Vitamin B is among the most common deficiencies in the western world, so to some, it can seem like an energy panacea, easing frazzled nerves, improving sleep, and invigorating your days. Many diseases and medications can reduce absorption of B12, and folic acid levels tend to decline during pregnancy. Symptoms of deficiency can be hard to pin down, so if you’re a high-risk patient, a blood test is in order. The Stress Cure Vitamin B is known as the stress vitamin because a severe deficiency can permanently damage the nervous system. Neurological symptoms like cognitive decline and numbness are equally common in those who have a deficit. Since fortified foods we eat everyday often contain vitamin B12, deficiencies are usually the result of malabsorption and illness. Pernicious Anemia When anemia extinguishes your ability to absorb B12, the symptoms are often endured for years because they appear so gradually. If you’re suffering from nausea, bloating, and unexplained weight loss, you may need a supplement. Brain Power Up to 90% of vegans have a vitamin B12 deficiency, which can make itself known through memory lapses and cloudy cognition. Reduced levels are often found in neurological disorders. A supplement can reduce numbness, fuzzy thinking, and balance problems. Healthy Babies Your prenatal health relies on having an adequate intake of B12. The health of your baby can be severely affected, with neural tube defects being the most common consequence. Doctors tend to prescribe this vitamin routinely in pregnant patients—and for excellent reasons. Intestinal Problems Malabsorption of B vitamins makes itself known through the stomach and intestines. Supplementation can relieve gastritis and other gastrointestinal effects. One in four U.S. adults have a B12 deficiency. Your doctor can order blood tests based on your symptoms. The problem is usually easy to cure, so take your symptoms seriously.