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What is B12?
Vitamin B12 is one of the vitamins responsible for metabolism and stable energy levels. In addition, B12 helps support the healthy function of red blood cells and nerve tissue.
It is found naturally in protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and milk.
Who is at risk for B12 deficiency?
Because B12 is not usually found in plant-based foods, vegetarians are at risk of B12 deficiency. Older adults are at risk because the body does not absorb B12 as readily as we age.
If you are taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for chronic heartburn or have been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal condition such as Crohn’s disease, you may be at risk for B12 deficiency.
Treatment of B12 deficiency
Most symptoms can be treated simply by increasing the amount of B12-rich foods in your diet. If you are mildly deficient, increasing your protein intake is enough to restore energy.
If your B12 deficiency is more severe, you may need B12 injections or supplements to restore your health. Not sure if you’re getting enough B12? Check if any of these b12 deficiency symptoms apply to you.
B12 deficiency can cause anemia (low production of red blood cells). Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. When the body does not produce enough red blood cells, the amount of oxygen decreases. B12-related anemia can cause many other problems, including:
It’s normal to feel tired during the day if you didn’t sleep well the night before, just ate too much or finished a heavy workout. But it’s not normal to feel extreme fatigue that doesn’t go away on vacation.
You may be sore after a day or two of strenuous exercise, but if your muscles feel like they just ran a marathon after doing something as simple as brushing your hair, you may be anemic.
Do you feel a flutter in your chest? Heart palpitations may occur due to reduced oxygen circulation.
Shortness of breath after exercise is normal, but shortness of breath at rest is a sign that something is wrong. Similar to palpitations, anemia can cause shortness of breath due to a lack of oxygen in the blood.
Red blood cells are responsible for the pink color of our cheeks. When red blood cell production decreases, as in people with anemia, the skin becomes pale and discolored.
- Pinching sensation
You know that pins and needles feeling you always get when your legs are numb?
This sensation is called peripheral neuropathy and may be related to nerve damage caused by B12 deficiency.
According to the Peripheral Neurology Foundation, B12 deficiency can damage the sheath that surrounds and protects nerves, resulting in an unpleasant and sometimes painful tingling sensation.
Other conditions, such as diabetes, can cause pins and needles, so it’s best to make an appointment with your doctor to rule out other conditions.
- Forgetfulness, confusion
One of the worst symptoms of B12 deficiency is forgetfulness and confusion. This symptom usually occurs in older people and is often misdiagnosed as dementia. This is what happened to Ilsa Katz in 2011 when she wrote about vitamin B12 deficiency in the New York Times.
Ms. Katz’s daughter noticed that she was losing her ability to remember her mother’s faces and events. He was easily confused and could not remember where he was going or how he got there.
The tentative diagnosis was Alzheimer’s disease, but routine blood work showed low B12 levels. After several weeks of B12 injections, Mrs. Katz’s condition improved dramatically.
It’s normal to experience brain fog from time to time, such as forgetting where you parked your car or why you came to the grocery store. But if you can’t remember your boss’s name all the time, or how you got there, you may be severely deficient in B12.
Many disorders, including depression and anxiety, are associated with low B12 levels. As Wellness Mama explains, B12 helps regulate the production of mood-regulating chemicals like serotonin. When B12 levels are low, the production of these chemicals is interrupted, which can lead to certain depression.
Of course, anxiety and depression can be caused by many other factors, such as stress or hormonal imbalances.
But if you suddenly start crying for no reason or have other symptoms of anxiety, you may want to get your B12 levels checked.
- Changes in vision
If you notice changes in your vision, it may be time to see an eye doctor. However, du of B12