Due to our stressful lives every day, we cannot avoid having vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Not just that, this is also because of picking the wrong choice of foods, and the lack of needs we’re supposed to get. We may never realize that we’re getting weaker each day because of such deficiencies and lack of nutrients, which may lead to unexpected and deadly health conditions.
Studies shows that one out of four adults lack cobalamin or which is commonly called as vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is important for our health. It’s a vitamin only found in certain foods and it’s vital to consume such foods that contains this type of vitamin since our bodies can’t produce vitamin B12 on its own.
Our body contains reserves that resides in the liver. In the long run, gradual exhaustion of these reserves can result to vitamin deficiency and may lead to various different consequences. These reserves may slowly deplete as the years go by and during this time, symptoms may start to show because of deficiency.
In this article, we’re going to tackle about this issue so that you can identify when the symptoms may start to appear so that you’ll be able to remedy the situation before it’s too late. The lack of vitamin B12 is a long process and symptoms may appear longer than expected, some of these symptoms may take even years before they start to appear.
Lack of Intrinsic Factor
- The intrinsic factor is a molecule found in the stomach which helps the absorption of vitamin B12 into the large intestine. In order for the vitamin B12 and the intrinsic factor to combine together, the stomach must produce a normal degree of acidity for it to happen. Pernicious anemia can also occur when there is a lack of intrinsic factor.
Low Acidity in the Stomach
- 65% of older people experience a deficiency in vitamin B12 because of the lack of gastric acidity. As we age, stomach cells produce less gastric acid which also results to less intrinsic factor.
- Taking Metformin treatment to treat diabetes may risk yourself of having vitamin B12 deficiency.
- The antibodies will bind into the intrinsic factor making it impossible for vitamin B12 to synthesize. This is the causes of such diseases like Graves diseases, thyroid, vitiligo, and among others.
Chronic Intestinal Disease
- Chronic intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or celiac disease can prevent the vitamin B12 to enter through intestinal walls. Taking vitamin supplements may prevent such deficiencies. But in the case of celiac disease, having a gluten-free diet can help the absorption of vitamin B12 come back to normal. Other diseases such as chronic pancreatitis or parasite infestation can also cause vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Certain surgeries made on the stomach or large intestine can also cause vitamin B12 deficiency. That’s why patients are given vitamin B12 supplements after the work is done to prevent it.
- Anemia is also one of the reasons why vitamin B12 deficiency may happen. But this situation is uncommon since it only requires small amounts of the vitamin to cover the needs of such organism. On the bright side, vitamin B12 has the ability to generate important reserves that can cover the needs of our body for up to 3 to 4 years.
- For those people following a strict vegetarian regime, they might suffer from long-term anemia unless they cover their needs for vitamin B12. Study shows that 92% of vegetarians/vegans have vitamin B12 deficiency. In order to prevent this, they must take supplements just to sustain themselves.
- Anemia due to lack of vitamin B12 will happen slowly and insidiously. But this can be treated easily and quickly. The symptoms may weaken during the first days of treatment. And after a few weeks, they’ll be completely gone.
- It’s crucial to treat this type of anemia as soon as possible or else the neurological symptoms such as numbness/tingling in the extremities, walking disorders, mood swings, pressure, psychosis, dementia may appear. Although the symptoms will disappear after 6 months, they may leave unexpected aftershocks.
The good part is, by having a balanced diet, you can quickly prevent having this vitamin deficiency. It’s advisable to consume foods that contains lots of vitamin B12 such as:
- Pork lever, veal, and lamb.
- Fish and seafood such as: crab, clams, mackerel, sardines, herring, salmon.
- Cheese such as: Parmesan cheese, Swiss cheese.
- Chicken breast
Eating the foods listed above can help you prevent having vitamin B12 deficiency since it contains high amounts of protein and Omega3. Now that you know the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, it’s time to prepare yourself just in case you may be experiencing such symptoms.