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Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, cobalamin deficiency, signs of vitamin b12 deficiencies, causes of vitamin b12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 is unusual for a vitamin in that it contains cobalt. The other name of Vitamin B12, cobalamin, derives from “cobal”.

Why vitamin B12 is so important

You need Vitamin B12 to process the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in food we eat into energy. Vitamin B12 plays great role for nerve function, synthesis of DNA and RNA, metabolism of energy, enzyme reactions, and production of red blood cells.
It also forms the protective covering of nerve cells and keeps red blood cells healthy, and helps prevent heart disease.
It is also important for heart, male infertility, and prevention of neural tube defects, asthma, and cancer prevention.

Causes of vitamin B12 deficiency

Deficiency of vitamin B12 is not usually from lack of intake, but rather from lack of absorption.
It is common among the elderly and those with poor diets, pernicious anemia, depression, Alzheimer’s, or malabsorption conditions (celiac disease). Vitamin B12 and other B vitamins may be deficient in older people depending on medical conditions, and prescription drug use.
Inadequate hydrochloric acid in the stomach will prevent vitamin B12 from being released from dietary proteins so it cannot be utilized. Lack of intrinsic factor can also prevent absorption.
Pernicious anemia results from inadequate absorption of vitamin B12, which can be caused by damaged stomach cells. It is most common in those over 60 years of age.

Pregnant women with deficiency of Vitamin B12 have increased risk of giving birth to a child with neural tube defects.
Vegetarians who eat no animal products are often at risk of cobalamin deficiency.

Vitamin B12 supplements are recommended for those over age 50, vegetarians, women planning to become pregnant, those with poor diets, and those at risk of heart disease

Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency

The main symptom of classic vitamin B12 deficiency is anemia. Long before anemia sets in, though, marginal vitamin B12 deficiency leads to depression, confused thinking, and other mental symptoms that look a lot like senility.
Deficiency of vitamin B12 first shows as a paralysis that begins in the extremities and moves inward.

Correct identification of vitamin B12 deficiency can prevent permanent paralysis and nerve damage. Remember that there are no symptoms of anemia when folate levels are high and only the vitamin B12 levels are low.

Common signs of B12 deficiency are anemia, appetite loss, constipation, numbness and tingling in the extremities, and confusion.

It may take several years to develop deficiency symptoms as vitamin B12 is efficiently recycled.

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