Vitamin B12 is a kind of sticking glue in the body – it helps to keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anaemia (a low red blood cell count) called megaloblastic anaemia that makes people tired and weak. Given the pivotal role B12 plays, it is understandable that its absence is sorely missed.
General symptoms of B12 deficiency
According to the NHS, other symptoms of B12 deficiency include:
- A pale yellow tinge to your skin
- A sore and red tongue (glossitis)
- Mouth ulcers
- Pins and needles (paraesthesia)
- Changes in the way that you walk and move around
- Disturbed vision
- Changes in the way you think, feel and behave.
- A decline in your mental abilities, such as memory, understanding and judgement (dementia)
“Some of these symptoms can also happen in people who have a vitamin B12 deficiency but have not developed anaemia,” says the health body.
As it points out, you should see a GP if you’re experiencing symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
These conditions can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of a blood test.
People following a strict vegan or vegetarian diet are far more likely to become deficient in B12.
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in a wide variety of animal foods and is added to some fortified foods.
As the NIH explains, plant foods have no vitamin B12 unless they are fortified.
There are vegan and vegetarian-friendly sources of B12, however, such as yeast extract (including Marmite), as well as some fortified breakfast cereals and soy products, adds the NHS.
Source: | Daily Express