Vitamin B12, one of the most important vitamins for the body, helps to form DNA and red blood cells. Your body does not store vitamin B12, so you must get it from animal foods or supplements. So what causes B12 deficiency?
WHAT CAUSES B12 DEFICIENCY?
With age, it can become harder for the body to absorb this vitamin. If you do not regularly consume foods containing vitamin B12, if you have had weight loss surgery or if you have had another surgery that removed part of your stomach, it is possible to experience B12 deficiency again.
You may also be more likely to develop a vitamin B12 deficiency if:
Pernicious anemia, which makes it harder for your body to absorb vitamin B12
Immune system disorders such as Graves’ disease or lupus
If you are taking certain medications that interfere with B12 absorption.
Conditions that affect your small intestine, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, bacterial overgrowth, or parasites
Alcohol abuse or excessive alcohol consumption can make it harder for your body to absorb nutrients or prevent you from getting enough calories. A sign of not having enough B12 could be glossitis or a swollen, inflamed tongue.
– You may also have a vitamin B12 deficiency if you follow a vegan diet (i.e. you don’t eat any animal products, including meat, milk, cheese, and eggs) or if you’re a vegetarian who doesn’t eat enough eggs or dairy products.
WHAT DOES B12 DEFICIENCY CAUSE?
Although rare, a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency (with or without anemia) can lead to various complications, especially if you have had a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency for some time.
Some of these could be:
- Problems with the nervous system
- temporary infertility
- Heart Function
- Adults with severe anemia are also at risk of developing heart failure.
- Pregnancy complications and birth defects
- Some conditions improve with appropriate treatment, but others, such as problems with the nervous system, may be permanent.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF B12 DEFICIENCY?
Vitamin B12 and folate perform many important functions, including keeping the nervous system healthy in the body. Deficiency of any of these vitamins can cause problems such as:
- lack of energy
- A sore and red tongue
- muscle weakness
- mouth ulcer
- Some psychological problems, which may include depression or confusion
- Problems with memory, understanding, and judgment
- Lack of attention
- Some of these problems can also occur if you have a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency but do not have anemia.
WHAT IS B12 DEFICIENCY TREATMENT?
First of all, you should ask your doctor if you need a blood test to check your vitamin B12 level. Most cases of vitamin B12 and folate deficiency can be easily treated with injections or tablets to correct the missing vitamins.
Vitamin B12 supplements are usually given by injection at first. You will then need B12 tablets between meals or between regular injections, depending on whether your B12 deficiency is related to your diet.
This vitamin is found in meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, yeast extract (such as Marmite) and specially fortified foods. Among the best sources of folate are green vegetables such as peas, broccoli and brussels sprouts.