Daily intake of vitamins is very important for our body as they help in proper functioning of our vital organs. Depending on their importance there are 2 vitamins which are extremely important for our body- vitamin B12 and folic acid.
Lack of vitamin B12 can cause several problems which includes megaloblastic anaemia. This vitamin is important in normal production of red blood cells and nerve cells.
Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow region and if vitamin B12 is not present then the cells are not properly formed. They are irregular in shape and cannot do their most important task- which is transport of oxygen in our body.
Here we will know what are the various symptoms associated with the deficiency–
Symptoms of B12 Deficiency
The first symptoms of the deficiency appear with increased fear or anxiety, concentration problems, skin and hair problems like eczema, dermatitis and painful muscle aches.
If it’s absent in large amounts then it can cause damage of nerve cells. In many cases spinal cord can be damaged and the person will be paralysed. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia which develops slowly.
The symptoms are accompanied by loss of appetite, stomach aches and frequent diarrhoea stools. Persons suffering from it also feel a strange sensation in their tongue while taking sour foods and there is a gradual loss of taste. They also might suffer memory disorders and numbness of arms and legs with a tingling sensation.
If deficiency is there for a long time it might lead to brain damage and bleeding. Also vitamin B12 deficiency can increase chances of heart attack and other heart diseases.
About 70% of Alzheimer’s patients have Vitamin B12 deficiency so it is important that you take adequate amounts of B12 in your diet. Here are some foods rich in B12—
Foods rich in Vitamin B12
The main sources of B12 are animal products like beef and pork liver, kidneys, heart and muscles where bacteria produce them. Fish and eggs are also rich sources of B12. Any food that has lactic acid will have Vitamin B12.
Even plant sources have B12 in them but are in less quantity. Vegetarians are often advised to take a diet which includes grains, soy products and brewer’s yeast to make up the lack of B12 in their regular diet.
Other vegetables rich in B12 are sesame, red beet, hazelnut, soybeans, seaweed and certain grains.
Another important product is sauerkraut and other vegetables containing lactic acid such as pickled vegetables.
The normal dosage for adults is 3 micrograms daily. If you take more you will not suffer any problems. Its water soluble and its amount can be easily controlled in our body. Our digestive system doesn’t absorb it so it works with calcium in our body.
Eating healthy foods will maintain Vitamin B12 in our body and we don’t need any drugs.
Daily Dosage of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 has a very complex structure and has important element cobalt needed for various biological functions. It is important for producing DNA, RNA and myelin needed in nerve cells.
The daily dosage required as per age in a day are—
- Babies- 1-3 years will need 0.9 Mcg
- Younger Children- 4-8 years will need 1.2 mcg
- Children- 9-13 years will take up to 1.8 mcg.
- Children from 14 and above will need 2.4 mcg
- Pregnant women need 2.6 mcg
- Breastfeeding women need 2.8 mcg.
- Adults can take up to 3 mcg.
Imagine that our body carries 5 mcg of Vitamin B12. Then by normal digestion we will lose half of it which is normal for our body. Clinical studies say if B12 is present less than 10% in our body it is a deficiency.
Most of us consume enough animal products that our bodies don’t lack the vitamins. If we have a healthy stomach then it will adjust the amount of B12 present in our body.
How is Vitamin B12 Beneficial?
Vitamin B12 helps in production of red blood cells and its proper growth. It also helps in converting carbohydrates, proteins and fat to energy.
It’s helpful for treating nerve problems and has anti cancer effects. It improves memory and concentration and reduces irritability. So it is called as power vitamin.
It prevents anaemia, helps in growth and increases appetite in children. It can reduce discomfort during Periods and immediately after it. It also strengthens the heart muscles and protects you from heart diseases.
The stomach needs to be healthy so that it can properly absorb B12. But certain bacteria might cause trouble and can create ulcers.
If you are suffering from Deficiency of Vitamin B12 or you are diagnosed with it, start taking a proper diet. If it becomes an acute problem, consult your doctor immediately.
Image source: A.D.A.M.