Who are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, and is named cobalamin because it has the element cobalt in its structure.

Vitamin B12 maintains healthy nervous system and assists with blood cell formation.

Deficiency of cobalamin may cause eczma, dandruff, hair loss, skin disorders, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, confusion, mental depression, drowsiness, and hallucinations.

Usually bound to protein in foods (as in meat and eggs), cobalamin is released in digestion. Intrinsic Factor, a substance made by cells that line the stomach, binds to cobalamin, and this complex of cobalamin and intrinsic factor is then absorbed in the small intestine.

Some people cannot make enough intrinsic factor to bind with cobalamin, and as a result, they absorb very little vitamin B12 in the digestive tract. Over time, this can develop into a disorder called pernicious anemia.
Pernicious anemia takes time to develop because the liver stores enough vitamin B12 to last.

But if none, or very little vitamin B12, is absorbed through the diet, it will take about a year or so for the liver’s reserves of vitamin B12 to be depleted.

Another way to develop vitamin B12 deficiency is to not take in enough foods that provide vitamin B12. This can occur to strict vegetarians who neglect to supplement their diet with vitamin B12.
It’s important to understand that vegetarians who are thinking about pregnancy need to start vitamin B12 supplementation long before they become pregnant.

Infants of vegetarian moms have limited stores of vitamin B12 and can develop a deficiency within months of birth. So it is important that vegetarian moms who breastfeed their infants take vitamin B12 supplement. Untreated deficiency of vitamin B12 in babies can result in severe and permanent neurological (nerve) damage.

Many older adults are marginally deficient in cobalamin. Smokers, people who have been taking some prescription drug are also at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Most persons that have low levels and diets poor in vitamin B12 would do well to supplement B12 daily.


Vitamin B9 or Folic acid deficiency

Vitamin B9 also is known as folate when it occurs in foods or as folic acid when present in supplements or added to foods.

Vitamin B9 plays important role in cell growth, division, amino acid metabolism, enzyme reactions, and production of RNA, DNA, and red blood cells; prevents birth defects and heart disease.

Folate may also play a role in cancer and birth defects prevention; used for heart health (lowers homocysteine).

Folic acid deficiency symptoms

Shortage of folic acid is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies, especially among women.

Folic acid deficiency affects the growth and repair of your body’s tissues. The tissues that have fastest rate of cell replacement are the first ones to be affected. Blood and digestive tract are where the signs of deficiency will most likely first appear. People deficient in folic acid have some of these symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Malnutrition from poor nutrient absorption
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Sore tongue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Heart palpitations

At risk of folate deficiencies are pregnant and breastfeeding women; alcoholics; smokers; people over age 65.

Mild deficiency is likely for people who eat only institutional food. For example, nursing home residents. That’s because the folic acid in food is easily destroyed by processing, overcooking, or reheating.

Natural sources of Vitamin B9 (folate)

Dark-green leafy vegetables, liver, orange juice, beans, avocados, beets. Other sources include fruit and enriched grains.

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Vitamin B7 or Biotin deficiency

Vitamin B7 or Biotin like any good member of the vitamin B complex works closely with other B’s, especially folic acid, pantothenic acid, and cobalamin. Main function of biotin is energy metabolism.

Biotin involved in the synthesis of fat, glycogen, and amino acids and enzyme reactions. It required for DNA replication and is important for healthy hair and nails.

Biotin for hair and nails

Many hair amd nail care products now contain biotin, claiming that it helps make healthy hair and prevent balding and graying. It’s true that you need biotin for healthy hair and that severe biotin deficiency causes hair loss.

The biotin in a shampoo or conditioner isn’t likely to do much for you, though.

Hair lost from biotin deficiency grows back when you fix the problem, but hair lost from natural balding is gone for good.

Biotin is made by the bacteria living in healthy large intestines. The wall of the large intestine has a specialized process for the uptake of biotin. This may be one reason why biotin deficiency is so rare.

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Causes of Biotin deficiency

Deficiency of biotin has been noted in prolonged intravenous feeding where biotin was omitted. The only other example of biotin deficiency is from long-term consumption of raw egg whites.

Biotin can bind to avadin, a protein found in egg whites. Cooking inactivates this bond, so cooked egg whites do not bind biotin.

Deficiency can result from a genetic lack of biotinidase, an enzyme that releases biotin from small proteins. This lack of biotinidase is a rare hereditary disorder.

Pregnant women may be at risk for borderline biotin deficiency. The developing fetus requires more biotin than is sometimes available.

Biotin deficiency symptoms include hair loss; scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genital area; depression; lethargy; hallucination; numbness and tingling of the extremities; and impaired glucose utilization and immune system function.

Food sources of Biotin

Biotin is found in many foods, but the best sources are beef liver and brewer’s yeast. Egg yolks, nuts, and whole grains are also good sources.

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Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) deficiency

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is unusual as a B vitamin in that it is so extensively stored in muscle tissue.

Why we need Vitamin B6

We need Pyridoxine for protein and fat metabolism, hormone function (estrogen and testosterone), and the production of red blood cells, niacin, and neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine).

In other words we need pyridoxine to turn the proteins we eat into the proteins our body needs. We need it to convert carbohydrates from the form we store them in into the form which can be used for energy.

Pyridoxine play a lot of different roles in your body, but the first place a deficiency shows up is usually your immune system—you get sick more.

Vitamin B6 deficiency

Deficiency of Pyridoxine is uncommon. If you’re low on pyridoxine, you’re probably also low on the other B’s, usually from poor diet.
Alcoholics are at risk of Vitamin B6 deficiency. Also at risk are pregnant or breastfeeding women; strict vegetarian or vegan and smokers.

Vitamin B6 deficiency causes depression and confusion, and, in extreme deficiency, brain wave abnormalities and convulsions.

Pyridoxine deficiency symptoms are nervousness, eczma, insomnia, irritability, migraine.

Natural sources of Pyridoxine

The best source of pyridoxine in your food is high-quality protein: chicken, pork, beef, fish, milk, dairy products, and eggs. Milk, dairy products, and eggs have less pyridoxine than fish and other meats, but they’re still good sources. Also, pyridoxine is added to flour, corn meal, breakfast cereals, and many baked goods.

Vitamin B6 is easily destroy by heat and can be leached out by cooking water.





Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid deficiency

Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid is useful to the body through many ways. Pantothenic acid has been found in every living cell including plant and animal tissues as well as in microorganisms.

Why we need Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 serves many important functions in the nervous system especially in terms of nerve function and health. Among the contributions that Vitamin B5 makes to the nervous system is the production of neurotransmitters which are important to the ability of the nerves to communicate properly and effectively.

Vitamin B5 needed for carbohydrate metabolism, adrenal function, enzyme reactions, and production of fats, cholesterol, bile acids, hormones, neurotransmitters, and red blood cells.
We need pyridoxine to turn the proteins we eat into the proteins our body needs and we need it to convert carbohydrates from the form you store them in into the form you can use for energy.

B5 protects against most physycal and mental stresses, increases vitality, can help against premature aging.

Deficency cause chronic fatigue, greying/ loss of hair, mental depression, irritability, dizziness, muscular weakness, stomach distress and constipation.

Body-builders, long-distance runners, and other athletes claim that pantothenic acid helps them train harder.

Pantothenic acid deficiency in lab rats causes gray hair and hair loss. Based on that shaky connection, some hair products now contain a form of pantothenic acid called pantothenyl alcohol, or panthenol.

Pantothenic acid deficiency

Pantothenic acid deficiency is very rare, except of severe malnutrition, and causes burning/tingling in hands and feet, fatigue, and headache.

Pantothenic acid is found in many common foods and average diets are thought to have an adequate amount of it.
Pantothenic acid is sometimes called the “anti-stress” vitamin. That’s because you make more of some hormones that need pantothenic acid, such as adrenalin, when you’re under a lot of stress. If that’s the case for you, some nutritionists suggest taking extra pantothenic acid.

Food sources of Pantothenic acid

Some pantothenic acid is found in just about every food.

Healthy sources of pantothenic acid include whole grains, nuts and seeds, nutritional yeast, sweet potatoes, legumes, mushrooms, tomatoes, and broccoli. Organ meats, salmon, eggs, beans, milk, and whole grains are the best sources.

Enriched grains such as white flour are not enriched with pantothenic acid and about 43 percent of the pantothenic acid is lost in the milling process.




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Vitamin B3 or Niacin deficiency

Niacin, also called Vitamin B3, works closely with all the other B vitamins, especially riboflavin and pyridoxine.
Niacin can be made in the body from the essential amino acid tryptophan.

Niacin required for energy metabolism, enzyme reactions, skin and nerve health, and digestion.

Niacin plays important role in over 50 body processes. Releases energy, makes hormones, removes toxins, helps keep cholesterol normal.

Why we need Niacin

Improves circulation and reduces the cholesterol level in the blood; maintains the nervous system; helps maintain a healthy skin, tongue & digestive system.

Niacin deficiency causes and symptoms

A deficiency of this vitamin can cause depression. Left untreated, it can lead to psychosis and dementia. Symptoms of a deficiency include agitation, anxiety, and mental lethargy.

When a severe deficiency of niacin occurs, the deficiency disease is called pellagra. Pellagra is characterized by the four Ds: diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death.
Pellagra killed thousands of people in the South in the early twentieth century. Today pellagra is almost unknown in the developed world, although it unfortunately still happens in impoverished areas of Asia and Africa.

Deficiency may be caused by poor diet, malabsorption diseases, dialysis, and HIV.
But you may be at risk you abuse alcohol. Alcohol blocks your uptake of all B vitamins, including niacin. Also, alcohol abusers eat very badly and don’t get enough vitamins in general.

Strict vegetarian or a vegan is at rick Niacin deficiency. If you don’t eat a lot of high-quality protein (protein from animal sources such as eggs, milk, fish, and meat), you might be on the low side for niacin—this is especially true for kids. Vegetarian or vegan children should probably take niacin as part of an overall B vitamin supplement.

How to avoid Vitamin B3 deficiency

Most people get adequate niacin from diet and/or a multivitamin; supplements may be recommended for those with high cholesterol.

Food reached Vitamin B3: Meat, chicken, fish, beans, peas, peanut butter, milk, diary products, nuts, whole & enriched grains.
Vitamin B3 or Niacin deficiency


Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) deficiency

Why we need Riboflavin

Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin requires for energy metabolism, enzyme reactions, vision, and skin/hair/nail health. It also functions as an antioxidant; processes amino acids and fats; activates vitamin B6, niacin, and folate.
Vitamin B2 may play a role in preventing migraine headaches and cataracts.
Riboflavin releases energy, help in growth and development, is essential for normal red blood cells and hormones.
Riboflavin works especially closely with niacin and pyridoxine—in fact, without riboflavin; these two B siblings can’t do their main jobs at all.
It even helps our memory. Older people with high levels of riboflavin do better on memory tests then who suffer from Vitamin B2 deficiency.

Causes and symptoms of Riboflavin deficiency

Deficiency of riboflavin occurs in alcoholics, the elderly, and those with poor diets.

Riboflavin deficiency is associated with the increased oxidative stress that can be caused by free radicals. A deficiency of riboflavin will reduce the efficiency of glutathione, an important antioxidant.

No specific disease is caused by riboflavin deficiency. However, riboflavin deficiency can cause inflammation of the membranes of the eyes, the mouth, the skin, and the gastrointestinal tract.

A deficiency can also cause symptoms of depression.
People at risk include women who take oral contraceptives and those in the second trimester of pregnancy. Deficiency may impair iron absorption and increase risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.

Symptoms of deficiency include sore throat; redness/swelling of the mouth, throat, tongue, lips, and skin; decreased red blood cell count; and blood vessel growth over the eyes.

Foods recommendation to avoid Riboflavin deficiency

Riboflavin includes in milk, dairy products, and meat. Spinach, broccoli, chard, and asparagus are all rich sources of riboflavin. Almonds and soybeans are good sources. Nutritional yeast is high in riboflavin and many other nutrients.

Heat does not normally degrade riboflavin. However, ultraviolet light and other forms of irradiation including visible light destroy riboflavin


Vitamin B1(Thiamin) deficiency

Why we need Thiamin

Thiamin helps regulate nerve growth, stimulates brain action, and memory. Helps convert food to energy. It required for nerve and muscle function, enzyme reactions, and fatty acid production.

Thiamin also keeps our brain and nervous system fueled up. Human brain runs on glucose, a type of sugar that’s made from the carbohydrates you eat. Thiamin helps our brain and nervous system absorb enough glucose. Without it, they take in only half of what they really need.

And when your brain doesn’t get enough fuel, you start to get forgetful, depressed, tired, and apathetic.
Thiamin also helps keep heart muscles elastic and working smoothly, which help heart pumping strongly and evenly, with just the right number of beats.

Vitamin B1 is indispensable for the health of the entire nervous system; prevents fatigue and increases stamina; prevents edema and fluid retention, also aids in digestion and metabolism.

Causes of Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) deficiency and symptoms

Vitamin B1 deficiency can result from inadequate food intake.
Deficiency causes beriberi, a disease that affects cardiovascular, nervous, muscular, and gastrointestinal systems.

Thiamin deficiency is common among alcoholics, who often have inadequate food intakes. Alcohol provides energy without providing many of the necessary nutrients. Alcohol also impairs the absorption of thiamin, while increasing excretion of thiamin.
Extreme thiamin deficiency can lead to an enlarged heart, weight loss, muscular weakness, poor short-term memory, and cardiac failure.

Some people are at high risk of Vitamin B1 deficiency: elderly who don’t eat well and don’t get enough thiamin in their diets; pregnant or breastfeeding women; diabetics.

How to avoid Vitamin B2 deficiency

But in fact most people, even the ones with the health issues listed here, do get enough thiamin. A real deficiency is pretty rate.

Wheat germ, liver, pork, whole & enriched grains, dried beans
Good sources of thiamin are pork, liver, fish, oranges, peas, peanut butter, wheat germ, beans, and whole grains.

Enzymes present in raw fish and shellfish destroy thiamin. Also, tannins in tea and coffee can oxidize thiamin, reducing the availability of thiamin in the diet.


Deficiency of vitamins B complex

There are eight water soluble vitamins in vitamin B group and four related substances, each of which plays an important role: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), cyanocobalamin (B12) pantothenic acid and biotin.

We need vitamins of B complex for support and increase the rate of metabolism; maintain healthy skin and muscle tone; enhance immune and nervous system function; promote cell growth and division—including that of the red blood cells that help prevent anemia; reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal forms of cancer

When you have plenty of all the vitamin B’s in your body, they work together to keep your body running efficiently, producing the energy.
If you’re low on any one B vitamin, the others can’t do their jobs.

Causes of Vitamin B deficiency

The B vitamins work so closely together that it is hard to tell which individual B vitamin is missing when a deficiency occurs.

Millions of people suffer from a deficiency of vitamin B for several reasons, major among which are:

  • Stress
  • Poor immune function.
  • Chronic digestive problems.
  • Alcohol
    As alcohol blocks ability to absorb B vitamins
  • Smoking
    Tobacco smoke decreases absorption of B vitamins across the board.
  • Oral contraception reduces levels of vitamin B.
  • Vegetarians and vegans
    who don’t eat any animal foods such as milk or eggs
  • Toxins and  poisons in the environment and personal care products deplete vitamin B complex

Vitamin B deficiency symptoms

Symptoms sited below can be link with vitamin B deficiency:

  • mental problems
  • heart palpitation
  • heart arrythmia
  • fibrillation
  • indigestion
  • chronic fatigue
  • chronic exhaustion
  • vague fears
  • fear that something dreadful is about to happen,nervousness
  • ADD (attention deficiency), inability to concentrate, irritability
  • feeling of uneasiness
  • inomnia
  • restlessness
  • tingling in hands
  • tingling fingers and toes
  • rashes
  • crying spells, inability to cope

and so much more.

How to avoid vitamin B deficiency

The best way to avoid a deficiency of B vitamins is to eat a varied diet of fresh fruit, an abundance of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and other food as desired. Some of these B vitamins can also be made by friendly bacteria in a healthy colon and absorbed into circulation.

Natural sources B vitamins are unprocessed foods.
Processing, as with sugar and white flour, tends to significantly reduce B vitamin content.
B vitamins are particularly concentrated in meat and meat products such as liver, turkey, and tuna.
Other good sources for B vitamins are potatoes, bananas, lentils, chile peppers, tempeh, beans, nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast, and molasses.


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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