Important Information about Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Important Information about Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a condition that needs to be treated promptly to avoid the development of serious complications, such as depression and dementia.

Lacking an adequate amount of red blood cells in the body can be due to a deficiency in vitamin B12.

The duty of red blood cells is very important as they carry oxygen to the different body tissues and at the same time remove the carbon dioxide from them.

Not having enough red blood cells to do all the work can make a person feel fatigued and suffer from shortness of breath.

Why are people deficient in Vitamin B12?<

There are three main reasons why people don’t get a sufficient amount of vitamin B12: A diet that doesn’t include enough sources of vitamin B12; a health condition that interfere with vitamin B12 absorption; and the intake of heartburn medications.

Improper Diet

To get more vitamin B12 from foods, eat meat and poultry products, eggs, shelfish and dairy products.

Most people who develop vitamin B12 deficiency include strict vegetarians, vegans who do not eat animal products, and pregnant women or infants who do not get the proper diet.

Associated Health Conditions

What health conditions inhibit proper vitamin B12 absorption?

Alcoholism
Celiac disease
Crohn’s disease
Digestive disorders
Fish tapeworm infection
Pernicious anemia
Some people who undergo a surgery that removes specific parts of their stomach or small intestine are prone to have vitamin B12 absorption problem.

Medications

Another reason for vitamin B12 deficiency is using antacids and other heartburn medications for a long time.

How do you know you have vitamin B12 deficiency?

For some people, there’s no visual symptom that they have vitamin B12 deficiency. But others may have constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, light-headedness, pale skin, shortness of breath, no appetite, swollen, red tongue and bleeding gums.

What happens when vitamin B12 deficiency is not treated?

When a person is deficient in vitamin B12 for a long time, he may experience health complications, such as dementia, confusion, depression, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet and loss of balance.

What is the treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency?

The doctor’s recommendation for increasing vitamin B12 levels vary depending on the person’s particular cause of the problem. Some recommended treatments include:
Taking monthly shots of vitamin B12, if needed
Taking vitamin B12 pills or nasal spray
Treating the health condition associated with the vitamin B12 deficiency, such as alcoholism, celiac disease, or Crohn’s disease
Making changes to a person’s diet

Reading Resources
Vitamin deficiency anemia; Mayo Clinic.
Anemia – B12 Deficiency; MedlinePlus.

Photo credits: “Hydroxocobalamin Injection” by Sbharris – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

Categories: Health

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