Mineral deficiencies are more common than vitamin deficiencies, statistics shows that one in four adults deals with lack of vitamin B12.
In this article we will cover the symptoms and causes of vitamin B12 deficiency, plus you will get a few easy tips on how to regulate that.
Vitamin B12 is also known as the “energy” vitamin, for its ability to give you an energy boost, especially during workouts. This vitamin is also effective in promoting weight loss, and it is quite popular at medical weight loss clinics.
Vitamin B12 also plays an integral role in the formation of red blood cells, which take oxygen throughout the body. Oxygenated blood fills you up with energy and life!
Vitamin B12 is important for you
Here are some of the most significant functions of vitamin B12 in the body:
- Healthy nervous system
- Formation of red blood cells
- Iron absorption
- Proper digestion
- Nerve growth and formation
- Metabolism of fat and carbs
- Healthy reproductive system in women
Risk groups most prone to vitamin B12 deficiency
While there are various foods loaded with vitaminB12, sometimes this can’t maintain the optimal level of this vitamin in the body. Here are the most common high-risk groups, which should consider supplementing with vitamin B12 every day:
- Individuals aged 60 and above who don’t have sufficient stomach acid.
- Patients diagnosed with autoimmune disorders, like celiac or Crohn’s disease.
- Vegans and vegetarians who don’t consume animal products.
- Diabetics on Metformin – this medication affects vitamin B12 absorption.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
- Inability to keep your eyes open. This happens when your blood has inadequate oxygen and you can’t get the energy your body needs.
- Feeling numb and tingly. This is indicative of nerve damage occasioned by poor vitamin B12 levels.
- Memory loss, especially in individuals who are too young to develop age-related dementia.
- Feeling wobbly or dizzy, which is indicative of insufficient oxygen in the blood.
- Yellow skin as a result of red blood cell degradation. If you lack vitamin B12, your body cannot produce strong cells.
- Smooth tongue as result of losing some papillae “bumps.” The bumps help you recognize the taste. Hence, inability to recognize taste may be indicative of vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Feeling anxious and unhappy. Vitamin B12 is responsible for the production of “happy” brain chemicals – serotonin and dopamine.
- Blurry or double vision caused by optic nerve damage may also be indicative of low levels of vitamin B12 in your body.
Causes of vitamin 12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by numerous factors. Here, we give you the most common ones:
- Insufficient stomach acid, which the body needs to absorb vitamin B12.
- Nitrous oxide, commonly known as the laughing gas, can destroy vitamin B12 in the body.
- The H. pylori bacteria destroys stomach cells, which create the “intrinsic factor”, thereby undermining the absorption of vitamin B12.
- Gastric bypass weight loss surgery changes the digestive mechanisms, and this might affect the absorption of vitamin B12.
- Excessive intake of coffee reduces the amount of vitamin B12 in your body. However, scientists are yet to find why is this so.
Dietary sources of vitamin B12
Plants don’t produce vitamin B12, meaning that you can get the vitamin only from animal products and fortified foods. Examples include:
- Seafood – tuna, sardines, salmon, scallops, cod, shrimp
- Meat – goat, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, turkey
- Dairy – hard and soft cheese, cow’s milk, cottage cheese, yoghurt, cream cheese,
- Eggs – yolks contain all the vitamins and minerals
- Vegan sources – fortified coconut milk, nutritional yeast, or tempeh
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. It is found in products of animal origin. While it’s readily available, some people cannot absorb it effectively.
You should do your vitamin tests on a regular basis, and consult your doctor if you notice any of the aforementioned signs and symptoms.