9 Signs Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency And Why You Need To Increase Your Vitamin B12 Levels

Animal products such as meat and eggs are the only natural sources of vitamin B12.

Animal products such as eggs and meat are the only natural sources of vitamin B12.Matt Jonas/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

  • Recent studies have investigated the link between vitamin B12 deficiency and cognitive decline in older adults.

  • While more research is needed on vitamin B12 and neurobehavior, this nutrient is essential for energy production.

  • Vitamin D deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, sensory problems and nerve damage.

Vitamin B12 is an easily available vitamin, whether through food or supplements—a good thing because a deficiency can cause long-term damage to your nerves and cognition.

Recent studies have found higher rates of cognitive decline in older adults with vitamin B12 deficiency and excess folic acid or vitamin B9. Dr. Eduardo Villamoreprofessor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan.

Some research suggests that vitamin B12 can help Depression and Dementia Preventionbut Villamore said more research is needed on the effects of vitamin B12 on neurobehavior.

“There is a lot of interest in the role of vitamin B-12 on neurocognitive performance, especially in older adults,” Villamor said. “The role of vitamin B-12 on fetal, infant and child neurodevelopment is also an important area of ​​research.”

Here’s how to know if you’re deficient in vitamin B12 and why you need this important nutrient:

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency range from mild fatigue to severe neurological complications

People who are deficient in vitamin B12 experience a range of symptoms, depending on how long they have been deficient in this nutrient, Villamore said.

People with mild vitamin B12 deficiency may experience fatigue, he said. Vitamin B12 reacts with compounds in the body to produce DNA and energy, which is why a deficiency can lead to fatigue.

Mild to moderate vitamin B12 deficiency may cause anemia, or when the body lacks enough healthy red blood cells to help distribute oxygen. Dr. Aaron Goodman, a hematologist and professor at UC San Diego Health, previously told Insider that anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency can cause cracks or sores around the mouth.

Moderate vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a type of anemia called macrocytosis, or when red blood cells enlarge, Villamor said. According to the Mayo Clinic, this condition usually produces no symptoms but can show up during routine blood tests.

Moderate deficiency may also cause peripheral neuropathy, or damage to nerves outside the brain and spinal cord.Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include sensory problems, such as tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, and glossitisor may cause inflammation of the tongue sensitive to spicy or acidic foods.

Severe deficiency can lead to “serious neurological and psychiatric manifestations,” Villamore said. Neurological symptoms include:

  • irritability

  • cognitive impairment

  • frustrated

  • mental illness

  • Dementia

Some neurological symptoms may become permanent if vitamin B12 deficiency goes untreated, registered dietitian Elizabeth Bell Tell Insider before.

Severe vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to more severe anemia and other blood cell problems, inflammation and heart weakness, and even infertility, according to Villamor.

Treating Vitamin B12 Deficiency

The people at highest risk for vitamin B12 deficiency are those with low intakes, Villamore said. animal food Like eggs and meat, they are the only natural source of vitamins. These people may not be eating enough animal food, “either because of choice, such as being a strict vegetarian, or because of socioeconomic constraints, as in many low- and middle-income countries where animal food is expensive,” Villamore said .

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be prevented by ingesting animal foods, “if choice and purchasing power allow,” or through oral supplements and fortified foods, Villamore said.Other treatments include intramuscular injections or intravenous drip.

Doctors add that older adults or people who have had stomach surgery, such as bypass surgery, may have a form of malabsorption that can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency. People who take medication to reduce stomach acid and drink alcohol may also be at risk, Villamore said.

read the original Insider