The Vitamin B-12 performs many crucial bodily functions—including maintaining and supporting the red blood cells and the nervous system. An important role of vitamin B-12 is the formation of DNA, which is the basis of all cell life. Therefore, any deficiency in this vitamin leads to deficiency of numerous cell lines. According to experts like Best Nutritionists in Lahore the damage inflicted by vitamin B-12 deficiency may be irreversible in the long run. Read on to know more about vitamin B-12 deficiency and how to prevent it:
What are the symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency?
Vitamin B-12 deficiency develops slowly over time and thus, the symptoms also appear gradually and intensify over time. These symptoms include neurological signs as well, which can be mistaken for something else or overlooked altogether. These symptoms include:
- Difficulty in walking—balance problems or staggering gait
- Mental problems like confusion, memory loss, behavioral changes and depression
- Numbness, tingling and muscle weakness
- Tiredness and lightheadedness
- Weight loss
- Pallor of skin
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Vision problems
- Swollen and inflamed tongue
- Constipation, loss of appetite, diarrhea
What is the daily requirement of vitamin B-12?
The daily requirement of vitamin B-12 varies with age:
- For infants 0-6 months: 0.4 micrograms daily
- Babies aged 7 months to 1 year: 0.5 micrograms daily
- 1) Children up to 3 years: 0.9 micrograms daily
- 2) Children from 4 to 8 years: 1.2 micrograms daily
- 3) Children from 9 to 13 years: 1.8 micrograms daily
- Teenagers 14 to 18 years: 2.4 micrograms daily
- Adults 2.4 micrograms daily
- In pregnant women, the requirement rises to 2.6 micrograms daily
- In breast feeding women, the requirement rises to 2.8 micrograms daily
How is vitamin B-12 deficiency diagnosed?
The diagnosis is based on a complete history, and physical exam, followed by checking the serum levels of vitamin B-12 and blood tests to check for anemia. The blood tests also rule out other medical conditions and support the diagnosis of vitamin B-12 deficiency.
How to prevent vitamin B-12 deficiency?
People can prevent vitamin B-12 deficiency by eating a balanced diet and consuming a diet rich in meat, dairy, poultry, and eggs. If, for some reason, you cannot consume animal products, taking vitamin B-12 supplements is helpful. In addition, those following plant-based diet can deal with it by taking fortified foods like fortified nutritional yeast, soy milk and breakfast cereals.
Other food sources rich in vitamin B-12 include: beef liver, clams, yeast, fish like salmon, tuna and trout.
Vegetarians have a tendency to develop deficiencies in Vitamin B12 because it is only majorly found naturally in animal products. Vegetarians, especially vegans, should take special care in eliminating these deficiencies with the help of supplements. Chronic Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause you to develop anemia, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, etc. The recent technological advancements in the healthcare industry have led to the development of healthcare platforms. With the help of these platforms, you can get a blood test done, find out if you have a Vitamin B12 deficiency, and also get a customized supplement plan, all from the comfort of your home. You might want to Visit Website to know how you can get a customized plan delivered to your home as per your individual needs.
What are the complications of vitamin B-12
As mentioned before, vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause irreversible damage to the body. An important health risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency is linked to high level of homocysteine in the body, which is processed by this vitamin. Thus, low levels of this vitamin increase the amount of homocysteine in the body which leads to risk factors like:
Low levels of vitamin B12 affect the cognition in the long run. Depending on the age of the person, there may be significant decline in: memory, mood, performance and even onset of depression in people with vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Research shows that with high levels of vitamin B-12 deficiency, cognitive abilities and total brain volumes decrease. In such individuals, there is also high serum level of homocysteine.
Individuals with vitamin B-12 deficiency are at higher risk of stroke and coronary heart disease, likely due to high level of homocysteine in the blood. However, research is lacking with regards to supplementing with vitamin B-12 to prevent cardiovascular disorders.
Another complication of vitamin B-12 deficiency is the risk of neurological damage with impacted mental health, nerve damage and spinal cord damage.
As with most disorders, the treatment of vitamin B-12 deficiency is based on the cause of this deficiency. Experts like Best Nutritionists in Islamabad treat this deficiency through intake of oral supplements, intramuscular injections and eating vitamin B12 rich food.