What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is one of eight B Vitamins. It is an essential water-soluble vitamin which is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body. They are essential for the cognition & physiological functions of the body! To be more specific, it helps your body cells, with the functioning of nerve cells, and creation of DNA in new cells. Vitamin B12 is often referred to as cobalamin.
Why is Vitamin B12 important?
Since Vitamin B12 is a crucial Vitamin, it has some major functions. Some of them are:
- Produces Red Blood Cells
Vitamin B12 helps in the production of red blood cells and low on Vitamin B12, prevents the proper development of the red blood cells which can result in some prolonged health problems like anemia.
- Helps your Bones become Stronger
For stronger bones, one needs Vitamin B12. It is was discovered that people who had osteoporosis, were low on Vitamin B12. It provides bones with the minerals which make them strong and prevent them from becoming fragile.
- Helps prevent Birth Defects
Vitamin B12 help in fetus brain & nervous system development, which may help in the reduction of birth defects. Thereby, an adequate amount of Vitamin B12 is very important for pregnant women.
- Prevents Ageing & Keeps you looking young
When the DNA replication doesn’t happen properly, one may tend to age faster. Since Vitamin B12 helps in the development of new DNA cells, it may help the aging process to slow down.
- Improves your mood
Vitamin B12 helps with the production of a chemical called serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Lack of Vitamin B12 can cause problems like depression & anxiety.
- Prevents Nerve Damage
A study revealed that deficiency of Vitamin B12 contributes to poor memory performance. It has often been associated with memory loss and dementia in adults. Research also revealed that Alzheimer patients are low on Vitamin B12.
- Improves Energy
All B Vitamins play an important role in the production of energy in the body.
- Your Heart Needs It
One of the major functions of Vitamin B12 is to remove the dangerous protein homocysteine from your blood. If you allow it to flow through your blood, it may damage your arteries which may lead to inflammation & heart diseases. Hence, it keeps your heart happy!
What are the Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Since there are many health risks involved with the deficiency of Vitamin B12, therefore it is very important to identify the signs & symptoms. Some of them are:
- Pale Skin
Vitamin B12 deficiency can prevent the proper product of red blood cells, someone who is low on Vitamin B12 may have pale or jaundiced skin.
- Fatigue, Weakness or Lightheadedness:
It is a very common symptom of Vitamin B12 deficiency. It is one of the earliest & ignored symptom as well. Since your body can not produce enough red blood cells to effectively transport oxygen throughout your body, and this makes you feel tired all the time.
- Problems with Walking & Movement
When B12 deficiency is untreated for a really long time, it may cause problems with one’s mobility. It is usually seen in the elderly but sometimes in young people who have has severe Vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Dizziness, Heart Palpitations & Breathlessness
Although these symptoms may have many causes, Vitamin B12 is one of them. Since it helps with the production of energy & with the transportation of oxygen throughout the body, its deficiency may cause dizziness & breathlessness.
- Sensations of Needles & Pins
Vitamin B12 may help produce fatty myelin which surrounds your nerves for protection & insulation. Due to deficiency of Vitamin B12, the nervous system is not able to function properly resulting in the sensation of needles & pins. Although this is one of the symptoms which is visible at a later stage.
- Blurred of Disturbed Vision
Deficiency of Vitamin B12, if untreated for a really long time causes problems with the proper functioning of the nervous system, it affects the vision as well. It may damage your optic nerve which leads to your eyes.
- Mood Changes
This is one of the most common symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Having mood swings, depression & dementia!
What are the Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
There are many causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency but the most common one is a Vegetarian or Vegan diet. Since all animal-based food is high on Vitamin B12, and no plant-sourced food known for Vitamin B12, thereby vegetarians have a high chance of being deficient on Vitamin B12.
Another major reason for Vitamin B12 deficiency is aging. Since the stomach produces less acid, so the body absorbs less of Vitamin B12. Other reasons could be diabetes and alcohol abuse.
What foods are high on Vitamin B12?
In order to make sure that your body gets a sufficient dose of Vitamin B12, there are a few food items one can consume which are high on Vitamin B12:
- Chicken: A really good source of Vitamin B12, it has about 13.7 micrograms per cup.
- Oysters: Fond of Seafood? Well, the fancy delicacy has about 10.2 milligrams per 3 ounces.
- Eggs: They are one of the best sources of Vitamin B12!
- Crab: Another seafood item, and delicious as well! It contains 9.8 micrograms per 3 ounces.
- Tuna: One of the most popular fish food item is a really great source of Vitamin B12.
- Sardines: Did you know that these tiny fishes are really high on Vitamin B12!
- Shrimp: While the source of Vitamin B12 is really high in shrimps, they are super delicious!
- Pork Chops: So, anyone who eats pork will definitely get a sufficient amount of Vitamin 12 in their diet!
Since not everyone eats Non-Veg, There are a few Vegetarian food items one can consume to make sure they are getting enough amount of Vitamin B12. They are:
- Curd & Milk: Dairy products like yoghurt are a good source of Vitamin B12 which is about 1.1 micrograms per 8 ounces. Even milk is a good source with about 1.2 micrograms per cup.
- Cheese: Everyone loves cheese! Cheese like Ricotta Cheese, Swiss Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese & Cottage Cheese is a source of Vitamin B12 as well.
- Fortified Cereals: Easy & Healthy breakfast cereals are a source of Vitamin B12 as well!
- Shitake Mushrooms: An amazing & delicious source of Vitamin B12.
- Soy: Fond of soy? Well, it is a good source of the Vitamin too!
- Nutritional Yeast: There are many food items which contain nutritional yeast like sugarcane.
These are a few food items one can take to prevent or cure the deficiency of Vitamin B12. One can also take Vitamin B12 supplements with doctors consultation!