Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms and Causes

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin which belongs to the family called B complex. This vitamin participates in various processes that occur in the body. It is the largest and most complicated chemical vitamin. In this post, we will talk about the vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms and why we need this vitamin.

vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms

Why We Need Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin is soluble in water. This vitamin is necessary for developing and maintaining a healthy nervous system, it also plays a big part in the creation of DNA and formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a condition known as megaloblastic anemia.

Who is at Risk of Getting Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

vitamin b12 deficiency cause

Lack of vitamin B12 occurs when the body does not get enough or can’t absorb the amount of vitamin that is necessary. Many adults over 50 lose their ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food. These people are recommended to enter this vitamin in the body with the help of supplements.

People who are at-risk of getting vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms follow a strict vegetarian diet, because the best source of B12 is just meat. Especially there is high-risk for vegans who do not consume animal products. Babies whose mothers are vegetarians may suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. Alcoholics are also at risk and should be alert about the imported amount of vitamin B12.

 Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

Lack of vitamin B12 is not common. It develops slowly, and symptoms gradually increase the intensity. When the body has a serious deficiency of vitamin B12 the symptoms are:

    • Weakness, fatigue, lack of energy or dizziness;
    • Diarrhea and constipation;
    • Incontinence;
    • Concentration problems;
    • Increased heart rate and rapid breathing;
    • Inflamed tongue or bleeding gums;
    • Pale yellowing skin.

If this condition is not treated, long-standing lack of vitamin B12 can damage the nerve cells and cause symptoms such as:

  • Depression;
  • Hallucinations;
  • Loss of balance;
  • Confusion and serious problems with memory;
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.

Recommended daily dose of vitamin B12

infant b12 supplement

Recommended daily doses of vitamin B12 varies by age as follows:

  • Infants (0-6 months) – 0,4μg;
  • Infants (7-12 months) – 0,5μg;
  • Children (1-3 years) – 0,9μg;
  • Children (4-8 years) – 1,2μg;
  • Children (9-13 years) – 1,8μg;
  • Adolescents and adults (14 years and more) – 2,4μg;
  • Pregnant women – 2,6μg;
  • Nursing – 2,8μg.

Foods rich in vitamin B12

foods rich in vitamin b12

Animal source foods are a natural source of vitamin B12, but today many products, such as cereals, are enriched with this vitamin. To insert sufficient amounts of vitamin B12, it is recommended to consume:

  • Shellfish and Crawfish
  • Eggs;
  • Fish;
  • Red meat (especially liver);
  • Poultry;
  • Milk and dairy products.

Unlike other B vitamins, that can’t be stored in the body and must be entered daily, our body has the ability to store vitamin B12 in the liver and to save it in the body for a year, so the lack of this vitamin is rare.

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