Vitamin deficiencies are not as widely spread as mineral deficiencies, but statistics say that one in four adult people is deficient in vitamin B12. Learn about the causes and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, as well as the measures you should take to avoid it.
Vitamin B12 Profile
B12 is widely-known as a vitamin that boosts the energy levels, very efficient when you need extra energy – during workout sessions or to prevent you from experiencing afternoon fatigues.
This vitamin is also popular for its ability to facilitate weight loss and is used as a part of the most famous weight loss clinical programs.
The rising popularity of B12 vitamin has led to a significant increase as the number of sold B12-infused injections. Health spas and clinics sell these injections online at lower prices, hoping to attract as many new customers as possible to their facilities.
In fact, vitamin B12 does not contain energy at all. However, it is very important in the creation of red blood cells that distribute oxygen to the whole organ system. Oxygen is vital for proper functioning within the body and the more oxygen you get, the more energetic you feel!
This is the reason why people suffering from anemia and chronic fatigue feel much more energetic after a dosage of vitamin B12.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
Besides for the formation of red blood cells, doctors say that vitamin B12 is vital to the regulation of many other important body functions, such as:
- Healthy nervous system, formation and development of nerve’s
- production of the adrenal hormone
- normal circulation
- aiding digestion
- efficient iron absorption
- enhanced metabolic functions
- reproductive organ’s health in women.
Who Can Get Vitamin B12 Deficient?
There are many foods rich in vitamin B12, but in some cases, they are not enough to prevent the deficiency of this vitamin. That is why the following categories of people, which are at a highest risk for deficiency, should take B12 supplements regularly.
-- People older than 60. Their bodies don’t produce enough stomach acid.
-- Vegans and vegetarians, because they don’t consume meat and other animal products rich in vitamin B12.
-- People with diabetes whose therapy includes metformin. This drug inhibits the absorption of B12.
-- people suffering from any kind of autoimmune disorder, for example, Crohn’s disease or celiac disease.
Symptoms That IndicateB12 Deficiency
-- If you constantly feel tired and struggle to stay awake, the amount of oxygen into your body might not be sufficient to keep the energy levels high.
-- Another sign of lowered oxygen levels is the constant feeling of weakness and dizziness.
-- If you feel numbness or often have “goose bumps,” it could mean your nervous system is damaged due to decreased levels of B12.
-- Frequent memory loss in young people who are not in the group at risk from age-related memory problems, might be B12 deficient.
-- B12 deficiency causes the body to produce fewer red blood cells as well as red blood cell’s degeneration. When these cells degenerate, they release a yellow pigment and this can result in a yellowish skin.
-- If your food tastes bland, you might have B12 deficiency, resulting in a smooth tongue, i.e. your tongue has lost some of the taste buds (pappilae).(papilae).
-- The feelings of irrational sadness and anxiety may be indicating a lack of B12 vitamin. This vitamin is vital for the production of dopamine and serotonin, two chemicals that are responsible for the feeling of happiness.
-- Decreased levels of B12 can result in optic nerve damage. This can manifest in various eye and vision problems, including seeing shadows, spots, double or blurred vision.
What Causes B12 Deficiency?
The importance of this critical vitamin is often underestimated. Various causes can lead to B12 deficiency and the following is just a part of a longer list:
- An antacid, a substance which neutralizes stomach acidity, inhibits the absorption of vitamin B12. This vitamin actually needs the above mentioned stomach acidity in order to be assimilated into the body.
- Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, or nitro, “kills” the B12 vitamin reserves stored in your body.
- H. pylori bacteria grow in the digestive tract and attack the stomach lining, destroying the parietal cells that produce the gastric intrinsic factor. Gastric intrinsic factor is a type of protein necessary to the absorption of B12 vitamin.
- Gastric bypass surgery, usually performed for weight loss, obstructs the digestive mechanisms and alters the absorption of B12.
- Passionate coffee consumers, who drink more than 4 cups of coffee a day, tend to have lower levels of all B vitamins in the body (15% less than people who don’t drink coffee). This is a fact, but the reason why is not yet known.
Foods That Are Natural Sources of B12
Vitamin B12 cannot be found in plants. They don’t need it and thus, they don’t produce it. This vitamin can be found in animal products or fortified foods. Here is a list of some of the vitamin B12 richest foods:
- Meat –find it in pork, beef, lamb, goat, chicken, or turkey;
- Fish and seafood – consume salmon, tuna, sardines, cod, scallops or shrimps;
- Dairy -- try raw cow’s milk, cheeses (hard, soft, and creamy), or yogurt; Eggs –besides B12, the yolks are packed with other vitamins and minerals;
- Vegan foods -- use fortified coconut milk, tempeh floor, or nutritional yeast;
- If food isn’t enough to maintain sufficient levels of B12 vitamin due to inadequate absorption or malnutrition, use supplements.
Vitamin B12 Sum Up
Vitamin B12 is a vitamin soluble in water that can be found in animal products, such as meat, dairy, and eggs. However, even though this vitamin is widely available, some people are unable to absorb it efficiently. Informing yourself about the causes and symptoms of B12 deficiency, such as fatigue, numbness, and memory loss, followed by regular testing and doctor’s consultations, will keep you in good health.