Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, it is also known as cobalamin. It plays a very important role in the production of DNA as well as it helps in the proper functioning of our nervous system. It helps in the metabolism of red blood cells also. As our body doesn’t make vitamin B12, so we need to get it from outside sources.
How we can develop vitamin B12 deficiency in the body:
- When we are following the vegan diet (which is eliminating the animal products from the diet ), there are more chances of getting the deficiency.
- When the digestive tract doesn’t absorb the nutrition properly.
- Consumption of certain drugs like metformin, cimetidine, famotidine, etc may affect the absorption of vitamin B12 and leads to a deficiency.
- Consumption of antacid for the long term may affect the absorption of vitamin B12.
So, there are certain signs and symptoms which we should not ignore, because they warn us that our body is getting a deficit in vitamin B12.
There are 7 signs which we should not ignore, our ignorance may lead us to vitamin B12 deficiency. These signs are:
- Pale skin:- People with vitamin B12 deficiency may generally have pale skin or have a slight yellow tinge to the skin and whitish in the eyes. This may happen when the deficiency of B12 in the body causes problems in the production of red blood cells in the body.
- Weakness and fatigue:- This may happen when our body doesn’t have enough vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, which transports the oxygen throughout the body. As a result, we are unable to efficiently transport oxygen to our body’s cell, which makes us feel tired and weak.
- The sensation of pins and needles:- Vit B12 plays an important role in the production of myelin, which insulates our nerves and is critical to our nervous system function.
- Glossitis and mouth ulcers:- In glossitis, the color and shape of the tongue may change. It makes it painful, swollen, and red in color. Some studies suggest that swollen and inflamed tongue that has long straight lesions on it could be the sign of early vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Breathlessness and dizziness:- Anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency may cause breathlessness and dizziness. This occurs when the body doesn’t transport enough oxygen to all its cells.
- Disturbed vision:- In some cases, the nervous system damage caused by vitamin B12 deficiency may affect the optic nerves, which can result in blurred or disturbed vision.
- Mood changes:- People with Vit B12 deficiency often report changes in their mood. Low Vit B12 levels linked to mood and brain disorders like depression and dementia.
Saving vitamin B12: Our body saves or stores excess vitamin B12 in the liver, so if we consume it more B12 it may get saved in the liver and it will be utilized in the future. Vitamin B12 can be got by consuming the following sources like:
- Liver and kidney of lamb
- Clams (small chewy shellfish)
- Fortified cereals
- Tuna, trout, salmon
- Milk and milk products like yogurt, cheese
The above-mentioned sources are good sources of vitamin B12, by including these sources in our diet we can prevent the vitamin B12 deficiency.