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The Unexpected Ways Vitamin B12 Deficiency Impacts Your Health Beyond Energy!

Dr. Rahul Verma 140 Views
Updated: 23 Apr 2024
Published: 23 Apr 2024

Introduction:

It is quite known that vitamins are very necessary for maintaining overall health, in addition to supporting different body functions, growth and development. One such vitamin is Vitamin B12 aka cobalamin. Many of you might not be knowing that this is an important vitamin for cells as it keeps your blood cells, nerves, and DNA healthy. Not only many are unaware of its importance but don’t even get it tested regularly. But we are pretty sure that you don’t realise that Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause problems you never would have imagined. So, if you are one of those who is not sure why you need to get a Vitamin B12 test regularly, then this article is for you.

In the subsequent sections, we will divulge more about Vitamin B12 deficiency and how it affects your health in various ways. So, keep scrolling.

Impact of Vitamin B12 deficiency on health:

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin and is not created by the body. You get this vitamin from different food products, like red meat, fish, plant milks, bread, fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, plant milks, eggs, dairy, and poultry. And, although it is present in different foods, many people still face Vitamin B12 deficiency. So, let’s first discuss the impact of B12 deficiency in detail, and then we will have a brief look at the different root causes.

  • Tingling sensation: Many individuals, who have Vitamin B12 deficiency, experience pins-and-needles or a tingling sensation in hands and feet. But this symptom also occurs among those afflicted with diabetic neuropathy, which is why it is important to go for vitamin b12 test to know the underlying cause.
  • Trouble walking: If vitamin B12 deficiency persists for a longer time, it can cause movement problems or impaired coordination. Numbness in limbs may make it harder for a person to walk. People lacking vitamin B12 may also experience troubles in reflexes as well as muscle weakness.
  • Pale skin: As vitamin B12 plays a vital role in production of RBCs, its deficiency can cause your skin to turn pale because of insufficient RBCs.
  • Fatigue: If you are deficient in vitamin B12, you may feel quite fatigued and weak. Your body needs RBCs for proper functioning. And, inadequate vitamin B12 may lead to decline in RBCs, which in turn may cause hindrance in oxygen delivery. If there is not enough oxygen in your body, you may feel weak and tired.
  • Rapid heart rate: This is another negative effect of low RBC count. Your heart tends to beat faster in order to compensate for less RBCs, in addition to ensuring that your body has enough oxygen, and it is reaching all organs.
  • Shortness of breath: Less RBC count coupled with rapid heart rate can also make you feel short of breath.
  • Oral health issues: Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause pain and inflammation in the mouth, in addition to swollen and smooth tongue. At times, your mouth may feel sore or there might be a burning sensation.
  • Cognitive impairment: Yes, you read that right! Vitamin B12 deficiency may also cause issues with the central nervous system due to which you might have problems with focussing and concentration. You may also feel foggy-headed and experience difficulties in completing tasks.
  • Mental health issues: Your mood may also get affected if you have low vitamin B12. This, in turn, may result in development of mental health issues, like anxiety and even depression.
  • Issues with digestive tract: Vitamin B12 deficiency might cause gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, and gas. This is because not enough oxygen is able to reach the gut, which may make you feel sick.
  • Appetite loss: As discussed above, this vitamin’s deficiency can cause gut problems, due to which you may not feel hungry. And, if this issue persists for a longer time, you may also lose weight.

Diagnosis and Management of vitamin B12 deficiency:

So now that you have seen what implications this vitamin deficiency can have on your body, do you understand how important it is to get a vitamin B12 test done on a regular basis? And, if you still feel that why go for a test, you can easily recognise the signs and symptoms, let us tell you that you might be very wrong here! This is because the above-mentioned effects aren’t just restricted to one specific condition, which is why you may misinterpret or misdiagnose, thereby making things worse. So, if you are experiencing any symptoms, make sure to get in touch with a medical professional. Your doctor will prescribe a series of tests, including vitamin B12 test, which will help him know the underlying cause. And, if it turns out that you have vitamin B12 deficiency, he will suggest appropriate treatment methods.

Treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency: For treating deficiency, your healthcare provider may prescribe vitamin B12 tablets or supplements. Some of the other options are intramuscular injections, nasal sprays, or nasal gels. In addition to supplements or vitamin B12 tablets, you can also add vitamin-rich foods in your diet, like seafood, eggs, dairy products, and fortified cereals.

Conclusion:

Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins your body needs to work properly and stay healthy. It is worth noting that if diagnosed on time, vitamin B12 deficiency can be easily treated with oral supplements or consuming foods rich in vitamin B12. On the other hand, if it is not diagnosed early or left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause severe implications, including mental issues, cognitive impairment, anaemia, concentration issues and much more. Furthermore, many symptoms associated with low B12 levels can also be caused by different disorders or other vitamins’ deficiencies. This makes it more important to consult your healthcare provider if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms. Since diagnosis, your doctor will accordingly suggest appropriate tests and right therapies for treatment of the underlying cause.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. What is the price of a vitamin b12 test?

    Answer:- Price of a vitamin b12 test may vary from region to region, hence it is better to consult your healthcare provider for the same.

  2. What are some of the common causes for vitamin B12 deficiency?

    Answer:- Vitamin B12 deficiency can either be caused by inadequate dietary intake, certain medications (including proton pump inhibitors or metformin) ageing, genes, or poor absorption due to some disorders like chronic pancreatic disease, autoimmune diseases (like type 1 diabetes or celiac disease), pernicious anaemia, digestive issues (such as ulcerative colitis), chronic pancreatic disease and vitiligo.

  3. Can I prevent vitamin B12 deficiency?

    Answer:- Yes, you can take certain steps to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency. You can add vitamin B12-rich foods, like red meat, fish, milk, eggs etc., to your diet or start consuming vitamin B12 fortified foods like plant milk, breakfast cereals etc. In addition, you can talk to your doctor to recommend vitamin B12 tablets or supplements.

  4. What are some of the common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?

    Answer:- Some of the common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are fatigue, anaemia, rapid heartbeat, numbness in hands and feet, shortness of breath, cognitive issues, sore tongue, etc.

  5. Why is vitamin B12 important for the body?

    Answer:- Vitamin B12 is needed for the body for forming RBCs, energy production, DNA synthesis and neurological function.

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