We are all busy chasing after our dreams. We try to maintain a healthy diet. However, sometimes in spite of the best efforts, we cannot fulfil our body’s requirements. There are some deficiencies the body develops, one of them is the deficiency of vitamin B12.

Why do we need vitamin B 12?

B12, like other vitamins is necessary for the body to function normally. There are many forms of the vitamin and contains cobalt.

It plays an active part in red blood cell formation and also for the synthesis of DNA.  It helps to keep nerves strong.  B12 is attached to proteins. The acids in the stomach help separate the vitamin from the protein. Itthen attaches to proteins in the stomach called intrinsic factor. This enters the body through absorption. Adults need 2.4mcg of B12 every day.

Obtaining B12 is very difficult for vegetarians as it is mainly found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy products. Some foods like maybe breakfast cereals can have added B12.

Up to 8 from 10 Indians might suffer from B12 deficiency.

Deficiency symptoms

Deficiency of this vitamin can be due to many reasons. The food you eat might not have enough B12. The body may not secrete enough stomach acids or intrinsic factor. Another reason could be pernicious anemia. In this, the number of red blood cells decrease as the intestines don’t absorb B12 properly.

Less amounts of this vitamin in the body can cause –

  • Weakness or lightheadedness
  • Constipation, gas or diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Memory problems and confusion
  • Vision issues
  • Nerve problems and muscle weakness
  • Hair fall and brittle hair

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also be the result of other serious ailments like Crohn’s disease, lupus, Graves’ disease, long term use of antacids etc.  If there is a vitamin D3 deficiency, vitamin B12 also drops.

Treatment

Mostly, tablets with Vitamin B12 are prescribed. Multivitamins can also help, however, in serious cases, patients may take injections.

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