It is considered by the experts that despite consuming a diet abundant in meat and dairy products, one in every four American adults suffers from Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Namely, your liver is able to store Vitamin B12 for many years. In other words, this vitamin is the only water-soluble vitamin, which can be stored in your liver for so long. It happens as a result of the great importance of this nutrient and therefore your body always makes sure to have some in stock.
Vitamin B12 benefits
In fact, Vitamin B12 is very significant for proper functioning of your nervous, vascular, digestive, and reproductive system, as well.
This vitamin is responsible for regulation of hormone production, supporting a healthy immunity and building red blood cells and DNA.
Also, it plays a significant role in the protein metabolism and conversion of carbohydrates into glucose.
Which is the main cause of Vitamin B12 deficiency?
As you know, your body cannot produce Vitamin B12, but it has to be ingested. Unfortunately, almost all people who suffer from B12 deficiency simply don’t include enough of this nutrient in their diets.
It is important to know that you can find this vitamin in the following natural sources: organ meats, meat, poultry, shellfish, dairy and eggs.
Those people who are vegetarians and vegans can get this vitamin by consuming algae, seaweed and nutritional yeast, but these sources usually cannot be enough. So, in case you are vegetarian you should also rely on B12 fortified foods or taking supplements.
Also, people over the age of 50 often suffer from B12 deficiency. To explain you in detail, as you are ageing, it actually becomes really difficult for your body to absorb vitamin B12 from these foods since your body is not able to produce enough stomach acid that is vital for the absorption of such nutrients.
Moreover, those people who suffer from digestive issues, for instance: Crohn’s or Celiac disease may also not be able to process vitamins properly.
Or in case you are taking some prescription medication, they are also able to interfere with your body’s ability to absorb this vitamin.
The main symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency
As we mentioned above, Vitamin B12 is vital for your brain health. According to a study carried out at the Rush University Medical Centre, the deficiency of vitamin B12 can be a potential risk factor for brain atrophy and it can also lead to cognitive impairment.
These are the main symptoms of the deficiency of this vitamin:
- Anaemia, megaloblastic anaemia and pernicious anaemia
- Balance and confusion loss
- Arms and legs numbness or tingling
- Diarrhea, constipation, appetite loss, or gas
- Vision loss
- Nerve problems (muscle weakness, numbness or tingling, and walking problems)
- Mental health problems, including psychosis and depression
- Heart disease
Fortunately, if you promptly treat this vitamin deficiency with proper B12 intake, you can reverse most of these symptoms. Also, don’t hesitate to consult your nutritionist in order to find out how you can safely include more of this essential vitamin into your diet.