This fast way of life we are leading, often stops us from noticing various signs our body is trying to send us. So it’s not unusual to ignore its signals that is lacks something, whether it is a certain vitamin, mineral or other nutrient.
More specifically, this often happens with the deficiency of B12. This vitamin is vital for our nerve health, blood cells production and the boding of nucleic acids to proteins. Serious deficiencies in this vitamin can result in irreparable damage of the nervous system. These are some of the most common B12 deficiency symptoms:
- Numbness, muscle weakness and problems in walking
- Uncomfortable tingling or prickling, usually felt in the arms, legs, hands or feet.
- Yellowish or pale skin tone
- Digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite and taste
- Vertigo, fatigue and lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath and heart palpitations
- Eyesight problems
- Mental health problems such as depression, memory loss or mood swings.
Those at the highest risk of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Perimenopausal, pregnant or lactating women
Some of the most common symptoms that perimenopausal women experience like fatigue or mood swings, are very similar to the signs of B12 deficiency. It is very important for these women to check B12 levels and if there is a need to take supplements.
B12 deficiency in pregnant women can be very risky as it can lead to death of the baby.
Lactating women, in particular vegan breastfeeding mothers, need to keep a healthy watch on their vitamin B12 levels to avoid putting their babies at risk of developmental delays, anemia and even failure to thrive.
Those age 50 or older
As we are getting older our body loses its ability to properly absorb and use vitamins from the food we eat. People over age of 50 need to check their B12 levels and take supplements if there is need.
Those with immune disorders such as Graves’ disease or Lupus
In autoimmune disorders like Lupus, the cells attack body’s tissues instead of attacking foreign invaders. This negatively affects the body because it lowers its ability to absorb minerals and vitamins from food.
Vegans and vegetarians
Because of the fact that vitamin B12 is only found in animals proteins, vegetarians and vegans should definitely take supplements in order to avoid deficiency. Those people with compromised absorptive ability and digestive system are also at risk. Such cases are people who suffer Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, atrophic gastritis, a thinned stomach lining, and pernicious anemia.
How to Prevent it Naturally
Fortunately, vitamin B12 deficiency can be prevented. Eating a well balanced and healthy diet is one way. The best is the diet based on eggs, dairy, meat, sea food and poultry.
Vegetarians and vegans should consider eating fortified grains and natural supplements.
Sources: www.webmd.com; www.healthline.com; www.omicsonline.org