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Vitamin B12 deficiency can start with a few symptoms like tiredness and slight tingling or numbness in hands and feet; ignore the symptoms and low B12 levels could escalate into severe nerve damage, disease or death.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Below is a list of some of the most common side effects which may arise from insufficient stores of vitamin B12.
(Please note that the severity of the symptoms may vary according to the stage of B12 deficiency.)
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient. Therefore, your body is only able to store it for a short time. Vitamin B12 has many important functions in your body.
Vitamin B12 is essential for producing plenty of healthy red blood cells and for synthesizing DNA. A lack of B12 severely reduces your body’s ability to make sufficient red blood cells for carrying oxygen throughout your body.
Pernicious anemiais a life-threatening condition that is often the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Your nervous system is dependent on vitamin B12, which enhances communication between the brain and your many nerve sensors, such as those in your fingertips, feet and mouth. This explains why sufferers of B12 deficiency notice a sensation similar to wearing gloves throughout the day; others report that their food tastes unusual, another clue that the body’s neurons are not operating correctly.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 compromises your nervous system and could result in permanent neurological damage.
Researchers have found a direct link between vitamin B12 deficiency and brain atrophy among the elderly. In one study which appeared in the Journal of Nutrition, senior citizens who had the highest levels of B12 experienced healthier cognitive functioning skills.
Vitamin B12 helps your body monitor already healthy homocysteine levels, a factor in heart health.
What diseases are associated with B12 deficiency?
There are many illnesses which occur when B12 levels are low; some conditions may be caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, while others are closely correlated. Below are some common illnesses associated with B12 deficiency, including many which most people don’t realize are affected by vitamin B12 levels.
Alzheimer’s disease, brain deterioration, cognitive decline, memory loss and other forms of dementia
Neurological diseases such as Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Cardiovascular disease, caused by high homocysteine levels
Mental illness, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis
Autism spectrum disorder
Autoimmune diseases, such as AIDS and pernicious anemia
According to aTufts University study, 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have low to medium-low B12 levels, indicating a deficiency severe enough to cause neurological disorder symptoms, while 9 percent are depleted enough to the point of irreversible neurological damage and life-threatening symptoms. Approximately 16 percent are close to becoming vitamin B12 deficient.
Why is vitamin B12 deficiency overlooked?
Only a blood test can properly determine if somebody is suffering from B12 deficiency, and most physicians don’t include a B12 screening with yearly check-ups. Also, many of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are similar to common health disorders, such as diabetes, chronic depression and fatigue.
How can you get enough B12?
Vitamin B12 is found in many high protein foods. Excellent sources of B12 are:
Lean beef cuts, such as chuck and sirloin
Fish, particularly salmon, tuna and halibut
Shellfish, including crab meat, mussels, clams and oysters
Dairy products, such as swiss cheese, yogurt, milk and cottage cheese
Vegans are at a high risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency, as their diet specifically excludes food items which provide vitamin B12. Other people who are at risk of getting B12 deficiency are patients of weight loss surgery, diabetics on metformin, individuals with gastrointestinal disease, people who lackintrinsic factorand anybody taking prescription heartburn medication.
The only way to prevent becoming deficient in vitamin B12 is by constantly replenishing your body with B12-rich nutrients.
Alternatively, patients diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency are encouraged to take vitamin B12 supplements, such as sublingual B12 tablets, B12 shots, or over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12.
Find more information on preventing vitamin B12 deficiency:
We’ve all heard of overeaters binging themselves into a state of depression- a vicious circle which is difficult to get out of. But eating for happiness?
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is linked with depression
Vitamin B12 is essential for many aspects of brain development, such as myelination (the production of a protective layer around the brain) and the distributing of neurotransmitters to and from the brain. So it comes as no surprise that the Mayo Clinic suggests eating foods rich in vitamin B-12 as a means of preventing the onset of clinical depression.
“Eat to live, don’t live to eat.”
That’sa great motto if you happen to be an android. The fact is, eating is a sensual experience which we were meant to enjoy. (Why else would we have taste buds?) The key to good nutrition is finding foods you love that will love you right back.
Here are some yummy appetizers and entrées which are naturally high in vitamin B-12:
Fish tacos- Made popular by Rubio’s, the fish tacos is a tasty fusion of Cal-Mex and seafood cuisine. Take a soft flour tortilla, add some fiery mango salsa, a dab of sour cream and a grilled fish fillet (hint: salmon is high in B-12). It’s a wrap!
Are you a Sushi lover? Then you’re going to love this- sushi and sashimi recipes typically include such high-in-B12 ingredients as roe (fish eggs), octopus, crab, shrimp, and mackerel. Pass the soy sauce!
New England clam chowder- just the name elicits images of salty sea breezes, sailboats and clam bakes. Don’t have any recipes handy? Here is a list of variations on this classic soup recipe.
Lean cuts of lamb are high in vitamin B-12 and a popular staple of many Middle Eastern cuisines. Here is a flavorful Lamb Moussaka recipe, as featured in epicurious.
Tuna casserole is one of America’s fave comfort foods and it’s simple to make- combine canned tuna, cooked broad noodles, and a can of concentrated mushroom soup. Top it with some fried onions and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. Tuna is high in B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Hamburgers barbecued with low-fat ground beef chuck are a great source of vitamin B-12. Serve it up on whole-grain buns with a side of oven roasted root veggies for a healthy upgrade from the typical artery-clogging burgers ‘n fries.
Most of us eat about 15 mcg. of Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)everyday, which is more than the USRDA of only 2 mcg. Good sources include most meat, fish and dairy products. However, scientists recommend 200 times that amount in order to prevent getting Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Why you need Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is necessary for healthy red blood cell reproduction and neurological functioning. A deficiency can have serious consequences which, left untreated, can be life threatening.
Diseases resulting from Vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Combined systems disease
Loss of short-term memory, dementia
Increased likelihood for heart attack or stroke
Three Causes for Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Foods that are highest in Vitamin B12 include shellfish, liver, beef and cheese. Vegans are at high risk of developing Vitamin B12 deficiency and must take regular vitamin supplements to compensate.
2) Malabsorption syndromes
Some people are unable to utilize the Vitamin B12 found in food products and tend to develop Vitamin B12 deficiency. Pernicious anemia is an example of an autoimmune disease which results from a low presence of the intrinsic factor antibody, which attaches itself to and aids in the absorption of Vitamin B12.
3) Gastrointestinal causes
Dyspepsia, or indigestion, is another common cause of low Vitamin B12 since excess stomach acids make it difficult for the body to absorb Vitamin B12 properly.
Sufferers of Crohn’s disease are at particular risk and must supplement with vitamins in order to avoid severe malnourishment.
Patients who have had gastric bypass or other intestinal surgery are likely to develop B12 deficiency due to bacterial residue.
Treatment for Vitamin B12 Deficiency
See a doctor immediately if you suspect you have Vitamin B12 Deficiency; a simple blood test is all that is required for a diagnosis.
Once Vitamin B12 deficiency is determined your physician will prescribe a regimen of Vitamin B12 supplements, usually in the form of intramuscular injections followed up by sublingual tablets.
Out of the teens who received services, 59.8% were diagnosed with attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD); others who were receiving aid were those categorized with some type of defiant conduct behavioral disorder.
Teens who suffered from an anxiety or eating disorder were least likely to have been in any sort of behavioral program- only 20%.
Hispanics and blacks youths who suffered anxiety were less likely to be in treatment than Caucasians.
Girls were more likely than boys to receive therapy for anxiety disorder; boys were more likely to be receiving treatment for AD/HD.
Parents, be on the lookout for depression in your teen; here are 10 warning signs, as reported by Fox News:
Passivity, less inclined to cry when something is troubling her/him
Sudden detachment from activities or interests that were previously enjoyable
Vocalizing feelings which indicate lack of self-worth
Interruption of sleeping habits, like oversleeping
Loss of appetite
Misperception, likeliness to be confused by more things than usual
It might seem like following a healthy diet is less of a priority when faced with the symptoms of depression, but many doctors have found that deficiencies such as low vitamin b12 may contribute to depression; in some cases vitamin b12 deficiency may be the sole reason for the sudden change in behavior.
B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed as clinical depression.
The Mayo Clinic confirms a correlation between b12 deficiency and symptoms of depression. Warning signs of vitamin b12 deficiency include chronic fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, increased violent tendencies, sleep disturbances and loss of appetite. Sound familiar? Many are the same symptoms above-mentioned for clinical depression.
A blood test is required to determine whether vitamin b12 deficiency is present; if you are tested positive then your physician will recommend supplementation, which may be administered as an injection, sublingual tablet, or spray.
Hair loss got you down, as in down the drain? Women’s hair loss, male pattern baldness- it all amounts to the same impairment. But don’t throw in the bath towel just yet; here are a few treatments for hair loss that include changes you can make to your diet right now to put the breaks on that receding hairline and give you shinier, healthier hair.
Wholesome foods are just that- they benefit the body as a whole; what’s good for your digestive system is also good for your hair, skin and nails. Eating a variety of lean proteins, dairy, healthy oils, legumes and fruits and vegetables every day will ensure that your body gets the vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly inside and out.
Remember, fat is not a four-letter word. “Good” fats are anti-inflammatories which keep your hair shiny and lush. Avoid saturated hydrogenated oils like margarine and opt instead for unsaturated canola. Elect to make one day of the week as “fish dinner” night, as well as supplementing with a daily dose of omega 3 fatty acids for lustrous locks.
Beware of iron deficiency. Particularly, women approaching middle age are at risk of developing anemia, a symptom of which is hair loss. When taking an iron supplement or having an iron-rich meal such as fortified cereal or spinach quiche, remember to include a dose of vitamin c for maximum impact.
Many women who experience premature balding suffer vitamin b12 deficiency, a condition which often leads to pernicious anemia. Other symptoms include chronic fatigue, short-term memory loss, tingling in the extremities and nausea. Vitamin b12 deficiency is usually caused by a diet low in eggs, meat and poultry; standard vegan diets do not maintain a sufficient amount of vitamin b12 and are often a factor in vitamin b12 deficiency. A blood test by a physician is necessary to determine a deficiency in vitamin b12, in which a dose of 1000 mcg. of b12 is generally prescribed.
Another b vitamin, biotin, is also essential for a healthy head of hair; not only is biotin the key ingredient for development of hair follicles, it actually regulates all hair, nail and skin functioning. While biotin is found in some food products like egg yolks a 3 mg. supplement is required to get an adequate supply.
Choose silicone-enhanced shampoos and conditioners which coat the follicles with a silky surface for less tugging and strand pulling while combing.
It’s been called the “morning after” shot. It’s used by celebrities to recuperate after an evening of partying and paparazzi. Politicians rely on this vitamin to keep them in their prime. What is this wonder drug, you ask? No, it’s not vitamin C.
Justin Timberlake and Madonna both say they get their stamina from regular doses of vitamin B12 every day, declaring that they couldn’t get through their chaotic schedule without it. Says an insider close to Justin, “the day Madge gave him his first shot was one of the best of his life.”
Party girl Lindsay Lohan calls up her doctor for a blast of B12 whenever she feels fatigued and wiped out from jet lag.
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher confesses that she depended on regular vitamin B12 injections in order to keep up with the daily demands of government.
Hugh Jackman gets his hit of B12 twice a week; he says it keeps him on his toes while rehearsing his dance numbers for “The Boy from Oz.” Even Prince makes a point of getting his B12 before every concert.
Many Hollywood doctors claim they get dozens of requests each week for a quick B12 fix. Excessive drinking causes you to lose a lot of B12, they explain. Celebrities go to a lot of all-nighters, and that usually translates into a lot of liquor. In fact, alcoholism is a known cause of severe B12 deficiency.
Check out this video of Justin Bieber telling Chelsea Lately about his regular shots in the “butt.” Oh, if only he knew…
Today’s health food stores stock a wide variety of goods to meet the needs of every diet known to mankind- low fat, low sugar, processed-free, nondairy, low carb, high protein…but what gives with gluten-free?
Gluten is a protein found in grain products such as wheat, spelt and barley, among others. Patients of celiac disease, a disorder which distresses the small intestines, have trouble digesting such products and are thus advised to follow a gluten-free diet. Health food aisles abound with gluten-free cake mixes, breads and pastas. Hundreds of recipe web sites offer creative suggestions for gluten-free living.
Rewind to thirty years ago, and most people would probably have not heard of celiac disease. So, how did celiac disease suddenly become a household name? Modernization provides a key – despite the advice from numerous health experts, we Americans still love our Wonder bread; those light, airy loaves cannot be produced without rich, glutinous dough, and agriculturalists have been striving to deliver the most highly glutinous crops of wheat available in order to meet our demands.
Another culprit might be commercial yeast, which has replaced sourdough yeast as the preferred rising agent among bread makers. According to a report published by Applied and Environmental Microbiology, sourdough yeast contains bacteria which break down the gluten in the dough, thereby reducing the likeliness of bowel irritation. Commercial yeasts offer no such protection.
Celiac disease can lead to other complications such as osteoporosis, anemia resulting from B12 deficiency, fatigue and weight gain, to name just a few. Incidences of celiac disease are rising, either due to increased wheat consumption or the public’s rising awareness of the disorder.
A doctor’s visit is required in order to ascertain whether one is suffering from celiac or from gluten intolerance, the latter of which is less harmful. Although gluten intolerance does not create any lasting damage, some experts believe that the continuance of a high-gluten diet might lead to an eventual celiac disease diagnosis.
The Japanese study proves that women who eat foods enriched vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate are less likely to suffer heart attack or die of a stroke. Japanese men who eat B-rich foods are less likely to suffer heart failure.
These findings confirm similar studies which have been conducted in the US and Europe, all of which came to the same conclusion; B vitamins such as B12, B6 and folate are essential for cardiovascular health.
Through the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study, a survey which collected data on the dietary habits of over 85,000 Japanese between the ages of 40 and 79, scientists were able to gain information on a correlation between the amount of B vitamin intake and likeliness of mortality from heart disease and stroke. Out of the 85,000 men and women studied, 986 died from stroke, 424 perished from heart attack and over 2,000 died from a variety of heart-related illnesses – all in a 14-year time frame.
Scientists grouped test subjects into five categories, varying in relation to B6, B12 and folate intake. Of the female test subjects who ate the lowest amounts of B6, B12 and folate, more were likely to die of stroke or heart attack than those who ate a moderate amount of B vitamins. Similarly, men who consumed the least B vitamins were more likely to die from cardiovascular illness than others. Of the test subjects who reported eating a steady diet of B6, B12 and folate, fewer suffered mortalities related to stroke or heart disease than counterparts from any of the other groups.
Scientists believe that B vitamins lower homocysteine levels, an amino acid which many doctors believe increase one’s risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke. Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid prevent the accumulation of homocysteine. Eating whole grains, leafy vegetables, legumes and fish are excellent ways to get B vitamins. However, many suffer from an inability to completely digest B12, resulting in B12 deficiency. Symptoms include fatigue, memory loss and numbness or tingling in the extremities.
Dermatologists recommend the consumption of vitamin B12 for hair growth.Their patients consist of frustrated women who resent watching their hair locks grow thinner every day.
Hair loss is a common source of aggravation for women.According to dermatologists, the primary reason for hair loss is a vitamin deficiency.This can be easily remedied.
Healthy blood cells are essential for voluminous hair.A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia, which means that there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to and from the lungs.Among other things, anemia causes hair loss.Consequently, if a woman supplements her diet with vitamin B12, this hair loss can be reversed.Furthermore, a full head of hair will grow back in just a few weeks.
Vitamin B12 is found in liver, meat, fish and eggs.However, many women are cutting down on these foods for health reasons, and don’t realize that they are eliminating vitamin B12 from their diets in the process.That’s why there are so many women whose blood levels are low on vitamin B12.
Women over the age of 50 tend to have low levels of vitamin B12, too.The reason is that their stomachs no longer produce enough intrinsic factor.This enzyme is necessary to separate the vitamin B12 from the food they consume.
If you suffer from hair loss, you should supplement your diet with vitamin B12.In addition, dermatologists also recommend you should try to consume iron and biotin, as well as foods containing essential fatty acids, such as nuts and fish.
Megaloblastic anemia is caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Megaloblastic anemia is a blood disorder.The symptoms include weakness, fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath and cold hands and feet.A person with this disorder may have headaches as well.
Megaloblastic anemia is caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency. Unfortunately, the symptoms are identical to iron-deficiency anemia. Many doctors test for iron deficiency, but don’t test for a vitamin B12 deficiency. If an anemic person does not feel better after taking iron supplements, that person should have his/her vitamin B12 levels tested.
Blood carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.In a person who is anemic, there are fewer red blood cells, which are responsible for attaching themselves to oxygen and transporting this throughout the body.Oxygen is vital for energy production.Without sufficient red blood cells, a person becomes depleted of his/her stores of oxygen and feels tired.
If megaloblastic anemia is not treated with sufficient vitamin B12 supplementation, eventually the nerves start to degenerate and neuropathy sets in.
Proper treatment for megaloblastic anemia includes vitamin B12 and folic acid.Folic acid is found in green, leafy vegetables.Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.Our stomachs produce pepsin and intrinsic factor, which attach themselves to the vitamin B12.Some people don’t produce enough of the pepsin or the intrinsic factor, and therefore cannot absorb the vitamin B12 from their food.These people need to supplement their diets with vitamin B12.
Vegetarians and vegans avoid the foods that are rich in vitamin B12, so they need to supplement their diets with vitamin B12 to prevent megaloblastic anemia.
There are reports of people who were suffering from megaloblastic anemia and nearly died as a result because it went untreated.Many doctors confuse the signs and symptoms of this disorder with iron-deficiency anemia.If you know someone who is suffering from fatigue or neuropathy, tell him to have his blood B12 levels tested immediately.