Do you have enough Vitamin B12 in your body? Make sure you have enough Vitamin B12 in the body to stay healthy. Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in the body. It plays an essential role in the formation of blood, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA. However, our bodies do not make vitamin B12 but we can get it from animal-based foods or from supplements.
What Is Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a type of vitamin B known as Cobalamine. It is also known as water-soluble vitamin means it is soluble in water. It flows into the bloodstream. Vitamin B12 is essential for-
- Red blood cell formation carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
- Helps in DNA synthesis.
- A healthy nervous system.
- Vitamin B12 is also required for the development of myelination.
- Vitamin B12 is a cofactor for two enzymes methionine synthetase and L-methylmalonyl-CoA mutase.
- Vitamin B12 is bound to protein in food and must be released before it is absorbed.
Poultry, meat, fish and dairy products are the fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamin B12 is also included in oral supplements. Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in many countries. Plants don’t contain vitamin B12. Hence people who follow a vegetarian diet must be prone to deficiency.
What Are The Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause physiological, neurological and psychological symptoms. A low level of vitamin B12 can cause a range of symptoms including:
There are general physical symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Mouth ulcer: Having a sore mouth or tongue
- Having yellowish skin
- Weight Loss
Some neurological symptoms are:
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers and toes.
- Vision problems
- Difficult to remember things or get confused easily
- Having a difficult time walking or speaking like you usually do.
- If neurological problems develop from vitamin B12 deficiency, they may not be reversible.
There are some psychological symptoms which include:
- Feeling depressed
- Feeling irritable
- Patients can express a change in their feel and behaviour.
What Are The Causes Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
People may suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency if they don’t take enough vitamin B12 in their diet and their body does not absorb vitamin B12. Below are some causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency:
Pernicious anaemia is a type of anaemia. It is thought to mainly be caused by an autoimmune process that makes a person unable to produce a substance in the stomach called intrinsic factor 9a protein made by the stomach). Pernicious anaemia occurs when the human body does not absorb enough vitamin B12 in the small intestine causing a drop in red blood cells.
Intrinsic factor is a protein required for vitamin B12 absorption by the body. If a person has pernicious anaemia the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks these cells, preventing intrinsic factors from combining with vitamin B12 and happening its absorption.
It is inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastric is a common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency. If a person has a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. then it can cause Gastritis. Hydrochloric acid is needed for vitamin B12 absorption.
Lack of vitamin B12 in the diet:
If a person does not get vitamin B12-rich food or does not take fortified food then they can suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency.
If a person has gastrointestinal surgery or a person go through bypass surgery the removal of parts of the stomach or end of the small intestine may prevent adequate absorption of vitamin B12.
Some diseases like Crohn’s disease and celiac disease can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B12. These disease causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract and can prevent your body to absorb vitamin B12.
Alcohol Use Disorder:
Regular use of alcohol can damage the digestive tract of the human body and leads to vitamin B12 deficiency disorder.
It is a rare genetic disorder that impairs the transport of vitamin B12.
How Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency Diagnosed
It can be difficult to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency because symptoms are not always the same. Doctors diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency on the basis of medical history. Patients are advised by the doctors following laboratory tests to confirm the vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Levels of iron and folate
- Methylmalonic acid and level
- Level of red blood cells and their appearance
- Intrinsic factors and antibodies
How Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency Treated
Doctors advise the patient to take supplements of vitamin B12 and vitamin B12-rich food. Treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency depends on the cause of the vitamin B12 deficiency. Sometimes physicians also advise taking vitamin B12 therapy to rest their life.
However vitamin B12 is needed to help to prevent chronic diseases and neutral tube defects but more research is needed, especially in the area of nutritional genomics, to determine how vitamin B12 enhances the benefits of folic acid. In addition to the currently mandated fortification of cereals with folic acid, the potential value of fortifying foods with vitamin B12 should be considered.
Disclaimer: All the content of this article is for information purposes only.