Most of us aren’t aware of or at least ignore vitamin deficiencies and their effect to our health. With so many vitamins, it is indeed hard to keep track of all of them. However, what we don’t know is that it is so easy to fulfill our daily vitamin needs compared to the harmful effects of having too little of a vitamin in our body. Among the important vitamins that we should have enough of is vitamin B, which is a group of vitamins that includes B12.
What Happens When You’re Vitamin B12 Deficient?
Consider this: a 62-year old started suffering from tingling and numbness in his hands as well as severe joint pain, trouble walking, and shortness of breath. The man also began turning yellow and according to a case report, he simply had B12 deficiency for two months. If it continues for a few more months, the man could suffer from various mental disorders, including:
- Memory loss
- Severe depression
- Loss of senses, including taste and smell
- Suicidal tendencies
There is indeed a strong relationship between B12 and mental problems. This B vitamin as well as the other vitamins in this group is essential in producing chemicals in the brain that affect brain functions, including our mood. Low levels of B12, along with folate and B6, can lead to depression.
Vitamin B12 is mostly known for its role in the production of blood cells. But it is also useful in preventing psychiatric symptoms. Vitamin B, B12 in particular, supports myelin, a fatty substance important in the function of the nervous system. Deficiency is not only linked to depression, but is also suspected to lead to dementia, impaired gait and sensation, and multiple sclerosis.
B12 Deficiency Causes and Solutions
B12 can be obtained from different foods, including:
- Lean meat
- Breakfast cereals
Plants don’t have this vitamin, which is why vegans and strict vegetarians are at risk for developing the deficiency, particularly if they don’t eat grains. But some people, even though they consume animal products, can still have the deficiency due to improper digestion and absorption of the vitamin. This problem promotes local inflammation, causing health conditions. Those with pernicious anemia, as well as those with Celiac and Crohn’s disease are often unable to properly absorb B12.
There are supplements to reduce the risk of B12. But more importantly, the cause of the deficiency should be investigated, so as to take the necessary actions for improving vitamin B12 levels.