For the most part, Vitamin B12 is an easy to come by vitamin that is plentiful in all different types of foods.
An individual consumes eggs, cheese, meat or milk and through digestion, get the vitamin.
But Also people who are on a vegan diet can get b12 by eating fortified foods two or three times a day.
Or by Taking one B12 supplement daily providing at least 10 micrograms.
This vitamin is then used to help create new red blood cells so that the body can continue its basic processes such as transporting oxygen and nutrients around the body.
However, there are instances when an individual begins to develop a deficiency.
Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
There are a handful of different causes that are linked to vitamin b12 deficiency.
The four main causes for the deficiency are:
- Pernicious Anemia: In this case of anemia, the body destroys the cells in the stomach that absorb the b12.
- Surgery that removed parts of the stomach or the ileum which is the last part of the small intestine.
- Having Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, bacteria in the intestines or parasites can lead to deficiencies of many different types of vitamins.
- Certain long-term medications for ulcers can lead to problems.
These are the big causes of the deficiency. With the third one, it can usually be treated with an antibiotic that kills the bacteria.
However, if parts of the stomach have been removed, there really is nothing that can be done other than to give a supplement of more vitamin b12.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
For the most part, a deficiency of vitamin b12 is asymptomatic.
That means that it doesn’t have very many symptoms.
More importantly, the symptoms are not very unique to vitamin b12 so it can be difficult to look at the symptoms and determine the deficiency.
Most of the symptoms are synonymous to other deficiencies.
- Feeling weak, tired or lightheaded.
- Pale skin
- Sore gums, bleeding gums.
- Stomach sickness and weight loss
- Diarrhea and/or constipation
Typically, these symptoms are connected to the idea that there is some sort of nutrient that is not being properly processed.
Going to the doctor at this stage could prevent any further damage happening.
However, as time goes on, the nerves begin to get damaged. These symptoms would follow the nerve damage:
- Numbness in the fingers and toes
- Tingling in the fingers and toes
When these start to happen, the damage can be more permanent. It is important to go to the doctor so he can run blood tests to determine what kind of a deficiency is present.
Once that is understood, he can prescribe a supplement and begin to determine what is the underlying cause of the vitamin b12 deficiency.