What Are The Causes Of Low Vitamin B12 Or Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Deficiency of Vitamin B12 occurs in certain conditions which include:
- Pernicious anemia in which the body is unable to absorb vitamin B12 leading to its low levels.
- Atrophic gastritis where there is thinning of the stomach lining.
- Conditions that affect the small intestine, such as celiac disease, Crohns disease, parasite or a bacterial growth.
- Surgery where a part of the small intestine or stomach has been removed, such as weight loss surgery.
- Immune system disorders, such as lupus or Graves disease.
- Heavy alcohol consumption.
- Prolonged use of acid-reducing drugs, as stomach acids help in breaking down of the animal proteins which have vitamin B12.
- Vegans or vegetarians can also get vitamin B12 deficiency as they do not consume animal products such as meat, cheese, milk and eggs.
- Pregnant mothers who are vegetarians need to take vitamin B12 supplements or consume vitamin B12-fortified grains to ensure that their babies will be getting sufficient vitamin B12.
- As a person ages, the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency also increases.
What Do The B Vitamins Do In The Body
thiamin â helps turn carbohydrates and sugar into energy, plays a key role in nerve, muscle and heart function, and is essential for a healthy brain
riboflavin â important for energy release, helps the body to absorb nutrients, including iron, and is crucial for healthy eyes, skin and nervous system8
niacin â helps release energy from food, keeps the nervous and digestive systems healthy, and is essential for normal growth and healthy skin9
pantothenic acid â helps the body turn protein and fat into energy, and is needed for healthy growth10
pyridoxine â helps break down protein from food, reduces tiredness and fatigue, and is essential for healthy red blood cells and nervous system11
biotin â helps the body break down nutrients from food and process glucose, maintain mucous membranes, and keeps skin and nails healthy12
folate/folic acid â essential during pregnancy to help prevent neural tube defects in babies, helps maintain healthy red blood cells, and contributes to reduction of fatigue13
vitamin B12 â vital for the nervous and immune systems, helps fight tiredness and fatigue, and needed for healthy DNA14
Produces Red Blood Cells
Some B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, play an essential role in red blood cell formation. Healthy red blood cells are needed to transport oxygen to every part of the body. When there is a vitamin B12 deficiency, the body cannot produce enough red blood cells and anemia can occur.
Vitamin B2 is also needed for red blood cell production and growth, as is vitamin B9. While vitamin B5 plays a role in red blood cell production, it also helps reduce the amount of cholesterol produced by the body. And vitamin B6, which is required for more than 100 different enzyme reactions in the body, aids in the formation of hemoglobin, which also allows red blood cells to carry oxygen through the blood.
B vitamins involved: B2, B5, B6, B9, B12
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What Does Vitamin B
Thiamine: A vitamin workhorse
Thiamine is an essential nutrient that all tissues of the body need to function properly. Thiamine was the first B vitamin that scientists discovered. This is why its name carries the number 1. Like the other B vitamins, thiamine is water-soluble and helps the body turn food into energy. You can find it in:
- individual supplements
The body needs thiamine to make adenosine triphosphate . This is a molecule that transports energy within cells.
A thiamine deficiency can impact many different functions of your body, including those of the:
- nervous system
Thankfully, thiamine deficiency is uncommon in the developed world. Thiamine deficiency is rare in healthy adults. Its more common in people with specific medical conditions. Conditions that can impair thiamine levels include:
People who are undergoing dialysis for their kidneys or taking loop diuretics are also at risk for thiamine deficiency. Loop diuretics are prescribed for people with congestive heart failure. They can flush thiamine out of the body, possibly canceling out any health benefits. The heart relies on thiamine to function properly. People who take digoxin and phenytoin should also be careful.
Scientists have looked at thiamine as a possible treatment for:
Mechanisms Of Action And Functions Of B Vitamins
B vitamins act as coenzymes in a substantial proportion of the enzymatic processes that underpin every aspect of cellular physiological functioning. As a coenzyme the biologically active form of the vitamin binds within a protein apoenzyme creating a holoenzyme, thereby increasing the resultant enzymes competence in terms of the diversity of reactions that it can catalyse . In this role, the B vitamins play key interacting roles in the majority of cellular functions. As an example of their ubiquity, the primary bioactive form of vitamin B6, pyridoxal 5-phosphate, is an essential cofactor in the functioning of over 140 separate ubiquitous enzymes required for the synthesis, degradation, and interconversion of amino acids , whereas the active coenzyme form of pantothenic acid, coenzyme A , is an obligatory co-factor for approximately 4% of all mammalian enzymes . Less often B vitamins also function as direct precursors for metabolic substrates for example, CoA is also acetylated to form acetyl-CoA, an intermediate compound in both the generation of cellular energy and the synthesis of multiple bioactive compounds. Similarly, niacin is a precursor for ADP-ribose, which functions in multiple non-enzymatic cellular roles.
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Vitamin B6 For Sustained Vigor
Do any of the B vitamins work harder than B6? B6 or pyridoxine helps with muscle repair, combating anemia, brain function and much more. More importantly, B6 converts proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to glucose. The vitamin manages energy use too and prolonged energy can be expected when taking a B6 supplement.
Take Vitamin B5 For Healthy Hormones
All people age 14 and older should get 5 mg of vitamin B5 each day, according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. You can find vitamin B5 in vegetables of the cabbage family, such as broccoli and kale, as well as in avocado. In addition, whole-grain cereals, potatoes, dairy, and organ meats are good sources. This type of B vitamin is needed for many of the biochemical reactions that go on in our cells each day, including the breakdown of carbohydrates and lipids for energy. Because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, you need vitamin B5 in your diet every day. Pantothenic acid is necessary for our bodies to produce hormones, and it’s also needed for growth.
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Avoid Anemia With Vitamin B12
Adults need only 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12, also called cyanocobalamin, each day. Pregnant or breastfeeding teens and women need more: 2.6 to 2.8 mcg daily. Vitamin B12 is not naturally occurring in plant foods, so vegetarians and vegans may not get enough in their diets and may need to take a B supplement. Natural sources rich in vitamin B12 are dairy products, fish, meat, and in particular beef liver and clams. This type of vitamin B can also be found in fortified items like breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast.
Vitamin B12 is essential for building blood cells and maintaining healthy nerve cells in the body. As many as 15 percent of people in the United States have a vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to anemia. Symptoms of B12 deficiency include weakness, fatigue, constipation, weight loss, and loss of appetite. Deficiency is also damaging to the nervous system and can cause depression, confusion, and dementia.
B Vitamins Have Many Positive Affects On Our Bodies
B Vitamins are so important they are one of the few nutrients the federal government mandates to be added to foods.
The problem: You cannot rely on food for enough B vitamin. Intense heat, slow cooking, light, baking soda and baking powder all destroy B vitamins.
Everytime you eat carbs B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-6, phosphorous, and magnesium are required to metabolize them. The last 4 are not replaced by “enrichment” of foods so the body must use its own reserves.
Pantothenic Acid, gets taken from the nerve and muscle tissue Pyridoxine is taken from the Brain Phosphorous and Magnesium are taken from the heart and bones.
Deplete the body of these compounds and you weaken the nerve and muscle tissue which could result in nerve problems and loss of muscle tone. The loss of brain tissue will affect your memory. Phosphorous depletion will weaken muscle and rhythm function, affecting the rhythm of the heart.
Processed food removes these B vitamins and enrichment does not add them in a way that our body can use.
I am not trying to scare you but maybe its time to start doing something to help your body. Do something to boost your health.
Here’s to your health!
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Do You Need Vitamin B12 Injections
If you eat a well-balanced diet that includes foods rich in vitamin B12, then it is unlikely that youll need to take additional B12.
For most people, dietary sources provide everything that is needed. However, people who are at risk of deficiency will probably need to take supplements.
In these cases, oral supplements may be as effective as injections for many people.
Some experts point out that regular injections should only be used as a last resort if supplements dont work or if deficiency symptoms are serious.
Vitamin B Deficiency Diseases And Conditions
Vitamin B deficiency can increase the risk of various diseases and conditions which can affect your heart health, brain health, mental well-being, and more. For example, both B9 and B12 deficiency causes anemia in some cases â a condition in which your body lacks healthy red blood cells . Anemia can also lead to fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and even numbness and tingling in some cases.
Other conditions linked with vitamin B deficiency include:
- Paresthesias â A âpins-and-needlesâ feeling often experienced around the arms, hands, legs, or feet
- Peripheral neuropathy â A nervous system condition that is often felt as a stabbing or burning pain
- Psychosis â A mental condition in which oneâs thoughts and perceptions are significantly altered, resulting in delusions, hallucinations, nonsense speech, or other symptoms
- Heart attack and stroke â A deficiency in vitamin B12 may heighten the risk of getting a heart attack or stroke
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May Reduce Stress And Boost Mood
B-complex vitamins are often used to reduce fatigue and boost mood.
Some studies suggest that B-complex vitamins can lift your spirits and improve your cognitive performance.
A 33-day study in 215 healthy men found that treatment with a high-dose B-complex and mineral supplement improved general mental health and stress and enhanced performance on cognitive tests .
Another study in young adults showed that supplementing with a multivitamin containing high levels of B-complex vitamins for 90 days reduced stress and mental fatigue .
Choosing The Right Vitamin B
A doctor may recommend a certain type of this supplement, depending on a persons health needs.
Some vitamin and supplement companies use independent quality testing of their products. Those that pass may have a seal of approval from an independent testing organization.
This seal does not guarantee that the product is 100-percent safe or effective for everyone, but it means that the product contains what is listed on the label without contaminants.
Some testing organizations and their certifications include:
- ConsumerLab.coms approved quality product seal
- NSF Internationals dietary supplement certification
- the verified mark of The United States Pharmacopeial Convention, or USP
In most cases, vitamin B does not interact negatively with other medications. However, certain medicines can make a vitamin B deficiency more likely.
These are some examples of medications that can result in low levels of specific B vitamins:
- Blood pressure drugs and chemotherapy drugs can lower a persons B-1 levels.
- Antiseizure medications used for epilepsy can lower B-3, B-6, and B-9 levels.
- Drugs that treat tuberculosis can cause low levels of B-3 and B-6.
- Certain cancer drugs can lower B-9 levels.
- Certain drugs that treat ulcerative colitis can cause low levels of vitamin B-9.
- Certain antibiotics and medicines for ulcers, diabetes, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, may lower B-12 levels.
Avocados are a major source of B vitamins.
Some of the best food sources of B vitamins include:
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Spotlight On Three Of The Bs: Folate Vitamin B6 And Vitamin B12
One of the advances that changed the way we look at vitamins was the discovery that too little folate is linked to birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
Folate Vitamin B9
Another line of research about folate and two other B vitamins, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, explores their roles in reducing some types of cancer and heart disease.
Do I Need Vitamin B Supplements
Lots of people take vitamin supplements, but there is no good evidence that they help unless you have a vitamin deficiency, which is very unlikely in a healthy person. Australias best guide to how to eat healthily the Australian Dietary Guidelines doesnt recommend them.
Vitamin supplements are expensive. They are best taken only on a doctors advice.
Most people get the vitamins they need from a healthy diet, which has a wide variety of foods, including:
- plenty of vegetables, of different types and colours, and legumes/beans
- grain foods, mostly wholegrain, and/or high cereal fibre varieties such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
- lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds
- milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat
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Reap The Health Benefits Of B Vitamins
Good nutrition is tied to good health, as well as to the prevention and treatment of many conditions. Getting the recommended amounts of vitamins each day is an important part of the nutrition equation, and B vitamins are essential for preventive care. Abundant in green vegetables, whole or enriched grains, dairy, and meats, B vitamins help promote a healthy metabolism and are also linked to a reduced risk of stroke, research shows.
Take vitamin B12, for example. According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin B12, a water-soluble vitamin, plays a significant role in nerve function, the formation of red blood cells, and the production of DNA. While most people get plenty of vitamin B12 benefits in a varied, balanced diet, if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. Also, elderly adults and people with GI disorders lack adequate B12.
- Weakened immune system
Its been known that some people with B vitamin deficiencies experience depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Folate is in the forefront of mood management. Findings show that many people with depression have lower levels of folate in the blood. Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, peanuts, and other legumes, and citrus fruits. The Food and Drug Administration began requiring manufacturers to add folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, cornmeal, pasta, rice, and other grain products in 1998.
Many People Are Deficient
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is 6 micrograms per day.
Deficiency is common, especially in people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
In fact, its thought that up to 90% of people following these diets have a deficiency .
This is because B12 is only found naturally in animal foods.
However, vegans and vegetarians are not the only ones who are deficient. Even some meat eaters dont absorb it very well .
Unlike other vitamins, the absorption of vitamin B12 depends on a protein produced in your stomach, called intrinsic factor.
Intrinsic factor binds to vitamin B12, so that you can absorb it into the blood. People who dont produce enough intrinsic factor can become deficient.
Deficiency is particularly common in elderly people, because the ability to absorb vitamin B12 can decrease with age .
Other people at risk of deficiency include those who have had intestinal surgery, including weight loss surgery. Those with diseases that affect the gut, such as Crohns disease or celiac disease, are also at risk .
Those at greatest risk of vitamin B12 deficiency are vegans and vegetarians, who get little to no B12 from the diet. Deficiency can also be caused by poor absorption.
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B Vitamin Deficiencies In Developed Societies
A general assumption tends to be made that the populations of developed countries have adequate nutrition, and are therefore free from deficiencies in essential micronutrients. In order to encourage adequate nutrition, governments typically define a set of dietary reference intakes or similar for individual nutrients. These always include something akin to the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA. These government figures describe the minimum daily intake of the specific nutrient that is considered to be sufficient to meet the nutritional requirement of the majority of the healthy population. However, meeting the requirements in this context typically refers to simply preventing chronic, nutrition related diseases or a disease state related to a specific deficiency of that nutrient .
What Does Vitamin B12 Do For You
Vitamin B12 does multiple things for our body. It ensures proper function and health of brain, nerve tissue and production of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 also helps in regulation and synthesis of DNA along with helping with the metabolism of the body. It helps in energy production by helping with folic acid absorption and also helps in synthesis of fatty acids. Millions of red blood cells are produced by the human body every minute, however, without sufficient vitamin B12, the RBCs cannot multiply properly. Low levels of vitamin B12 decreases the production of red blood cells and results in anemia.
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