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5 Important Things to Know About Vitamin B12 Deficiency

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
March 2nd, 2022
10 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency is a quite common and has serious symptoms
  • You can get vitamin supplements for immunity that contain vitamin B12
  • Potatoes, beetroots and spinach are a few vitamin B12 vegetables

Vitamin B12 is among the many vital nutrients you need and it benefits the body in many ways. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a very common in people. It is important for the proper development and function of many parts of the body, including the brain, nerves and blood cells. Your body doesn’t produce B12 on its own, so you need to get it from other sources. The two common sources are fruits and vegetables or specific vitamin B12 tablets.  

Many people do not get enough of this nutrient. As such, vitamin B12 deficiency is a very common problem. This gives rise to issues such as: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Gastrointestinal disorders 
  • Pale yellow skin 
  • Inflammation and pain in the mouth/tongue 
  • Headaches 

If you are at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency, track their diet to make sure you are getting enough vitamin B12. Read to know the various vitamin b12 benefits and the common symptoms that indicate a deficiency. 

What are the causes of a vitamin B12 deficiency? 

Among the most common reasons is your age. As you get older, it can become harder to absorb this vitamin. You are also likely to develop the deficiency if you have: 

  • Undergone weight loss surgery or an operation that removed a part of your stomach 
  • Chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa of the stomach, due to which your stomach lining has thinned 
  • Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, bacterial growth, or a parasite that affects your small intestine 
  • Consumed excessive amounts of alcohol or misused it, making it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients 

Additional Reads:  5 Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency Tests to Check Nutritional Deficiency 

Vitamin B12

How much vitamin B12 is required by your body? 

The daily recommended intake of vitamin B12 is as follows [1]: 

  • Babies below the age of 6 months: 0.4 mcg 
  • Babies below 12 months: 0.5 mcg 
  • Toddlers between 1 and 3 years: 0.9 mcg 
  • Children aged between 4 and 8 years: 1.2 mcg 
  • Children aged between 9 and 13 years: 1.8 mcg 
  • Teenagers and adults: 2.4 mcg 

The recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 mcg. A slightly higher amount is safe as well. Your body absorbs only as much as it needs and any excess passes through your urinary tract. 

What are the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency? 

A mild deficiency may not cause any symptoms during the early stage. If it worsens over time, it can make you anemic. If left untreated, you could develop symptoms such as: 

  • Shortness of breath and heart palpitations
  • Pale skin 
  • Inflammation of the tongue/mouth 
  • Diarrhoea, loss of appetite, gas, or constipation 
  • Headaches and vision loss 
  • Fatigue 
  • Depression 
  • Memory loss or mental issues 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency prevention

Which foods contain Vitamin B12? 

Your body does not produce Vitamin B12 naturally. This is why you must ensure that your diet contains this nutrient from the best vitamin B12 sources. Some of the best sources of Vitamin B12 are [2]: 

  • Beef, liver, and chicken 
  • Shellfish and fish such as salmon, tuna fish, clams, and trout 
  • Breakfast cereal that is fortified 
  • Dairy products like low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese 
  • Eggs 

Additional Read: Top Dairy Foods that Dieticians Recommend and Health Benefits of Dairy 

What are the treatments for a vitamin B12 deficiency? 

If you have trouble absorbing Vitamin B12, you may require supplements. These may be taken orally or injected by a doctor. If you are a vegan or don’t eat any animal products, you have other options. You can change your diet to include: 

  • Vitamin B12-fortified grains 
  • Supplements  
  • B12 injections 
  • High-dose oral Vitamin B12 

Treating the deficiency solves the problem but you must make the recommended changes to keep your levels optimal. Such treatments are generally prescribed only when natural solutions are not suitable. This is particularly the case if you have dietary preferences that may restrict you from getting this nutrient in adequate amounts. For example, if you follow a strict vegan diet, you are at a greater risk of developing this deficiency. This is mainly because your diet will not contain animal foods that can give you the required vitamin B12.  

Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient and you must be aware of the adverse effects of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Eating the right food can help and if the deficiency persists, you can get vitamin B12 tablets like Neurobion Forte. While there are several such options, a balanced lifestyle is key to staying healthy. Get proper guidance from dietary and nutrition experts on Bajaj Finserv Health. Find specialists in your city and book appointments easily online. This way you can ensure that your body gets all the nutrition it needs.

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