Vitamin B12 is one of the most important, yet overlooked vitamins in the world. It plays a huge role in the metabolism of every of our body cells, and if we have insufficient amounts of it for much longer period, it can lead to neurological conditionsandlong-term diseases.
Therefore, it’s essential that you know the first warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency in order to be able to treat it on time and prevent many health problems.
7 Warning Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
One of the first warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency is frequent bouts of vertigo and dizziness. You might get dizzy when going upstairs or downstairs, or wobble when standing up too fast from the chair. These situations sometimes can be dangerous. In case you experience symptoms of chronic vertigo, it is best to consult a doctor in order to receive the proper treatment for the vitamin deficiency.
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In case you often have hard time remembering some ordinary things such as where have you put your keys, or what is the name of your friend, it doesn’t always has to indicate early dementia, but it might mean lack of vitamin B12, especially if it is chronic. Many older people think that they have Alzheimer’s or dementia when they actually have vitamin B12 deficiency. You might check this by doing simple blood test, and improve the memory with a supplemental regimen.
- Muscle Weakness
In case your muscles are weak and your grocery bags feel like thousand pounds, your muscles are probably deprived of the proper amount of oxygen from erythrocytes. The improper oxygenation to muscle cells and vitamin B12 deficiency might cause uncharacteristic muscle weakness and sluggishness. This may possibly be the reason why you are no longer able to carry your heavy purseorgym bag.
- Pale Skin
You used to have those nice rosy cheeks that revealed your perfect health, and now you are pale with a yellow cast. This could be caused by lack of vitamin B12 that means lack of erythrocytes. Consequently, your body produces more bilirubin that is replacing that rosy complexion with a pale visage.
- Pins and Needles
Insufficient amounts of this vitamin might cause paraesthesia – also known as pins and needles. You experience prickling, tingling, or numbing sensation all over the body, especially in the feetandhands, and a feeling of electric shock waves because of the nerve damage that is caused by lack of vitamin B12. Being deficient in this vitamin means reduced production of erythrocytes and it in turn results in low oxygen levels in the nerve tissues.
- Unexplained Fatigue
You are regularly getting a good night’s sleep, but you still have that continuous fatigue. This might be another sign of vitamin B12 deficiency. Once again, this unexplained fatigue might happen as a result of reduced production of erythrocytes in the body which results in insufficient amounts of oxygen that has been transported to your organs.
- Eye Problems
Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency might damage the vision and cause changesin the vision. Although rarely, the lack of this vitamin could cause an optic neuropathy by damaging the optic nerve resulting in reduced central vision, doubled or blurred vision, light sensitivity, tracersorshadows. Still, supplements might help restore your vision.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
- Prevents Heart Disease and Stroke
Since the heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, taking some extra measures to protect the heart is something that everyone should consider. A new research has discovered that increased levels of homocysteine is a much higher risk factor for a heart disease than cholesterol. This non-protein α-amino acid is able to create inflammation if there is a lack of vitamin B12. In other words, this vitamin is reducing the levels of homocysteine, and with that it reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Supports Energy
Vitamin B12 is stimulating the production of energy by keeping the cells happy, well-fed, andhealthy. Insufficient amounts of this vitamin can starve the cells, making you tired and weak. The metabolism needs vitamin B12 to convert carbs into usable glucose – the essential participant in the production of energy. Therefore, if you are deficient in this vitamin, you are more likely to suffer from fatigue.
- Prevents Nerve Damage
Nerves have a natural covering which is called myelin sheath and their primary purpose is to protect them from toxins and the free radical damage. Without this protective covering, the nerves can be easily damaged and killed and that might result in nerve-related disorders. This is because the dead nerves are interrupting the transmission of the signals to and from the brain.
- Helps Digestion
This vitamin helps in the production of digestive enzymes, which means helping the breakdown of foods in the stomach and supporting the healthy metabolism. It helps foster the healthy gut bacteria and removes the harmful bacteria from the digestive tract. This, in turn, prevents candida, inflammatory bowel disease, and other digestive disorders.
- Helps Produce Erythrocytes and Prevent Anemia
Since this vitamin helps in the production of erythrocytes, it could prevent megaloblastic anemia that is manifested by chronic fatigueandweakness.
- Good for the Bones
This vitamin is recommended for patients with osteoporosis and anyone who is suffering from bone conditions as they have higher levels of homocysteine than those persons with healthy bones. As we already mentioned, vitamin b12 is able to reduce the levels of homocysteine, and that makes it an ideal supplement for these patients.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B12
Here are the foods that contain the highest levels of this vitamin:
- Salmon — 19.5 milligrams in 108 grams (1 filet)
- Beef and chicken liver — 81 milligrams in 3 ounces
- Herring —18.7 milligrams in 143 grams (1 filet)
- Sardines — 13.3 milligrams in 1 cup
- Mackerel — 15.3 milligrams in 3 ounces
- Tuna — 9.3 milligrams in 3 ounces
- Organic yogurt — 1.3 mg in 1 container of plain Greek yogurt
- Trout — 9.1 milligrams in 1 filet
- Raw milk — 1 milligram in 1 cup
- Turkey — 1.1 milligrams in 3 ounces
- Lamb — 0.8 milligrams in 3 ounces
- Beef tenderloin — 0.9 milligrams in 3 ounces
Other non-vegan sources of this vitamin arenutritional yeasts, cereals, cheese, plant-based milk (almond milk, soymilk, and coconut milk).
As you can see, vitamin B12 plays an essential role in our general health and it could protect us from many different health problems and diseases. That’s why recognizing the first symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency is crucial to treat it as soon as it’s possible and prevent further health complications.