What are vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms, and how to keep always on regular basis? B12 is an essential vitamin from the vitamin family also called B complex. It is a vitamin that participates in various processes throughout the body. It is the largest and most chemically complex vitamin.
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that maintains the health of nerves and blood cells and supports the production of DNA, the genetic material in all cells.
Vitamin B12 also prevents a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes you tired and weak.
Why do we need vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin. It is necessary for the development and maintenance of a healthy nervous system, the creation of DNA, and the formation of red blood cells.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can easily lead to a condition known as megaloblastic anemia. Unlike other B vitamins that can not be stored in the body, this vitamin can be stored.
If we take it daily, our body has the ability to store vitamin B12 in the liver. It can store it for more than a year, so a lack of this vitamin is rare.
Main features of vitamin B12 for the body:
- for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the brain
- in the production of red blood cells (erythrocytes)
- for the synthesis and regulation of DNA molecule
- in the metabolism of the synthesis of certain important fatty acids
- the process of energy production
- in helping, ie facilitating the absorption of folic acid (vitamin B9)
- for bone and skin health – prevention of osteoporosis
- to reduce the risk of macular degradation.
Main vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms
Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when the body does not get enough or cannot absorb the amount of vitamin it needs. Some people with B12 deficiency experience tingling in certain parts of the body.
They also have dizziness bad mood, and in severe cases can lead to anxiety and depression. As we age, our body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 slows down.
4 out of 100 women aged 40 to 59 suffer from a deficiency of this vitamin. And the number of those with the lower limit is even higher.
However, age is not the only reason for this. Avoiding meat, taking certain medications can be the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Drugs such as Metformin, which is often prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovaries.
Also, some antacids and even undergoing weight loss surgery increase your chances of suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency.
Symptoms that indicate a deficiency of this vitamin can range from intense tiredness to poor eyesight. Many people over the age of 50 lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food.
Therefore, it is recommended for them to take it through supplements. Risk groups include people who follow a strict vegetarian diet because the best source of B12 is meat.
The risk is especially high for vegans who do not consume animal products at all. Babies whose mothers are vegetarians may suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency.
Alcoholics are also a risk group and should be careful about their intake of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency is not uncommon.
It develops slowly, so the symptoms gradually increase in intensity.
When the body is severely deficient in vitamin B12, some of the symptoms are:
- Weakness, fatigue, lack of energy or dizziness;
- Diarrhea and constipation;
- Concentration problems;
- Rapid heart rate and rapid breathing;
- Inflamed tongue or bleeding gums;
- Pale and yellowish skin.
If left untreated, long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve cell damage. In such situations, it can also cause symptoms such as:
- Loss of balance;
- Confusion and serious memory problems;
- Numbness or tingling in the arms and legs.
4 main vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms
Deficiency of this vitamin, as we have already said, is not uncommon. Unfortunately, it can also lead to more serious and irreversible (irreversible) consequences, especially for the nervous system and the brain.
Even minor or minor deficiencies in this vitamin can cause certain symptoms, such as:
- Memory problems
- Chronic fatigue
However, unfortunately, the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency may not appear for years, and diagnosing the deficiency can be complex.
Additionally, cobalamin deficiency may be confused with vitamin B9 deficiency. Low levels of B12 also cause a drop in the level of vitamin B9 (folic acid).
However, if you have low B12 levels, “fixing” low folic acid levels can mask the problem.
Significant and specific symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency that you need to know:
1. Pale or yellowish skin
A consequence of reduced production of erythrocytes (megaloblastic anemia).
Possible symptoms of anemia – sudden unexpected weight loss, pale skin, menstrual problems, diarrhea, etc.
2. Chronic fatigue and weakness
Also due to reduced levels of red blood cells that carry oxygen.
Without oxygen, metabolic processes in energy-leading cells are hampered.
3. Tingling or chills
One of the more serious side effects that occur due to some degree of nerve damage.
Without cobalamin, the synthesis of myelin – a fatty acid that surrounds and protects nerve cells – is difficult.
These symptoms usually come with anemia, but one study found that up to 30% of patients with neurological symptoms had no signs of anemia.
However, it should be noted that this symptom is characteristic of a number of other conditions.
4. Disturbed or blurred vision
This occurs when the deficit remains untreated for a long time, leading to some damage to the optic (ocular) nerve.
This interferes with the signal that travels from the eyes to the brain, impairing good vision – a condition known as optic neuropathy.
Fortunately, some studies show that proper vitamin B12 supplementation can solve this problem.
Frequent mood swings – a number of studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to increased homocysteine levels, depression, and dementia.
Daily doses of vitamin B12
The required daily dose of vitamin B12 depends on age.
Teenagers and adults need the most B12 vitamins
2.4 micrograms (a physical unit of mass equal to one-millionth of a gram) per day.
The recommended daily doses of this vitamin vary by age and are as follows:
- Newborns (0-6 months) – 0.4μg;
- Newborns (7-12 months) – 0.5μg;
- Children (1-3 years) – 0.9μg;
- Kids (4-8 years) – 1.2μg;
- Children (9-13 years) – 1.8μg;
- Adolescents and adults (14 years and older) – 2.4μg;
- Pregnant women – 2.6μg;
- Breastfeeding – 2.8μg.
Foods to prevent vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms
Food of animal origin is a natural source of vitamin B12. But today many products, such as cereals, are enriched with this vitamin.
To get enough vitamin B12, it is recommended to consume:
- Mussels and crabs;
- Red meat (especially liver);
- Poultry meat;
- Milk and dairy products.
Beef liver and mussels are the best choices of vitamin B12. The biggest benefit of consuming beef liver is the very high content of vitamin B12.
Only 30 grams are enough to meet the average daily dose of this vitamin. Try to buy good quality liver, that is, from cattle that are fed organic food and that have grazed in the meadow.
Consumption of beef liver prevents anemia because in addition to vitamin B12 it is rich in iron and folate.
- 100 grams of lamb or liver contains 85.7 micrograms of vitamin B12.
- 100 grams of mussels contain 98.89 micrograms of vitamin B12.
Fish, meat, feathered animals, milk and dairy products, eggs also contain this vitamin. Wild salmon, therefore, those caught directly from the seas are one of the healthiest and richest sources of protein.
It is full of vitamins B12 and D which is also very often deficient in modern man.
Beefsteak – in 170 g there are even 13.18 micrograms of vitamin B12.
Eggs are an excellent non-meat source of vitamin B12.
They also contain choline which is necessary for our liver to function properly. One larger egg contains 0.56 micrograms of vitamin B12.
170 ml of milk contains 1.04 micrograms of vitamin B12, and the same amount is present in a cup of non-fat yogurt. If you are a vegetarian, then a good source of vitamin B12 is diet yeast.
It is usually fortified with vitamin B12 as well as other B-complex vitamins. Yeast also contains at least 9 of the 18 amino acids that the human body is unable to produce.
Vegetarians, especially vegans who do not even eat milk and eggs, can suffer from severe vitamin B12 deficiency. They must ensure their intake with the help of supplements.
Which people are at particular risk for vitamin B12 deficiency?
Deficiency of this important vitamin can occur in two ways: a diet that is not rich enough in vitamin B12 or certain problems that the body has with the absorption of cobalamin.
Deficiency can occur in anyone, and with increased risk, ie those who need to be especially careful are:
- Older people
- People with some type of gastrointestinal disorder, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease
- People who have had any gastrointestinal surgery
- Pregnant women and nursing mothers
- People who use metformin to control blood glucose
- Patients using medications (proton pumps) for the treatment of chronic acids
- People with a strict diet that excludes any animal products
The deficiency of this vitamin is not uncommon, especially in the categories of people mentioned earlier.
According to US statistics (the country with the best statistics in most areas), between 1.5 and 15% of the population has some degree of vitamin B12 deficiency.
The recommended daily amounts of this vitamin for adults are 2.4mcg and slightly more than this for breastfeeding and pregnant women, ie 2.8mcg and 2.6mcg, respectively.
Vitamin B12 overdose
It is difficult to “overdose” with vitamin B12. This is because the body has a mechanism that can easily excrete from our body.
However, those who intend to use any type of supplementation of this vitamin should consult their doctor (interactions of this vitamin with possible other medications that people use) are possible.
If you are in one of the above risk groups, and especially if you experience any of the symptoms of deficiency that we will list below, be sure to consult your doctor.
He or she may recommend an appropriate test to determine if and how much deficit you have, and accordingly, what you need to do.
Vitamin B12 supplements
There are several types of supplementation – oral (tablets), nasal spray, or injections.
For those who have a strict non-animal diet, it is good to use supplementation in consultation with your doctor.
Not all artificially synthesized B12 supplements are of animal origin, there are certain bacteria with the ability to synthesize the complex cobalamin molecule.
Vitamin B12 is extremely important for our body. It is responsible for the health of the nervous system and blood cells prevent anemia and more.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause depression, fatigue, memory loss, and other symptoms. Diet is an important prerequisite for storing vitamin B12.
Meat is the main source of vitamin B12, in addition to this vitamin is also found in fish, eggs, milk and dairy products, and other ingredients.
In any case, vitamin 12 is important for our body and we need to take it into our body every day.