What Problems Does B12 Deficiency Cause
- It classically causes a type of anemia and a neurological disorder . These are real and there are multiple unfortunate case reports in the literature of people, including young children, with permanent neurologic damage from B12 deficiency.
- Symptoms of this type of anemia include: fatigue and weakness, weight loss, and sore tongue
- Symptoms of this neurological disorder include: numbness and tingling of hands and feet, memory changes, poor balance, and depression
- Infants can have developmental delay and failure to thrive
What Are The Symptoms Of A Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency is quite hard to detect and so can go undiagnosed for years. Symptoms can include fatigue, lethargy, shortness of breath, pale skin , mouth ulcers, sensations of ‘pins and needles’, disturbed vision, impaired mental function and depression. Many of these symptoms are not unique to vitamin B12 deficiency, and not everyone who is diagnosed will experience these symptoms. If you are concerned that you may be deficient you should see your GP, who may wish to carry out a blood test.
A more severe form of vitamin B12 deficiency is called pernicious anaemia. This is an autoimmune disease which occurs due to issues with a specific glycoprotein called intrinsic factor , which is created in the stomach and is necessary to absorb vitamin B12. Pernicious anaemia causes the immune system to attack the cells in the stomach which produce IF. Without IF, vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed and therefore deficiency can occur. Pernicious anaemia is now treated with B12 injections.
Vitamin B12 Foods For Vegetarians
Foods like cereals, milk, rice, nutritional yeast, energy bars, almonds and many more contain Vitamin B12. They all are natural foods for Vitamin B12. These foods also make your skin healthy. In fact, there are also various natural Vitamin B12 gummies and shakes that you can consume at home. Fruits like apple and banana are also Vitamin B12 rich fruits that you can consume. Foods like spinach and cauliflower contain less amount of Vitamin B12 but they are few of the Vitamin B12 vegetables.
Disclaimer: The content provided above is for information purpose. This is no way intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professionals with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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Vitamin B12 And Vegan Diets
B12 is an exceptional vitamin. It is required in smaller amounts than any other known vitamin. Ten micrograms of B12 spread over a day appears to supply as much as the body can use. In the absence of any apparent dietary supply, deficiency symptoms usually take five years or more to develop in adults, though some people experience problems within a year. A very small number of individuals with no obvious reliable source appear to avoid clinical deficiency symptoms for twenty years or more. B12 is the only vitamin that is not recognised as being reliably supplied from a varied wholefood, plant-based diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, together with exposure to sun. Many herbivorous mammals, including cattle and sheep, absorb B12 produced by bacteria in their own digestive system. B12 is found to some extent in soil and plants. These observations have led some vegans to suggest that B12 was an issue requiring no special attention, or even an elaborate hoax. Others have proposed specific foods, including spirulina, nori, tempeh, and barley grass, as suitable non-animal sources of B12. Such claims have not stood the test of time.
Vitamin B12 Intake Necessary For Maintenance Of Normal Vitamin B12 Biomarkers
Approximately 1% of a high oral vitamin B12 dose crosses the intestinal barrier into the blood via simple diffusion , after saturation of IF . Vitamin B12 intake shows a dose-response relationship with blood vitamin B12 markers. We focused here on studies on vitamin B12 biomarkers in relation to vitamin B12 intake in the range below 50 g/d. Studies using therapeutic doses of vitamin B12 are beyond the scope of this review.
In a study among 98 Danish post-menopausal women Bor et al. suggested that an intake of 6 g/d vitamin B12 is sufficient to maintain highest concentrations of vitamin B12 and holoTC, and lowest concentrations of MMA and Hcy with median of 380 pmol/L for vitamin B12, 119 pmol/L for holoTC, 0.12 mol/L for MMA, and 9.8 mol/L for Hcy compared to intakes lower than 6 g/d. A similar study in 299 healthy US adults found that mean levels of vitamin B12 and holoTC were highest in the intake range between 4.2 and 7.0 g/d, while plasma MMA and Hcy reached lowest levels in subjects who achieved an intake of 7.0 g/d .
The increase in plasma vitamin B12 and the decrease in functional markers appear to depend on population characteristics , duration of the intervention, starting plasma concentrations of the vitamin, and the administered dose of crystalized cyanocobalamin, even in non-therapeutic ranges. In general, a daily intake of free cyanocobalamin as low as 1.52.5 g provided for approximately 46 months may increase plasma vitamin B12 by 50100 pmol/L.
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Why The Body Needs Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is actually a whole group of essential vitamins, also called cobalamins. These are important for
- the production of genetic material in our cells, i.e. for growth and development
- the formation of red blood cells
- the function of the nervous system
- the absorption of folic acid and carbohydrates in our food
- vitamin B12 also plays a role in homocysteine metabolism. Homocysteine is considered a risk factor for arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases
A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a specific form of anaemia and nerve damage. In some cases, the damage is permanent.
Could Prevent Significant Congenital Disabilities:
Vitamin B12 levels must be enough for a healthy pregnancy. According to studies, a foetus brain and nervous system require enough vitamin B12 from the mother to develop.
Therefore, vitamin B12 deficiency during the first trimester of pregnancy might raise the chance of birth abnormalities. Such as neural tube defects. Furthermore, a lack of vitamin B12 in the mother may result in a preterm delivery or miscarriage.
According to research, women with vitamin B12 levels below 250 mg/dL are three times more likely to give birth to a child with birth abnormalities.
However, the risk is five times higher for women who have a vitamin B12 deficiency with levels below 150 mg/dL.
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Why Fortified Foods Aren’t Enough
Cornflakes, juice, soy milk, vegan meat substitutes: there are now a number of foods that are fortified with synthetic vitamin B12.
- According to the Vegan Society of Switzerland, however, the quantities in them are small for legal reasons. It is therefore difficult to obtain a sufficient dosage.
- Vitamin B12-enriched toothpaste, which has been on the market for a few years, is also an unreliable source of supply.
Who Should Take A B12 Supplement Or Get Tested
Given the prevalence of deficiencies in the general population, regardless of ones diet, everyone should monitor their vitamin B12 status or take a supplement . This is a deficiency thats usually easy for a medical professional to identify and treat.
For most healthy people with no known deficiency, a blood test including vitamin B12 levels at your annual physical is normally appropriate. Keep in mind that vitamin B12 can be stored in the liver for a few years and keep our blood levels high, even if we are no longer absorbing or consuming enough of it.
Additional tests available to further evaluate and diagnose a suspected B12 deficiency include methyl malonic acid and homocysteine levels .
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The Consequences Of A Vitamin B12
An adequate vitamin B12 intake is particularly important for babies, children and adolescents, i.e. during growth phases. And also for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, because babies need their own supply too. Authorities advise against eating a vegan diet during these «sensitive phases of life», for reasons that include:
- a vitamin B12 deficiency before pregnancy is deemed an independent risk factor for miscarriage or pre-eclampsia.
- newborns may have lower weight or neural tube defects.
- young children may suffer permanent neurological damage.
Important note: women who are pregnant or breast-feeding are best advised to consult their gynaecologist for information on special diets and nutrient supplements.
This text has been checked by medical professionals.
- Swiss Society for Nutrition, SSN
- German Nutrition Society, DGE
- Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, FSVO
- Vegane Gesellschaft Schweiz
These Food Are Not Only Nutritious But Also Are Rich In Vitamin B12 Read On
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to fatigue, dizziness, lethargy and loss of appetite. Vitamin B12 is essential for the body. However, it is not naturally produced by the body. It needs to be extracted and consumed via food. It is involved in red blood cell and DNA production. Vitamin B12 deficiency is widespread as not a lot of people can absorb enough. Elderly people are the target.Also Read – Pale Skin, Weakness, Anxiety: Warning Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency You Should Not Ignore And Why
Dr. Ritika Sammadar, Max Healthcare Saket, New Delhi speaks to NDTV. Dr. Ritika says, Vegans and vegetarians should get medical advice and take multivitamins and B12 supplements on a regular basis to ensure that their bodies are working properly. Vitamin fortified items, such as dairy-free goods, cereals, tofu, and others, can also be included in your vegan diet on a regular basis.Also Read – What is Vitamin B12 And How Important is it For Your Health? Find Out
Here Are The 5 Vitamin B12 Enriched Food That You Should Consume Everyday Also Read – 60% Indian Are Ignoring Early Signs of Poor Nerve Health? Read What Study Says
Eggs are a vital source for including vitamin B12 in your body. To consume vitamin b12, you can try eating eggs for breakfast, salads for lunch and dinner. Eggs also help to increase the nutritional content of soups and stir-fries.
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Dietary Reference Values For Vitamin B12
Several organizations have followed different approaches to set the dietary reference values for vitamin B12 . The dietary reference values for adult men and women aged > 18 years range between 2 and 4 g/d depending on the judgments used. Generally, the increased requirements for vitamin B12 in women during pregnancy and lactation have been acknowledged and translated into higher reference values compared with non-pregnant women. No special intake recommendations exist for elderly people, despite the evidence that vitamin B12 malabsorption and deficiency are common in the elderly. Furthermore, the intake recommendations for infants were mainly based on outdated observational studies and on vitamin B12 content in human breastmilk. Measurement of vitamin B12 in breastmilk has been hampered by methodological problems due to the high milk haptocorrin that interferes with most available assays. In general, the European Food Safety Authority panel defined the Adequate Intake of vitamin B12 based on three indicators of vitamin B12 requirements :
1- Maintenance of heamatological markers in patients with pernicious anemia in a remission phase .
2- Maintenance of the total body stores of vitamin B12 by adjusting the daily requirements for the daily loss of the vitamin. The absorption efficacy of vitamin B12 from foods is assumed to be 40% and the daily loss is between 2 and 6 g/d .
3- Maintenance of normal serum levels of vitamin B12 markers .
Where Does B12 Come From
Vitamin B12 is produced by bacteria, not animals or plants. As such, animals, including humans, must obtain it directly or indirectly from bacteria. It can be found in bacteria-laden manure and unsanitized water, though we obviously should not be consuming either of those things. It can also be found in the human intestinal tract, but its not clear whether sufficient amounts are made and absorbed there to meet our nutritional needs.
Many animal foods contain high amounts of vitamin B12 because they accumulate this bacterial product during their lives, and livestock are often supplemented with vitamin B12 in their feed. These animals are also exposed to manure in their living conditions, with some even being fed manure. In fact, the FDA has reported that most meats are contaminated with fecal bacteria.
In the past, vitamin B12 from bacteria was also naturally and more reliably present in plant foods. Today, however, with modern hygienic practices more effectively cleaning and sanitizing produce, along with soil being exposed to more antibiotics and pesticides, most plant foods are no longer reliable sources of this bacterial product.
Interestingly, some plant foods still contain some vitamin B12, including certain mushrooms and seaweed. And, many plant-based food products, such as cereals, non-dairy milks, and nutritional yeast, are now fortified with a crystalline form of vitamin B12, making them good sources of vitamin B12.
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Benefits Of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a powerhouse of energy. It is very beneficial as it plays various roles from DNA synthesis to the prevention of anemia. In every function of the body, vitamin B12 plays an important role. Below are some important benefits
- Formation of red blood cells
- Prevent major birth defects
- Enhance mood and lowers the depression
- Improve heart health
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Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins your body needs to make new cells each day.
Vitamin B12 deficiency means your body is not getting enough to stay healthy, and as a result you can experience symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
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How Much Of Each Food Do You Need To Reach These Amounts
Most people will be able to meet their vitamin B12 needs through a balanced and varied diet. Some excellent food sources of vitamin B12 include:
100g mussels = 10.6mcg100ml soya milk = 0.4mcg200g yogurt = 0.2mcg
Other good sources include most meats, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals.
Symptoms Of B12 Deficiency
Clinical deficiency can cause anaemia or nervous system damage. Most vegans consume enough B12 to avoid clinical deficiency. Two subgroups of vegans are at particular risk of B12 deficiency: long-term vegans who avoid common fortified foods and breastfed infants of vegan mothers whose own intake of B12 is low.
In adults typical deficiency symptoms include loss of energy, tingling, numbness, reduced sensitivity to pain or pressure, blurred vision, abnormal gait, sore tongue, poor memory, confusion, hallucinations and personality changes. Often these symptoms develop gradually over several months to a year before being recognised as being due to B12 deficiency and they are usually reversible on administration of B12. There is however no entirely consistent and reliable set of symptoms and there are cases of permanent damage in adults from B12 deficiency. If you suspect a problem then get a skilled diagnosis from a medical practitioner as each of these symptoms can also be caused by problems other than B12 deficiency.
Infants typically show more rapid onset of symptoms than adults. B12 deficiency may lead to loss of energy and appetite and failure to thrive. If not promptly corrected this can progress to coma or death. Again there is no entirely consistent pattern of symptoms. Infants are more vulnerable to permanent damage than adults. Some make a full recovery, but others show retarded development.
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More Dairy Foods High In Vitamin B12
- 108% DV in a 16oz glass of low fat milk
- 96% DV in a 16oz glass of whole milk
- 62% DV per cup of non-fat yogurt
- 38% DV per cup of plain yogurt
- 51% DV per cup of hot chocolate
- 48% DV in a 1/4 cup of buttermilk
- 18% DV per 1/2 cup of soft serve ice-cream
See the full list of dairy foods high in vitamin B12.
How Do I Get Vitamin B12 Naturally
Some examples of foods that are high in vitamin B12 are:
- meat, especially beef, chicken and animal liver
- fish and shellfish, especially tuna, sardines and clams
- dairy, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt
- breakfast cereal fortified with vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is not naturally found in fruit, vegetables and grains. If youre on a vegan diet and do not eat animal or dairy products you may be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, and are advised to take supplements as directed by your doctor.
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What Is Vitamin B12
This water-soluble vitamin has many essential functions in your body.
Its necessary for keeping your nerves healthy and supporting the production of DNA and red blood cells, as well as maintaining normal brain function.
The Reference Daily Intake is about 2.4 mcg but slightly higher for pregnant or breastfeeding women .
Vitamin B12 is absorbed in the stomach with the help of a protein called intrinsic factor. This substance binds to the vitamin B12 molecule and facilitates its absorption into your blood and cells.
Your body stores excess vitamin B12 in the liver, so if you consume more than the RDI, your body will save it for future use.
You may develop a vitamin B12 deficiency if your body does not produce enough intrinsic factor, or if you dont eat enough vitamin-B12-rich foods .
Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products, especially meat and dairy products. Luckily for those on vegans diets, fortified foods can be good sources of this vitamin, too (
Lamb, veal, and beef kidneys are also high in vitamin B12. Lamb kidneys provide about 3,000% of the DV per 3.5-ounce serving. They also provide more than 100% of the DV for vitamin B2 and selenium .
A 3.5-ounce serving of lamb, beef, or veal liver contains up to 3,500% of the DV for vitamin B12, while the same serving of kidneys contains up to 3,000% of the DV.