NANAIMO – “I have no energy, Dr. Yim,” Patti told me. I had been seeing her as a primary care provider for almost 20 years and this was the first time that I heard those words from her. Normally she was very active, working out regularly and eating a healthy diet.
“What’s changed?” I asked.
“I guess the biggest change is that at work we’re going through a leadership transition. Our boss retired a little over a year ago and now I’m carrying the brunt of her work until they find someone to fill her shoes. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed I’m so tired.”
I knew that two years before this her mother had passed away, they had been close, and it had hit Patti hard.
After sending her to the lab with a requisition for some blood work, the results came back that she was low in vitamin B12. We schedule her for a series of injections with the clinic nurse, one a week for 4 weeks and then one a month until her blood levels came up to where they should be.
Patti was suffering from deficiencies magnified by stress. And although there is good and bad stress, Patti’s body was saying, enough!
Stress in the workplace, negative and positive, is not a new issue, it’s been inspiring and overwhelming workers since there were deadlines to reach and projects to complete. In many ways, our body and mind crave stress and the edge it brings to whatever we are working on, but chronic stress, the type that keeps us on a fight/flight roller coaster can have potentially unpleasant side effects.
When the body deals with stress, it does so with the help of specific nutrients and hormones. Use up what your body stores or synthesizes and tax vital systems and the impact can have you feeling tired, anemic, unmotivated and in some cases can lead to depression.
When it comes to stress, B vitamins are critically important, playing different roles in helping the body work efficiently. Some roles include energy metabolism, tissue synthesis, biochemical reactions, and proper neurological functioning
In recent studies, research has shown the role B vitamins play in the synthesis and regulation of dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters that help you feel good and in boosting memory and concentration.
For Patti, the B Complex and B12 injections were a life saver helping her navigate work and home stress. After a two-month regime, she came into the office with her usual quick step and cheery disposition.
“I started feeling better at week three,” she said. “I even noticed I was sleeping better.”
Although stress is hard to avoid, it doesn’t have to slow you down. Supplementing your diet with B Vitamins may help you navigate work and our present-day world to keep you going until we get to that ‘new normal’.