Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Vitamin B12 Deficiency – The modern-day lifestyle is fast-paced and hectic as people are caught up in a rat-race to reach the pinnacle of the corporate world. Occupied with work for more than 10-12 hours a day can take a toll on our body and mind. Thus, we must follow a rigorous diet and practice eating healthy so that our body receives the nutrition it needs.

Eating healthy allows you to function efficiently and allows you to fulfill daily objectives. Being aware of what your body needs will assist you to be more productive. It will also help you to live a long and prosperous life. Thus, we should consciously make an effort to incorporate Vitamin B12 supplements into our daily diet. This is primarily because our body does not naturally produce the said nutrient.

What is Vitamin B12 and Why is it Important?

Vitamin B12 is a supplement that helps to keep our nerves, DNA, and blood cells healthy. The nutrient protects the human anatomy against various illnesses which include conditions such as anemia. Vitamin B12 can be availed by the consumption of animal-based products. Therefore, food materials such as beef, fish, dairy items, etc. provide us an effective dose of the nutrient.

As per a recent study conducted, it is estimated that 23% above the age of 50 suffer from Vitamin B12 deficiency. Let us now analyze the importance of this Vitamin by going through the causes, symptoms, and treatment of Vitamin B12 Deficiency.

Causes of Deficiency:

People with a deficiency in Vitamin B12 may suffer from weakness and exhaustion. Thus, it is imperative for the people who have adopted the “Vegan” way of life to rely upon Vitamin B12 supplements so that no complications are experienced in the long run. Vegetarians who fail to consume eggs and other dairy products in the form of cheese and milk may suffer from an immediate deficiency. It is also estimated that with an increase in age, the human body fails to absorb and retain Vitamin B12.

Complications can also be experienced by the people who are going through a weight loss program. Heavy alcohol consumption may also lead to a deficiency in Vitamin B12.

Following are some other factors which may cause a deficiency in Vitamin B12:
  • If Atrophic gastritis with the stomach lining is thin, then your body might not be able to absorb an adequate amount of Vitamin B12. This eventually snowballs into a deficiency issue.
  • The presence of bacteria or growth of pesticides in the small intestine may significantly contribute to Vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • If an individual has a weak immune system or suffers from immune system disorders such as Lupus then the chances of Vitamin B12 deficiency increase.
  • An individual suffering from Pernicious anemia disorder will automatically struggle with Vitamin B12 absorption leading to a deficiency in the long run.

Some medicines also hinder the absorption process of Vitamin B12. Medications such as Rabeprazole, Pantoprazole, and certain Diabetic pills may cause Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency:

Vitamin B12 is an essential element that helps to create new blood cells and protect our body against various diseases. There are various symptoms by which you can detect an immediate deficiency in Vitamin B12. Some of them have been listed below:

1. Tiredness:

One of the most significant symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency is related to fatigue and tiredness. People suffering from a deficiency are likely to feel tired all the time. Feeling drowsy while working, shortness of breath [after indulging in minor physical activities], and heart palpitations are common symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Muscle weakness and the numbing sensation of the hands are also effective symptoms.

2. Mental Health Issues:

Vitamin B12 deficiency induces mental health issues in the form of depression and memory loss. People often tend to feel dull and lack the enthusiasm and energy which a normal human being possesses in life.

3. Other Physical Disabilities:

Deficiency in Vitamin B12 can affect the body adversely as it limits basic motor skill activation. Bleeding gums and constant constipation are common indicators of a deficiency.

Therefore, if you are experiencing such dilemmas, then be sure to consult a professional so that suitable treatment can be provided.

Treatment of Vitamin B12 Deficiency:

The most common method of treating Vitamin B12 is by injecting the concerned individual with Vitamin B12 supplements. Hydroxocobalamin and Cyanocobalamin are the two Vitamin B12 injections that are popularly available in the market. The doctors generally prefer Hydroxocobalamin as it tends to stay in the blood for an extended time period. These injections need to be taken every alternate day until the symptoms show improvement. After a span of 2 weeks, the doctors generally scrutinize the condition of the patient. Based on the severity of the situation, further actions are taken.

Consuming a Balanced Diet Regularly

The most common way of treating Vitamin B12 deficiency is by consuming a balanced diet regularly. Incorporation of meat and dairy products will help you to eliminate all the chances of Vitamin B12 deficiency from occurring. There are various Vitamin B12 pills that are popularly available in the market that mostly Vegans rely upon. However, it is essential to limit the use of these pills as soon as there is an improvement in the condition of the patient concerned.

The following table will help you to gain a better idea about the level of Vitamin B12 required as per the age of an individual:
  • Infants between 6-12 months require 0.5 mcg of Vitamin B12
  • Children between 1-3 years require 0.9 mcg of Vitamin B12
  • Children between 4-12 years require 1.2-1.8 mcg of Vitamin B12
  • Teenagers between 14-18 years need 2.4-2.6 mcg of Vitamin B12
  • Adults above 18 years of age need 2.6 mcg of Vitamin B12

Women on their pregnancy require a higher dose of Vitamin B12 that can amount to 2.6-2.8 mcg while breastfeeding.

These were some of the causes, symptoms, and treatment involved concerning Vitamin B12. Be sure to eat healthily and visit certified doctors to overcome this issue.

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