able to absorb it. Some people (like me) are also naturally B12 deficient, and others don't get it via food either because they avoid meat and dairy or because their meds strip it out (the latter is also me).

When you have a B12 deficiency, you're going to be exhausted, want lots of naps, and have trouble thinking clearly. Vitamins and injections can help that.

On the flip side, those symptoms don't necessarily mean that you're B12 deficient and nothing else. There's plenty that can cause exhaustion and make you feel inert. So no, I'm not saying if you increase your B12 intake you will be magically cured of something else. And if anyone else ever tells you that, they're full of shit.

But if you have a deficiency like I do, taking that daily dose honestly can be the difference between your afternoon being a three-hour-nap or actually doing what you want to do.

Why Isn't It Working?

So here's something nice and stupid: B12 tablets, caps, and chewables really tend to not work. Like. At all. If they work for you then congratulations, you are one of the lucky few.

But after obsessively taking B12 to no avail, I discovered from multiple doctors that there's really only two ways to make sure it's getting into your system: sublingual drops or regular injections. Everything else is just... kinda balls.

Injections tend to only be for extreme cases, and needles are gross, so don't go do that unless your doctor makes you. But if you are having trouble with your dosage, I recommend going out and getting a bottle of the drops. Brand doesn't really matter (I've used brand name and several generics with equal success), and it'll last you a fair bit of time. Squeeze the vitamin liquid under your tongue, hold it there for about 30 seconds, then swallow. Boom, done.

Can You Overdose?

You can... try?

Right now, there is no maximum dosage set for Vitamin B12 on its own (administered with B5 or B6, there are different issues). I read somewhere that you'd have to take 10,000 injections within one day to even approach an overdose, and if you do that you've got way weirder problems to address first.

You'll notice that brand-name 5-Hour Energy drinks, if you look at the label, are loaded to hell and back with B12. The reason being, we only absorb a very small percentage of what we ingest. So if you're deficient, sometimes you will be prescribed a ludicrous amount, just so enough gets through.

Obviously this is not me telling you to down 16 bottles of that shit and chug liquid vitamins. But what I am saying is that if a doctor prescribes you a ludicrous sounding amount, or you get the sublingual liquid and you see it saying 2,000% RDA or something, that's not a mistake or a misprint. It really can be prescribed and taken pretty freaking high.

Again, always check with a doctor first.

But It's Just One Vitamin

Yea, the whole B12 scenario is actually pretty unfair. Forget one dropper of liquid and your entire metabolism is borked for the entire day? That sounds like some shit. But it's also true for a lot of people.

The days I remember to take mine vs. the days I don't are extremely different, just across the board. It's a little unnerving, but it's also really good to have your metabolism in check. And if you're a creator, likely already suffering from a lot of stress and weird deadlines, remembering that one dropper can change the course of your entire day.

So yeah, please do add that to your Post-Its. Drink water. Get a little sunlight. Eat if you haven't eaten in a while. And go get your freakin' B12.

Shoot I should do that.


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