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Vitamin B12

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Importance Of Vitamin B12

The human body stores vitamin B12 for long periods, a nutritional deficiency of this vitamin is quite unusual. A deficiency can result from the body being unable to absorb vitamin B12. Inability to absorb vitamin B12 from the intestine can be caused by a disease known as pernicious anemia. Strict vegetarians who do not take in proper amounts of vitamin B12 by way of supplements are prone to deficiency. Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause anemia, numbness or tingling in the extremities and other neurological symptoms such as weakness and loss of balance.

Lack Of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a very important vitamin needed for maintaining healthy nerve cells, and also aids in the synthesis of DNA. In addition, Vitamin B12 works closely together with folic acid to regulate the formation of red blood cells and to help iron absorption in the body. Deficiencies of vitamin B12 are usually caused by a lack of intrinsic factor.  Intrinsic factor is a substance produced in the stomach that allows the body to absorb vitamin B12 from the digestive system. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a range of symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nervousness, and numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers and toes. People with pernicious anemia do not produce enough intrinsic factor and must take supplementary doses of vitamin B12 to maintain their health. People who have had stomach surgery are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia. They often require vitamin B12 injections after the surgery.

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