With the age our body’s natural ability to absorb and retain vitamin b-12 decreases. It is responsible for manufacturing of red blood cells and DNA. This vitamin is not synthesized by the body like vitamin d hence it becomes all the more necessary to get this vitamin from animal based food or via supplements. Since vitamins are not really considered important, or people don’t really focus on keeping a balanced diet, they end up having vitamin b-12 deficiency.
According to research, there are almost 40 % of North Americans suffering from B-12 deficiency. This is a serious number and shows the extent of how much people disregard this important vitamin. Following are few of the signs and symptoms of b-12 deficiency which should not be taken lightly.
1. Hard time staying awake
One of the major telltale signs of b-12 deficiency is the fatigue and the associated sensation of sleepiness all the time. This fatigue is worrisome especially if you factor in the eight hours of sleep the individual is getting and still remaining tired or unrested. The reason is that b-12 makes red blood cells which carry the oxygen around energizing you and keeping you alert. However since it is deficient you will have lower reserves of oxygen and consequently more energy starved.
2. Muscles don’t get sufficient strength
Since your red blood cells carry the oxygen and muscles do need that for sufficient growth and to be strong you will suffer from weaker muscle growth due to b-12 deficiency.
3. Memory loss
This one sign is often attributed to Alzehmeir’s or demntia hoever vitamin b-12 deficiency could be equally responsible. Since your brain needs oxygen and there are lesser number of red blood cells leading to lesser oxygen in the system your brain will consequently receive insufficient amount. This will lead the brain to function improperly and inefficiently leading to weaker memory.
4. Your skin will appear much paler
If your complexion is an unhealthy yellowish white you are definitely suffering from b-12 deficiency. This yellowish complexion is the result of breakdown of red blood cells which release bilirubin which gives this yellowish tinge to the complexion. However there is also a possibility that you might be suffering from jaundice and it is advised to go to the doctor for immediate medical diagnosis.
5. Redder and smoother tongue
People who have b-12 deficiency will complain about an odd pain in the back of their tongue and they will also have a much redder tongue than usual. Since the tongue has these smaller minute bumps called papillae which also make tongue less red. As you become deficient in b-12 you will lose your papillae and hence more red colored tongue. You will also not be able to taste food that much since most papillae contain taste buds as well and losing them means inefficient sense of taste.
6. Issues with your optic nerve
In severe and advanced cases of deficiency your optic nerve could be damaged. It could infact partially block the blood vessels which are directly feeding into the retina causing blurry vision. In extreme cases even vision loss can occur. If you are suffering from erratic vision or you sense your vision is becoming blurry go see a qualified doctor and stop self-diagnosing.
Causes of B-12 deficiency
The imbalance of gut bacteria is one of the reasons. These natural microbes residing in our guts are responsible for breaking down food and absorbing nutrients. The imbalance can cause improper absorption of nutrients.
Another reason is attributed to chemotherapy since it also encourages imbalance of gut bacteria. The medication given during chemotherapy may cause inflammation of the gut.
Overcoming vitamin B-12 Deficiency
First and foremost is to focus on your diet. Add vitamin b-12 rich sources like fish, lamb and chicken meat to your diet.
If you are not that much fan of eating natural protein you should opt for some quality supplements to fulfill your body’s requirements. The two most suitable supplements for people who avoid meat are Methylcobalamin and Cyanocobalamin. However always refer to your doctor before taking such supplements.
Another important step towards healthier you is to stop taking inflammatory foods which are your fried foods and fast foods and the packaged unhealthy and low quality food additives.