Nutrient neophyte


I went to student health and they suggested a shot of B12. What happened to me at college, I never needed this before?

Everyone asks the same alarming question, what changed when I got to college? Just look around to understand the answer. You have the stress of school work, lack of home cooking and sleep habits of an owl. Students do not believe that these will have any impact on their physical well-being. It takes a wake-up call in terms of weight gain, lack of energy and inability to concentrate. Basically, you learn that you are no longer a teenager and you must actually take care of yourself. We did some research on the most common aliments affecting students.

When getting caught up in hectic class schedules, studying, socializing and sports, students often forget that their bodies need energy. While attending college, a healthy diet falls to a low priority for most students. This leads to nutrient deficiency which can lead to more severe health ailments if not rectified.

Some of the reasons why student diets are so poor include eating whatever is convenient, cheap and fast. During weekends, junk food rules. Limited access to healthful food, changes in lifestyle, peer pressure, and lack of finances all contribute to poorer eating habits amongst college students.

One remedy for nutrient deficiency is vitamin supplements, though a well-balanced diet is far better. According to research, almost 60% of college students use vitamin supplements at least once a week. Around the same percentage of students are nutrient deficient, primarily in Zinc, Calcium and mostly in Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is water soluble which means it needs to be consumed every day. The liver can store it for short periods of time, but long-term abuse of poor eating habits will deplete stores of B12 in your system. It is present in beef, pork, lamb, seafood, milk, eggs, etc., but not in fast food or microwave snacks that students live on.

What can students readily do to increase vitamin B12? There are two forms of supplement: oral pills and injections. Vitamin supplement pills are the best choice for most students, but they need to be taken once a day while an injection is weekly. Vegans and vegetarians are getting virtually no B12 in their diet so should opt for the injections from Student Health.

Failing to increase your vitamin B12 levels could have detrimental effects on your health and wellness and result in the following symptoms: tiredness, light-headedness, rapid heartbeat, pale skin, easy bruising and bowel problems. Your family dentist may be the first to diagnose your problem from these symptoms: burning sensations in the mouth and on the tongue, difficulty swallowing, and pale tissues in the mouth. Long-term effects are even worse as vitamin B12 is responsible for maintaining the nervous system.

It is childish to eat primarily or only to please your tongue…
Mokokoma Mokhonoana.

Written by Nadeem Ghori, President of Webplex, a digital analytics agency.

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