Even though we live in a world with enough food supply, the lack of some vitamins is a rather common problem. Even though the changes in the soil are considered to be the main cause of vitamin deficiency, there are also other reasons for it.
MOST COMMON NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY
Lack of nutrients happen when the body cannot absorb the necessary amount of some nutrients, which usually is caused by aging, pregnancy, poor nutrient intake, health conditions, such as bariatric surgery, cancer, Crohns, etc. The nutrient amount in the body also depends on age, level of activity and sex.
Some of the most common nutrients deficiencies are:
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin B12
HOW MUCH VITAMIN B12 SHOULD WE GET?
It depends on various factors, including age, medical condition, eating habits, and use of medications. According to the National Institute of Health, the recommended average dose varies depending on the age:
• Infants (0 – 6 months) – 0.4 mcg
• Babies (7 – 12 months) – 0.5 mcg
• Children (1 – 3 years) – 0.9 mcg
• Kids (4 – 8 years) – 1.2 mcg
• Children (9 – 13) – 1.8 mcg
• Teens (14 – 18 years) – 2.4 mcg
• Adults – 2.4 mcg
• Pregnant women – 2.6 mcg
• Breastfeeding women – 2.8 mcg
LACK OF VITAMIN B12
Cobalamin, or Vitamin B12, is a vitamin necessary for blood formation, functioning of the blood and nerve function. As it cannot be produced by our body, we should intake it with our diet. Mainly, it is found in animal-based foods, but its abruption in the body depends on numerous intrinsic factors.
INCREASED RISK OF VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY
There are numerous factors which increase the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Here are some of them:
1. High levels of homocysteine
Homocysteine occurs as a result of protein breakage. If it is present in great amount in the body, it heightens the risk of experiencing heart attack, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Impaired infant development
Lack of vitamin B12 in mothers can be dangerous for the cognitive and physical development of the baby, thus leading to increased risk of abnormalities and impaired infant development.
3. Cognitive disorders
It has been shown that the lack of vitamin B12 is strongly related to depression and dementia. It has been also considered that dementia sufferers do not experience any benefits from vitamin B12 supplementation when it comes to restoring the damage.
4. Megaloblastic anemia
Megaloblastic anemia represents a health condition when the bone marrow creates abnormal, immature, red blood cells, called magalblasts. Thus, the number of red blood cells decreases and oxygen is not carried to the organs and the tissues in the body. the most common symptoms of megaloblastic anemia include muscle weakness, nausea, wasting, fatigue, diarrhea, etc.
INDIVIDUALS WITH HIGH RISK OF VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY
There people are especially prone to vitamin B12 deficiency:
• Breast feeding women and pregnant women
• Vegetarians and vegans
• Bariatric surgery patients
• Gastrointestinal problems, such as: chronic diarrhea, anorexia and stomatitis.
• Gastrointestinal disorders, like stomach restrictions, stomach infections and Crohns disease.
SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY
There are numerous symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. The most common include:
Even though occasional forgetfulness may not represent a serious health issues, severe forgetfulness may be one of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
2. Lack of iron
Lack of vitamin B12 is usually related to iron deficiency. As vitamin B12 increases the iron bioavailability, they are interrelated.
3. Pins and needles
Feeling pins and needles, as well as numbness occurs as a result of less oxygen in the cells, which leads to nerve damage and lack of vitamin B12.
4. Constant fatigue
Lack of vitamin B12 indicates that the cells do not get enough oxygen, thus making you tired and lethargic. Therefore, if you often experience tiredness, even though you sleep enough, you should check your vitamin B12 levels.
Dizziness and vertigo episodes may indicate some serious health issues, such as: vitamin B 12 deficiencies.
6. Poor vision
Sensitivity to light, blurred vision and spotting may mean lack of vitamin B 12 in people. If it is not treated on time, it may cause serious optic nerve damage.
7. Pale complexion
The main function of vitamin B12 is the formation of the red blood cells. Pale complexion is often a symptom of anemia or nutrient deficiency.
Other symptoms include:
• Weakness, lightheartedness, and tiredness
• Anemia (platelet, white blood cells and red blood cells)
• Hallucinations and paranoia
• Jaundice (yellow and pale skin)
• An inflamed and swollen tongue
• Walking difficulties (balance issues, staggering)
• Tingling, numbness and burning sensation in the legs, feet and hands.
• Brain and mental fog
• Shortness of breath and heart palpitations
• Loss of appetite, diarrhea, gas and constipation
• Mental issues, like depression, behavioral changes or memory loss
• Joint pain and muscle weakness
• Inability to concentrate
HOW TO REGULATE VITAMIN B12 DEFICENCY
There are a few ways in which can help you regulate vitamin B12 deficiency, without taking food supplements:
1. Avoid alcohol
The excessive amount of alcohol affects the ability of the body to produce intrinsic factors, thus lowering the absorption of vitamin B12. Moderate alcohol consumption in adequate, meaning 1 drink per day for women, and 2 drinks per day for men.
2. Drink plenty of cranberry juice
It has been though that cranberries as well as cranberry capsules and cranberry juice, increase vitamin B12 bioavailability. Therefore, avoid cranberry juices rich in sugar.
3. Include pepper in the diet
The black pepper contains pepperine, a compound which increases vitamin B12 bioavailability.
4. Proper intake of calcium
The absorption of vitamin B12 is increased by the proper intake of calcium, so make sure you include more calcium-rich foods in your diet.
The best sources of vitamin B12 are shellfish, such as: oysters and clams, tempeh, nori, eggs, milk products, red meat, and organ meat. Here are top ten sources of vitamin B12:
• Chicken and beef liver: 81 mg in 3 ounces
• Salmon: 108 mg in an fillet
• Herring: 143 mg in a fillet
• Mackerel: 15.3 mg in 3 ounces
• Sardines: 13.3 mg in a cup
• Tuna: 9.3 mg in 3 ounces
• Trout: 9.1 mg in a fillet
• Organic yoghurt: 170 g in a container
• Turkey: 1.1 mg in 3 ounces
• Raw milk: 1 mg in a cup
• Beef tenderloin: 0.9 mg in 3 ounces
• Lamb: 0.8 mg in 3 ounces
BENEFITS OF VITAMIN B12
The lack of vitamin B12 is thought to be the main nutrient deficiency all over the world. Vitamin B12 enhances the mood, heart health, skin health, hair, memory, energy, digestion, etc. It also:
• Increases the levels of energy
Vitamin B12 is beneficial for the metabolism, as it transforms carbohydrates in useful glucose, which is used as in the form of energy. This is the reason why people, who experience vitamin B12 deficiency, suffer from fatigue.
• Lowers the risk of neurodegenerative issues and prevents memory loss
Lack of vitamin B12 might lead to various psychiatric and neurological disorders. Vitamin B12 plays a very important role in neurotransmitter and nerve health, as well as enhances cognitive ability and lowers the risk of neurodegenerative disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
• Enhances the function of the nervous system and boosts up mood
Vitamin B12 is necessary for cognitive processes and concentration, and lack of vitamin B12 may lead to difficulties in focusing and increased risk of attention disorders.
• Enhances heart health
Vitamin B12 improves cardiovascular health in a few ways. In fact, it lowers high Homocyteine levels, which is the main cause of heart diseases. It is an amino acid, whose levels in the blood are affected by B-complex vitamins, like vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 improves heart health, by lowering Homocyteine levels, thus preventing heart attacks and strokes. It is considered that vitamin B12 also regulated high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
• Enhances hair health and skin health
Vitamin B12 has an important role in reproduction of cells, which means it is essential for nail, skin and hair health. It is beneficial for the skin, because it reduces skin inflammation, redness, acne, blemishes, dryness, and also treats eczema and psoriasis effectively.
It also makes the nails stronger and prevents hair breakage.
• Enhances digestive processes
Vitamin B12 aids in the production of digestive enzymes, so it supports the healthy metabolism and breakage of food in the stomach. Vitamin B 12 enhances digestion, by increasing good bacteria in the gut. Digestive disorders, like Candida and inflammatory bowel disease, are prevented by the presence of good bacteria and the elimination of bad bacteria.
• Prevents cancer
Vitamin B12 is considered to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly if it is taken in combination with folate. According to the researches, vitamin B12 enhances the immune system so that it is able to fight against cancer, including colon, prostate and cervical cancer.
• Prevents anemia and produces red blood cells
Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of the red blood cells. It efficiently prevents all types of anemia, particularly megaloblastic anemia, which is the main cause of weakness and chronic fatigue.