Table of Content (TOC)

  1. Introduction
  2. Idyllic Vitamin B12 Intake
  3. Role of Vitamin B12 in Human Body
  4. Food Sources of Vitamin B12
  5. Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Factors & Symptoms
  6. Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Prevention & Treatment
  7. Final Words
  1. Introduction

Vitamin B12 performs several important functions in your body like building DNA and red blood cells. Only the concern is,the human body doesn't create this vitamin by itself and thus, it has to be taken through animal-based foods or supplements, that too on regular basis. Vitamin B12 is stockpiled in the liver for around five years, but deficiency may occur when regular intake of Vitamin B12 is lacking to maintain the normal levels.

You can naturally consume Vitamin B12 in its natural form through animal foods, while vegetarians lack enough Vitamin B12 options to eat. Vitamin B12 is required for forming red blood cells and DNA, also it plays a key role in the proper functioning and development of the human brain and nerve cells.

Vitamin B12 gets fixed to protein available in our food. In the stomach, hydrochloric acid and enzymes release Vitamin B12 and convert it into its free form. Consequently, it gets associated with a protein named intrinsic factor for further absorption in the small intestine.

  1. Idyllic Vitamin B12 Intake

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men and women belonging to the age of 14 years and above is 2.4 micrograms (mcg) daily. Lactating and pregnant women can consume 2.6 mcg to 2.8 mcg on daily basis.

There is no upper limit or maximum amount predefined for consumption of Vitamin B12, and thus, there is no known toxic level set for this vitamin. Although, there are existing risks of bone fractures when consumed 25 mcg per day or above.

  1. Role of Vitamin B12 in Human Body

Vitamin B12 mainly performs two forms of functions in the human body related to cardiovascular activities and cognitive functions. Vitamin B12 breaks down the protein named homocysteine. Higher levels of this protein can increase risks for heart-related diseases and stroke, as it supports the formation of blood clots and excessive free radical cells that can disturb usual blood vessel functions.Vitamin B12 deficiency can increase homocysteine levels and thus affects the health of your heart. Thus, taking Vitamin B12 supplements on regular basis can decrease the risk for heart-related diseases to a great extent. The same is also found helpful in dealing with cognitive issues.

  1. Food Sources of Vitamin B12

You can get Vitamin B12 in certain animal foods like dairy products, eggs, fish, liver, red meat, poultry and other foods fortified with Vitamin B12.

  1. Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Factors & Symptoms

Assessments have shown that around 15% of the general population is Vitamin B12 deficient. Most of the time, measuring Vitamin B12 in the blood is not the actual marker, rather methylmalonic acid and homocysteine are better indicators for showing Vitamin B12 movements. These two indicator values rise with Vitamin B12 deficiency.

  • Factors Causing Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Following factors are mostly responsible for Vitamin B12 deficiency-

  • Being Vegetarian- Those who are completely vegan and avoid animal foods like meat, fish, poultry and dairy products are at high risks for Vitamin B12 deficiency. Thus, vegetarians are recommended to take sufficient Vitamin B12 supplements or fortified foods in their diet.
  • Absence of Intrinsic Factor-It is one of the major causes that result in Vitamin B12 deficiency as an Intrinsic factor is essential for the absorption of Vitamin B12. In this case, even taking a higher dosage of Vitamin B12 will not work as an intrinsic factor is mandatory for its absorption.
  • Lacking Gastrointestinal Acid-One another reason for Vitamin B12 deficiency is lacking enough stomach acid required for rescuing Vitamin B12 from food.
  • Digestive Ailments Causing Malabsorption-Few surgeries that affect a specific part of the stomach where an intrinsic factor is made, which is indispensable for Vitamin B12 absorption, can increase the risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency thereby impairing its absorption.
  • Symptoms Indicating Vitamin B12 Deficiency
  • Weakness, tiredness or fatigue
  • Short of breath
  • Celiac disease
  • Pale Skin
  • Loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhoea
  • Nerve cells issues like numbness, weak muscles
  • Loss of vision
  • Immune system disorder
  • Psychological issues like depression, memory loss or behavioural changes.
  • Dementia
  1. Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Prevention & Treatment
  • Prevention

Vitamin B12 deficiency can easily be prevented by taking enough Vitamin B12 through animal foods like red meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, eggs etc. When you are a vegetarian, you can fulfil your Vitamin B12 deficiency by taking a multivitamin or other supplements and also food fortified with Vitamin B12. It is better to consult with a doctor before taking any Vitamin B12 supplement.

  • Treatment

When you are suffering from Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, you can treat it by taking a more Vitamin B12 rich diet and supplements. Vitamin B12 supplements are available in the form of pills or nasal spray. If you have very low levels of Vitamin B12, you may need a higher dosage of this Vitamin. In a few cases, people need to have Vitamin B12 for the rest of their life. Ignoring Vitamin B12 deficiency for a prolonged period can harm your heart, brain, nerves, bones and other body parts. Taking the right actions for fulfilling Vitamin B12 deficiency on time can prevent from blunders happening.

  1. Final Words

You cannot ignore the intake of Vitamin B12 as it plays an indispensable role in the smooth running of cardiovascular and cognitive functions. Usually, people are Vitamin B12 deficient as there are only limited foods having Vitamin B12 in them. Apart from seafood and animal foodslike poultry, eggs, dairy products, people are also suggested to take regular Vitamin B12 supplements for fulfilling their requirements.