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What are the symptoms of vitamin b12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency Impacts.

Vitamin B12 deficiency causes many bad effects in body, like fatigue, anemia and much more.

So, we present in this article the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Actually, B12 vitamin lack impacts many metabolic processes and body functions.

So, vitamin B12 deficiency is often undetected for a long time. 

Therefore, we reveal here which symptoms can indicate which causes are responsible and how a B12 deficiency can be discovered.

Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 belongs to the group of B vitamins and is also known as cobalamin. 

In total, there are around 3 to 5 milligrams of vitamin B12 in the ► human body

B12 usually stores in liver and sometimes in muscles. 

For who follow a low in vitamin B12 diet, these reserves(liver and ► muscles) are broken down first. 

Therefore, it might takes few months to a year for B12 lack becomes noticeable.

Vitamin B12 Sources
Vitamin B12 Sources

Why humans need vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin because it fulfills a number of important functions in the human organism. It contributes to:

  • Cell division and new cell production.
  • Red blood cell formation.
  • Structure of the nerve cells in the spinal cord.
  • Production of hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Elimination of pollutants such as homocysteine, cyanide, nitric oxide

Vitamin B12 interacts with folic acid in the formation of new cells.

How much vitamin B12 do we need?

  • Adults(from 15 years) : 3.0 µg
  • Infants from 0 to 4 months: 0.4 µg
  • Babies from 4 to 12 months: 0.9 µg
  • Kids from 1 to 4 years: 1.0 µg
  • Children from 4 to 7 years: 1.5 µg
  • School children from 7 to 10 years: 1.8 µg
  • Children from 10 to 13 years: 2.0 µg

Foods high in vitamin B12

Micrograms (µg) per 100 grams.

The following foods are good sources of vitamin B12:

  • Liver (40µg per 100 grams)
  • Veal kidney  (28µg per 100 grams)
  • Beef  (4µg per 100 grams)
  • Salami  (3µg per 100 grams)
  • Chicken  (0.4 µg per 100 grams)
  • Oysters  (15µg per 100 grams)
  • Pollock  (3,5μg per 100 grams)
  • Tuna  (4.2 µg per 100 grams)
  • Mackerel  (9µg per 100 grams)
  • Camembert  (3µg per 100 grams)
  • Emmentaler  (3.1 µg per 100 grams)
  • Brie  (1.7µg per 100 grams)
  • Edam  (2.1µg per 100 grams)
  • Cow’s milk  (0.4 µg per 100 grams)
  • Egg  (1.9 µg per 100 grams)
Vitamin b12 Foods
Vitamin b12 Foods

Vegetable food contains only traces of vitamin B12 as a result of bacterial fermentation such as in cabbage .

Vitamin B12 Deficiency – Symptoms

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to various physical and psychological and spiritual complaints. Some of them can also be life-threatening.

B12 Deficiency: Physical Symptoms

There may be signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency

  • paleness
  • Graying of ► hair and ► hair loss
  • Exhaustion and weakness
  • Susceptibility to infection
  • Tingling or numbness in the limbs
  • Muscle tremors
  • metallic taste in the mouth and burning tongue
  • Inflammation of the mouth, stomach and intestines
  • Indigestion  and loss of appetite

A more pronounced vitamin b12 deficiency can have consequences such as

  • pernicious anemia (anemia)
  • Pain, coordination disorders or impaired fine motor skills due to nerve damage
  • Visual disturbances from damage to the retina
  • Atherosclerosis, heart and cerebral infarction due to increased homocysteine ​​levels
  • Incontinence
  • infertility

B12 deficiency:  Emotional symptoms

Disturbances in the formation of neurotransmitters and hormones can lead to changes such as

  • listlessness
  • Mood swings or depression
  • Difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness
  • Irritability, nervousness, burn-out
  • sleep disorders
  • Drowsiness and confusion
  • Personality disorders, hallucinations and psychoses

Vitamin B12
Vitamin b12 Foods

How does a vitamin B12 deficiency work?

Of course, not all of the symptoms mentioned have to occur, but the more serious the vitamin B12 deficiency, the more serious and irreversible the symptoms of the deficiency become. Because it runs in phases:

  • 1: The vitamin B12 level in the blood drops. Therefore, the body mobilizes vitamin B12 from its stores.
  • 2: Due to the depletion of the vitamin B12 stores in the liver and the body cells, the vitamin B12 level in the blood drops permanently. The first symptoms can appear. These included psychological problems, fatigue, inflammation in the mouth, etc.
  • 3: The low vitamin B12 level causes impairment of various body functions and an increase in the homocysteine ​​level in the blood. This leads to various symptoms and a deterioration in well-being and performance.
  • 4: Severe, partially irreparable (e.g. nerve damage) deficiency symptoms occur. Sometimes more severe physical or psychological symptoms to look for a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency – Causes

A nutrient deficit can have three causes. Either the substance is insufficiently supplied with food. Or there is an increased need for it, which however is not met. Or the organism cannot absorb enough of the substance or cannot (correctly) use it, even if it is consumed at least in the recommended amount. It is the same with vitamin B12.

Cause 1: insufficient feed

Since the need can almost only be met with animal foods, vegans in particular , who fear the consumption of any food of animal origin, have a B12 deficiency. But too unbalanced diet can also lead to it.

Cause 2: increased demand or consumption

Pregnant and breastfeeding women need more vitamin B12 than usual. Even athletes . Likewise smokers , because they need it to neutralize the cyanide contained in the smoke. In addition, people who undergo operations or the necessary anesthesia, because vitamin B12 is used to detoxify the nitrogen compounds used for anesthesia.

And those that are exposed to environmental toxins such as B. are exposed to heavy metals. Or severe stress such as B. with strong physical and mental strain or in crisis situations, because stress leads to a reduced blood flow to the digestive organs. Both of these make it difficult to absorb vitamin B12. Apart from that, the production of stress hormones depletes the vitamin B12 reserves.

Cause 3: disturbed recording

Vitamin B12 is absorbed through certain binding sites in the last section of the small intestine. This requires the intrinsic factor, a special glycoprotein produced by the parietal cells in the stomach. It forms a complex with the vitamin and thus protects it from being destroyed in the duodenum. An intact digestive tract is therefore important for an adequate vitamin B12 supply. To impairments that can cause deficiency B12 vitamin, including about

  • Infections : such as with the fish tapeworm, because the pathogen consumes the vitamin for its own metabolic processes
  • Inflammation , e.g. gastritis , Crohn’s disease
  • Operations , e.g. gastrectomy (removal of the stomach), partial resection of the intestine
  • reduced production of stomach acid , as this is necessary for the release of vitamin B12 from food
  • Disorders of the pancreas or liver
  • bacterial overgrowth of the gut
  • Malabsorption syndromes, e.g., celiac disease
  • displacement of vitamin B12 by vitamin B12 analogues (e.g. from spirulina algae), pseudo-vitamin B12 molecules that are similar to B12, but are ineffective and even harmful

An uptake disorder can also be triggered by the use of alcohol, drugs or certain medications such as acid blockers, antidiabetics (metformin), antibiotics, psychotropic drugs, statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) or hormone preparations. Or through a high consumption of sugar or coffee.

How do you recognize a vitamin B12 deficiency? diagnosis

The first medical contact person if you suspect a vitamin B12 deficiency is your family doctor . After taking an anamnesis, he will refer you to a laboratory, where various tests are carried out.

Determining the concentration of vitamin B12 in the blood  alone is not enough. Because the result contains vitamin B12 (vitamin B12 analogues) that cannot be used by the body. This means: Even if the vitamin B12 level is in the upper normal range, there may be a deficiency in the cells.

Holo TC test

The Holo-TC-Test (measurement of holotranscobalamin) measures the actually biologically usable vitamin B12. But even this does not provide any information about the vitamin B12 content in cells and body stores. However, there is disagreement among the researchers as to the question of the level at which a vitamin deficiency should be considered.

MMA test

The determination of the concentrations of those metabolic products that change in the event of a cellular vitamin B12 deficiency, such as methylmalonic acid in particular, is also more effective. There is only one vitamin B12-dependent metabolic pathway for their conversion. Measurement of methylmalonic acid in the blood or urine therefore provides a reliable indication of whether there is a functional vitamin B12 deficiency.

Further investigations

In order to track down the cause of a proven vitamin B12 deficit, further examinations are often required. For example, a gastroscopy and / or colonoscopy , a stool culture for the detection of worm eggs, etc. Is z. If, for example, the assumption that an impaired absorption in the intestine is the reason for this, the so-called Schilling test provides clarity. Radiolabelled vitamin B12 is taken, which then appears in the urine, provided that the intestine has absorbed it.

Since folic acid is released from the cells into the blood when there is a deficiency of vitamin B12 , so that the cells are depleted of folic acid, while the folic acid level is in the normal range, both vitamins should always be determined in blood tests.

How is vitamin B12 deficiency treated? therapy

The complex processes involved in absorbing vitamin B12 can make it difficult to meet vitamin B12 needs through diet. Therefore, the therapy of a proven vitamin B12 deficiency consists in the intake of vitamin B12 preparations. They should contain a mix of natural forms of vitamin B12, but there are also artificial ones. Your dosage depends on whether you simply have an increased requirement, a vitamin deficit or already significant deficiency symptoms.

The choice of dosage form is based on the severity of the vitamin deficiency. If the vitamin stores need to be replenished quickly, injections or infusions can be used. As a rule, however, oral preparations (tablets, capsules) are sufficient.

When using dietary supplements, experts recommend using a complex with all eight B vitamins , including folic acid, because their areas of action overlap and interact.

How can a vitamin B12 deficiency be prevented? prevention

Vegans and lacto- (ovo-) vegetarians are particularly at risk for a vitamin B12 deficiency . Since beer, sauerkraut and bread drink as well as fermented soy products are the few vegetable sources for this, they should be regularly on their menu. Alternatively, you can prevent the deficiency with foods enriched with vitamins and nutritional supplements.

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