Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the common vitamin deficiency that is affecting millions of vegetarians and elderly people. It is naturally present in non-vegetarian foods. Dairy products also have some amount of vitamin B12. Many food products are fortified with B12 vitamins (bread, plant based milk etc) However, both vegetarians and vegans does generally will have less amount of Vitamin B12. As we age, our body’s ability to absorb B12 slows down.
Cobalamin is name of Vitamin B12. People who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia also known to suffer from B12 deficiency!
Symptoms of Vit B12 deficiency:
- Fatigue and cannot stay awake : Fatigues from cellular level causes a person sleepy all the time. Fatigue can be due to B12 deficiency
- Weak muscles : Not enough RBC results in less oxygen supply to muscle causing weak muscle
- Memory loss: Brain also needs oxygen and when there is less RBC less oxygen will carry to brain cells causing memory loss
- Pale skin: Less RBC production can result in less iron content and a condition called megaloblastic anemia. When this happens RBC become large and fragile. This results in less circulation of RBC and skin appears pale. Fragility of RBC results in excess bilirubin resulting in jaundice and white eye color develops yellow tint.
- Sensation of pin and needles: Nerve damage is another side effects of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Myelin that surrounds nervous system will function improperly resulting pins and needle sensation of hands and feet. This is called paresthesia.
- Changes in mobility : Balance and coordination gets disturbed making a person fall due to Vitamin B12 deficiency. It happens more in elderly.
- Mouth ulcers and glossitis : Oral symptoms such as mouth ulcers is another symptom. Glossitis is color and shape change of tongue. It turns red and swollen due to inflammation – this can happen because of B12 deficiency.
- Breathlessness and dizziness : Lack of enough RBC and oxygen supply to cells results in unusual breathless especially when someone try to exert to do more and it might result in dizziness.
- Mood changes : Mood and brain disorders like depression and demential are two other symptoms happens because of low level of Vitamin B12.
- Disturbed vision: Optic nerve damage as a part of improper nervous system function results in poor vision.
How to overcome Vitamin B12 deficiency?
For optimal health B12 levels should be between 650-900 pg/mL. The Laboratory range in serum is 211-946 pg/mL. Getting enough Vitamin B12 in the diet is critical when we start developing these above or any symptoms. Talk to your doctor.
If you don’t eat animal products, consider taking Vitamin B12 supplements and foods fortified with B12. Eating and drinking dairy products such as – raw milk, cheese, feta cheese, yogurt and kefir helps.
Improving digestive function with natural probiotics helps to absorb and process Vitamin B12 in the food faster and more efficient.