Vitamin B12 deficiency is a condition also referred to as ‘Hypocobalaminemia’ which simply means low level of Vitamin B12 in the blood. In order for you to stay and live healthy, vitamin B12 is not an option for you; it is a compulsory food nutrient you must strive to get enough of it. Vitamin B12 benefits you in numerous ways; ranging from helping in making your DNA and red blood cells; digestion; boosting energy level; improving your heart, memory, hair and skin health to helping you maintain healthy cardiovascular and nervous systems amongst many other benefits.
However, just as many other vitamins, your body can not synthesize this vitamin B12 by itself. You have to play an active role of getting your body enough vitamin B12 it needs. This, you can do by eating foods rich in vitamin B12, or taking enough vitamin B12 supplements. But I also have to tell you; this singular act of getting your body enough vitamin B12, of course, have to be something you do on a regular basis because your body not only is unable to produce vitamin B12, it is also unable to store it for a long period of time. So, it’s time for you to wake up and get into work.
Food Sources of Vitamin B12
Now that you know it is your sole responsibility to stock your body with vitamin B12, then it is important that you know few sources of this vitamin; Vitamin B12 can be gotten naturally from animal foods or from food/items that have been fortified with the vitamin. These fortified items are referred to as Vitamin B12 supplements. Some of the animal sources of this vitamin include: dairy products, fish, meat, eggs, milk and milk products. Plant products are generally considered to contain no vitamin B12 except the ones fortified with the vitamin for the sake of vegetarians. Therefore, the vitamin is made to be of high bioavailability in those plant products. Fortified foods usually contain different formulations, so it is advisable you check the product label carefully before purchase.
Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The decrease in the level of Vitamin B12 in the blood (Hypocobalaminemia) can be linked to various causes, some of which may include:
Low intake of vitamin B12; this is a situation which often happen among vegetarians and people following Vegan diet. Such people absolutely abstain from animal products such as eggs, beef or dairy products which could have supplied their vitamin B12 requirement.
Ageing also could be one of the reasons for Vitamin B12 deficiency because as we grow older, our body tends to become weaker in absorbing vitamin B12 from foods.
Other causes of vitamin B12 deficiency also may be due to having some particular weight surgery or any other surgery that involves removal of part of the stomach; drinking too heavily; stomach ulcer; taking some particular acid medications for a long period of time such as PPI for indigestion; pernicious anemia (which could be hereditary) and many more.
The end result of having a short on vitamin B12 could come out in various signs and symptoms. I will be telling you 5 major symptoms that often accompany low level of vitamin B12 in the blood. If you have being experiencing any of this symptoms, I think it’s time you speak to your doctor because you might be having vitamin B12 deficiency:
This is usually the first symptom to look out for when it comes to vitamin B12 deficiency. Although conclusions cannot be made based on this symptom alone, but together with other symptoms, could confirm you are low on vitamin B12. Have you ever wondered why you still feel like sleeping even after having slept for many hours? This is because you are low on red blood cells that help you carry oxygen to your organs. The red blood cells which are, of course, made by vitamin B12. So when your body is not receiving enough vitamin B12, it tends to be weaker always. However, don’t forget this alone cannot be used to draw conclusions that you are vitamin B12 deficient.
When your muscles are not getting enough oxygen which should have being supplied by the red blood cells produced by the help of vitamin B12, they start feeling weak and thereby making everything difficult for you to lift.
It is not dementia. It could just be your vitamin B12 level sending signs to you. You start forgetting things so easily when your vitamin B12 level is dropping down to dangerous levels; even the names of your bank.
Loss of Appetite
One of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency is also mouth ulcers and sores on the tongue making it very difficult for you to eat. If you are having these symptoms, it’s time to speak to your doctor.
In severe cases, vitamin B12 deficiency could result in you having problem with vision. B12 deficiency could sometimes result in vision problems like blurry vision, high sensitivity to light, shadow vision, even to loss of vision.