We all know that having an eating disorder is no “walk in the park” for our bodies. Every time we starve ourselves, uncontrollably stuff food in our mouths, and stick a finger down our throats; we are inflicting some form of bodily harm on ourselves. We’re hurting the one muscle that gives us life – our hearts. We’re destroying our stomach and throat. We’re wrecking the bones that give us our very structure! But what so many people don’t realize, (sometimes even DOCTORS neglect this), is a certain type of devastation that is silently occurring inside you. With each passing day, you may feel a little bit more fatigued, your lungs may begin to feel like they are constantly deprived of oxygen, and you may even notice a slight tingling sensation in your extremities. Odds are, you would probably just ignore these seemingly innocent warning signs and continue on with your daily life. But what you don’t know is these very symptoms are the symptoms of a merciless and sometimes even fatal disease caused by something that is very fixable – a vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Vitamin B-12 (which is only found in animal products) plays a crucial role in our well-being. Its vital jobs include converting folate coenzymes into the forms needed to complete metabolic reactions (like the synthesis of DNA) and keeping the myelin sheaths that insulate neurons up and running. When one is deficient in B-12, this results in the cells becoming unable to conduct the reactions where folate is required and also causes the destruction of the myelin sheaths, ultimately resulting in paralysis and even death. Since individuals with eating disorders undergo times of severe starvation and sometimes ban animal products from entering their bodies, a B-12 deficiency is extremely likely to occur. Slowly and innocently, the tell-tale symptoms of a deficiency will appear. These symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, mouth sores, weight-loss, menstrual issues, tingling or odd sensations in the extremities, sporadic diarrhea, random mood swings, and even confusion.
If you notice any of these notorious symptoms begin to manifest, I urge you to go to your doctor and ask for a blood test in order to check your B-12 levels. B-12 deficiency is treatable, but if you refuse to go to the doctor and get treatment, some of its effects can be permanent and even deadly. I know that for a lot of individuals with eating disorders, going to an MD is a terrifying prospect. But do you really want to continue to suffer? Do you really want your life to be cut short? No, you don’t because every single person on this earth was put here for a reason and YOU DESERVE TO BE HEALTHY. So get on your phone and make an appointment. It’s time you do something for you, not your eating disorder.
To learn more about B-12 deficiency and its devastating effects, please watch the documentary I attached to this post.