B12 Deficit and What It Does to Our Body

Vitamin deficiency is not a good thing to happen when it comes to any separate element. However, lack of B12 may pose even more problems due to the fact it is not produced by our bodies and can be obtained from external sources only, in this case food. And, as B12 is a part of certain crucial processes of our organisms, it is vital for everyone to maintain its healthy level.

Vitamin deficiency is not a good thing to happen when it comes to any separate element. However, lack of B12 may pose even more problems due to the fact it is not produced by our bodies and can be obtained from external sources only, in this case food. And, as B12 is a part of certain crucial processes of our organisms, it is vital for everyone to maintain its healthy level.

Vitamin B12 is responsible for making red blood cells, nerves and DNA, thereby actively participating in our whole body proper creation.

Moreover, it plays active part in reduction of a chemical called homocysteine that, if not metabolized properly, may cause intoxication and inflammation. According to Harvard Health, an adult should consume as much as 2.4 micrograms of B12 every day. At the same time, a lot of people don’t’ get this amount of vitamin with their daily menus and supplements, especially older ones.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 3.2% of adults over age 50 have an alarmingly low B12 level, with about 20% likely to have a borderline deficiency.

In case of deficit of B12 people develop such conditions as anemia (disfunction of red blood cells due to lack of their quantity in a body), increased risk of strokes (especially among youngsters) and heart failures, thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis, depression, paranoia, loss of taste and/or smell, delusions, memory loss etc.

Sympthoms

Among other symptoms are fatigue, balance issues resulting into walking problems, weird sensations in one’s limbs (tickling, numbness), jaundice (yellowed skin), and an inflamed tongue. While these consequences look scary, first stages of these conditions allow doctors to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency timely in order to provide necessary treatment and get one’s body state back to normal.

Another challenge B12 poses is that it is nor produced by our bodies, nor can be found anywhere but animal food and special food supplements. It puts into risk the following categories of people who are

  • Strict vegetarians/vegans;
  • Pregnant;
  • Over 50 years old;
  • Have recently had weight-loss surgery;
  • Have a condition that prevents proper B12 absorption (e.g., celiac or Crohn’s disease);
  • Take drugs that interfere with B12 absorption (like metformin, Nexium, Prevacid, Pepcid, Zantac etc).

What to Do?

Thus, normally B12 deficit can be prevented by balanced menu that includes dairy products, meat, eggs and poultry and regular checks and supplements for vegetarian and vegans.

Also, elderly people are recommended to pay special attention to their B12 level and take an extra vitamin supplement. And while the condition may be overlooked because of significant diversity of symptoms that can easily be confused with some other health issue, a simple blood test is the easiest and most effective way to determine whether B12 level is the reason of certain problems or not.

What’s also important to attend is that the Internet is currently flooded with speculations regarding B12 alleged role in preventing Alzheimer’s, heart diseases, chronic fatigue, eczema, reverse infertility and other issues. As Harvard Health blog states, there’s no enough evidence to support these claims, with any possible scientific proof being faulty or poor at this research stage.

So, as it appears, one of the trickiest things in B12 deficit is that it is quite slow to develop and, therefore, may come unexpected to some people. However, here lies its benefit, as it is perfectly possible to prevent by regular checks of your B12 level.

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