The new year often brings resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle – and in particular, to lose all those extra pounds we’ve gained. But losing that weight and maintaining a new healthier lifestyle is an ongoing journey, and it’s essential to begin with a clean slate — like knowing your numbers, including your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index, and cholesterol.
“The best way to kick off your new year plans, particularly if losing weight has proven difficult in the past, is also to know if you have a B12 deficiency,” said board-certified Dr. Ana Philipsen, Acupuncturist, and Master of Oriental Chinese Medicine.
“It’s a common health problem that’s often overlooked and can have serious consequences,” she said.
A Vitamin B12 deficiency affects an estimated 6 to 20 percent of our population. It has been associated with everything from brain fog, cognitive decline, and heart disease to learning disabilities, infertility, and autoimmune disease.
“When you don’t have enough B12, it can affect almost every part of the body,” said Dr. Philipsen. It’s an essential nutrient necessary in the proper functioning of blood cells, nerves, and many other critical processes in the body.
B12 works by converting the food we eat into sugar and other types of fuel that keep the body running smoothly. B12 is often associated with weight loss because of its ability to boost metabolism and provide lasting energy. Another name for B12 is Cobalamin.
Lack of it can lead to long-term weight control problems when the body’s natural balance is disrupted — it typically can slow down your metabolism, conserve fat stores, and burn fewer calories throughout the day.
B12 is found only in foods from animal sources. So, if you’re looking to boost the amount of Vitamin B12 in your diet, you should eat more foods that contain it, such as beef, liver, and chicken; fish and shellfish such as trout, salmon, tuna fish, and clams; fortified breakfast cereal; low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese and eggs. In some cases, to help raise your B12 levels, doctors often recommend adding vitamin supplements.
“My focus is on preventive medicine and keeping my patients healthy rather than treating them once they become ill,” said Dr. Philipsen.
As a Master of Oriental Chinese Medicine, Dr. Philipsen aims to restore the body’s balance and harmony by using preventative measures. It is based on the belief that qi (the body’s vital energy) flows along meridians (channels) in the body and keeps a person’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health in balance.
Oriental medicine addresses the root cause of diseases, whereas Western medicine addresses the symptoms. Dr. Philipsen’s practice promotes acupuncture, cupping, diet, herbal therapy, meditation, physical exercise, and massage.
To help with weight loss, Dr. Philipsen also mentioned the importance of essential amino acids.
“Amino acid supplements offer a lot of benefits for specific groups of people,” she said. “They are very important for your immune system and considered the building blocks of proteins for your body. Amino acids improve your memory, prevent migraines — and can also help with insomnia.”
Amino acids also help break down food, grow and repair body tissue, regenerate hormones and brain chemicals, provide an energy source, maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails, build muscle, boost your immune system and sustain your digestive system.
For more information about amino acid supplements or have symptoms of B12 deficiency, or are having problems losing weight, contact Dr. Ana Philipsen at Meimei Family Acupuncture, 620 W Jefferson St Brooksville FL 34601. Telephone: 352.835.1608.
Dr. Ana Philipsen is NCCAOM board certified, and Florida State licensed. She graduated from Florida College of Integrative Medicine and has a B. Sc., in Professional Health Studies and an M.Sc., in Oriental Chinese Medicine. She also graduated from the Federal University of Paraiba, Brazil, where she received her Medical Doctor degree.
Content in this health-related edition is for informational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding a medical condition.