Are you taking little or no natural vitamin food sources like meat, fruits, and vegetables? Are you a vegetarian who doesn’t eat enough eggs or dairy products? Or are you a staunch alcoholic? If this is the case, then take fast precaution to change for the better because you risk suffering a severe Vitamin B12 deficiency. This deficiency leads to anemia in the body since the reduction in vitamins results in a decrease in production of sufficient amount of red blood cells required by the body. However, this deficiency can be controlled and prevented if one ensures few changes in diet and lifestyle.
Some Causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency
Excessive drinking of alcohol
Using acid-reducing drugs for a long time
Immune system disorders like lupus
Suffering from intestinal problems
Not taking meals rich in vitamin B12 mineral
Signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency
Lack of Vitamin B12 in the body comes with a number of signs and symptoms which don’t occur overnight, instead take time to develop. Few of these symptoms are listed below.
1. Fatigue – this is because the body lacks enough energy and this is due to inability to produce enough red blood cells required to transport oxygen to the body cells for energy production through respiration.
2. General body weakness – for continuous metabolism to take place there must be enough oxygen in the body cells for the continued supply of energy. Also, lack of balance and reduced muscle strength may indicate the deficiency of vitamin B12.
3. Irregular patterns of heart beat and shortened breathe – it is caused by the increased demand of oxygen by the body yet there are few red blood cells to transport this oxygen to the body cells, so the body adjusts itself by increasing the breaths and making them shorter.
4. Swollen tongue, smooth tongue or a decreased sense of taste – this is mainly due to the loss of the little bumps on the tongue that give it the pink color. Your tongue may also feel very painful, or you may feel a burning sensation.
5. Jaundice – this is the condition which is characterized by the yellowness of the eyes, urine and the skin this is due to the reduction of the red blood cells produced in the body.
6. Nervous problems like tingling and numbness in the hands and feet – this sign is because vitamins are essential in formation and development of the brain and the nerve cells.
7. Weight loss – when vitamin B12content reduces or is deficient, the absorption rate of food in the body also reduces.
8. Dizziness – this is because there is little energy available to support all the metabolic functions of the body at the same time.
9. Mental problems like difficulty in thinking and memory loss – since vitamin B12 is responsible for the formation and development of brain cells when it is less supply in the body, then the brains deteriorates in its functions.
10. Hallucinations and paranoia – this is rampant in old age people especially above 60 years due to the decrease in neurotic functions without any boost by the vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 also helps by increasing use of follicle acid which increases brain health and increases memory.
11. Diarrhea, constipation and loss of appetite – vitamin B12 helps the gastrointestinal functions.
12. Vision loss – degenerative changes caused by lack of or deficiency of the vitamin B12 which is responsible for formation of nerve cells affects the optic nerve which is responsible for sight.
When and who is at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency
An expectant mother is advised to take a lot of foods containing vitamin B12 mineral. Vitamin B12 is helpful in the formation of brain cells of the baby; it improves the immune system and increases production of red blood cells.
If one is having intestinal problems, they significantly affect the absorption of vitamins and especially the B12 vitamin.
Being under a particular medication or prescription especially anti acid drugs especially those used to treat type 2 diabetes interfere greatly with the absorption of vitamin B12.
When one is alcoholic, alcohol inhibits absorption of vitamins where vitamin B12 falls in this category. Also, vitamin B12 mineral is stored in the liver where alcohol greatly affects.
When one lacks the intrinsic factor, which may be inherited condition. This intrinsic factor is a protein secreted by the stomach which is responsible for vitamin B12 absorption.
Sources of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 has a broad range of its sources. Mostly plant products have no content of vitamin B12. It is commonly found in animal products like meat, eggs, fish (especially haddock and tuna). Some nutritional yeast products also contain this. It’s also found in milk and its by-products like cheese and yogurt.
Since vegetarians don’t take most if not all animal products, some soya milk, and breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B12.
Prevention of Vitamin B12 deficiency
Not all diseases that people suffer from are hereditary or out of control, some of these conditions like vitamin B12 deficiency are 95% human fault. The most efficient way to prevent this disease is by taking a well-balanced diet which is rich in foods mentioned above as the sources of the vitamin B12. If unfortunately you have a condition that limits a proper nutrient absorption in the body, or you don’t take animal products then experts recommend that you take a breakfast which contains fortified cereals with vitamin B12.
Treatment of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
People with severe anaemia are treated with high doses of medicine and therapy of life.
Most diseases people suffer from today are basically from our lifestyles. It’s not that we don’t know to prevent them it’s only that we are oblivious of these diseases. Just like the adage goes “prevention is better than cure,” let us take a step towards a healthy life.