Regular vitamin intake is crucial for the body’s proper functioning. However, vitamin B12 and folic acid are the most important nutrients for the body due to their effect on key processes in the system.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a lot of trouble and lead to conditions such as megaloblastic anemia. The vitamin is also vital for normal development of the red blood cells and nerve cells. The red blood cells are formed in the bone marrow. When they are formed with insufficient levels of vitamin B12, they have an irregular shape and form and cannot perform even the most basic functions like transportation of oxygen to the organs and tissues.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms
The usual symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are anxiety, concentration issues, eczema, dermatitis, fungal infections, malaise, fatigue and muscle aches. If the deficit is severe, can cause serious nerve disorders or severe spinal cord nerve damage, leading to paralysis. Anemia can also be a result of vitamin B12 deficiency.
The troubles caused by the deficiency start by weakness, followed by fatigue, faster heart rate and pale face. Then, you will start to lose appetite, and you will experience bloating along diarrhea. A burning sensation on the tongue is not uncommon in these cases, especially when taking sour foods. Depression and mood changes, memory disorders, paresthesia, numbness and tingling can also be symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
If the lack of vitamin B12 goes on for a longer period, brain damage and bleeding are possible, along with an increase in the homocysteine levels, which leads to increased risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease. About 70% of Alzheimer’s disease patients have been diagnosed with lack of vitamin B12.
Daily dosage of vitamin B12
According to the chemical structure, this vitamin is complex and the only vitamin that contains cobalt as well as essential mineral elements that are crucial for biological activity. It’s very important for production of DNA, RNA and myelin, a substance that provides the protective sheath around the nerves.
Here’s the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12:
Babies (0-3 years old) – 0.9 mcg.
Younger children (4-8) – 1.2 mcg.
Children (9-14) – up to 1.8 mcg.
Children (14+) – up to 2.4 mcg.
Pregnant women – 2.6 mcg.
Breastfeeding women – 2.8 mcg.
Adults – up to 3 mcg.
Clinical deficiency of vitamin B12 occurs when the overall levels drop to 10% of the normal amount. Most people intake this vitamin through food, by regular consumption of meat, milk, cheese and eggs. The most important factor, however, is the correct absorption of vitamin B12, and for this to occur the stomach and the gastrointestinal tract need to be completely healthy.
Foods rich in vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is usually found in animal products, as well as foods that contain lactic acid. It can also be found in plants, although in smaller amounts. Vegetarians need to eat a grain rich diet, soy products and brewer’s yeast as they often lack this vitamin. Red beets and some types of grains also contain vitamin B12.
Sauerkraut is also a good source of the vitamin, and the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12 is 3 mg. Excessive intake of the vitamin will not cause hypervitaminosis since B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. The digestive tract cannot absorb it well, so it must be combined with calcium. Eating a healthy diets including the foods we mentioned will maintain the levels of vitamin B12 without the need for supplements.
Why is vitamin B12 so beneficial?
This amazing vitamin is crucial for the production of erythrocytes (red blood cells), and plays a vital role in converting fats, carbohydrates and proteins into energy. It can treat nerve disorders, has anti-tumor properties, improves the concentration and memory, maintains the alertness and reduces irritability and balance, which is why it’s called the “power vitamin”.
Vitamin B12 prevents anemia and stimulates appetite in children. It can reduce the discomfort during and prior to menstruation, and it also lowers the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that damages the walls of arteries and increases the risk of heart diseases. To absorb it properly, you must have a healthy stomach and digestive tract. H. Pylori is the main adversary of a healthy stomach, causing infection in the mucous membranes and ulcers.
If you are diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, you need to act immediately and adjust your diet accordingly. In cases of a more serious deficit, you must consult a doctor for the best possible treatment.