Did you know that insufficient levels of vitamin B12 in the body have been linked to serious health problems? These health issues include dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, and heart disease. Other problems include MS, poor childhood development, autism, infertility, specific types of cancer, and psychological diseases.
What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Anemia which is a result of vitamin B12 is manifested through the following symptoms:
- Sore and red tongue
- Mouth ulcers
- Pins and needles
- Changes in the way one walks
- Poor vision
- Changes in thoughts and feelings
- Reduction in mental capacity
- Mouth ulcers
- Pale and yellowish tinge in the skin
Why Is Vitamin B12 Important for Us?
Our body needs this vitamin for the production of red blood cells, nerves, DNA and to carry out different bodily functions. Nowadays, the average adult needs to acquire 2.4 mcg of this vitamin per day.
Like most of the vitamins, it cannot be naturally produced in the body, so we get it from foods and supplements. Unfortunately, some people do not consume sufficient amounts of it to meet the body’s needs. Others cannot absorb enough of the vitamin, regardless of their intake.
This being said, vitamin B12 deficiency is common issue, particularly among elderly. According to one survey, 3.2 percent of adults over the age of 50 have serious vitamin B12 deficiency whereas up to 20 percent may have a borderline deficiency.
Who Is at Risk?
The causes of vitamin B12 deficiency are numerous, including veganism and weight-loss surgery. Unfortunately, plants do not produce vitamin B12 and the only foods which have it are meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and other animal foods.
Some types of vegetarianism and people who follow a vegan diet are therefore at a higher risk of developing this deficiency if they do not consume fortified grains or take supplements.
Those who have undergone a weight-loss surgery have a higher risk of this problem because the procedure may mess with the body’s capacity to extract the vitamin from foods.
Other conditions that interfere with the absorption of foods include Crohn’s and celiac disease and taking specific heartburn meds too.
How to Elevate Your Vitamin B12 Levels?
When a person has a severe vitamin B12 deficiency, there are two ways to improve it, either through weekly shots of the vitamin or a daily high dosage of vitamin B12 pills. In a lot of people, this deficiency can be averted. Namely, for vegans and vegetarians, it is crucial to consume bread, cereal, and other fortified grains or opt for supplements.
For people over the age of 50, the Institute of Medicine recommends getting vitamin B12 from supplements, in addition to getting it from foods, as their absorption may be reduced.
Vitamin B12 Is not Almighty
Nowadays, we hear and read a lot about the capacity of this vitamin to avert Alzheimer’s, heart illness, and other chronic health problems or treat eczema, tiredness, and infertility.
However, the evidence for such claims is scarce or non-existent. Even though there is a link between low levels of vitamin B12 and cognitive decline, studies have not shown improvement in the cognitive function of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, even with high dosages of the vitamin.
Therefore, remember to get sufficient amounts of the vitamin to avert a deficiency, not to look at this vitamin as a remedy for some health problem.