Vitamin B 12 is one of eight vitamins that form the vitamin B complex. It is also known as cobalamin and is water soluble substance. Human body doesn’t have the ability to synthesize this vitamin, and since it is very important for proper functioning of the organism we need to take it daily.
Vitamin B 12 is very important for normal functioning of human brain and the nervous system, it contributes in the process of formation of red blood cells, synthesis of DNA, metabolism of fats, amino acids and almost every cell in the organism.
Deficiency of vitamin B 12 can cause serious damages to the organism and since it has key role for nervous system, science is trying to find the link between deficiency of cobalamin and diseases as dementia or memory loss.
Even though it is very important for healthy organism, vitamin B 12 deficiency is very common in people and according to statistics it affects around 40 percent of people between 25 and 83 years of age.
SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN B 12 DEFICIENCY
Vitamin B 12 is important for normal functioning of the nervous system so the first signs of its deficiency will usually show in this area and can vary from memory or concentration problems to tension, irritability or even fear. These first symptoms are often misleading and therefore it is harder to diagnose that vitamin B 12 deficiency as a disease in the early stage.
Vitamin B 12 deficiency will usually occur in few stages. First the lowered level of vitamin B 12 in the blood, then second the low level of concentration of B 12 in the cells, lower level of DNA synthesis and finally anemia.
The normal range of vitamin B 12 in the blood goes between 200 and 350 µg/mL, but some experts recommend to start with treatments when the level of B 12 in the blood reaches 450 µg/mL because the lower the deficiency increases risk of serious diseases as memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, depression, schizophrenia, psychosis, autism, immunity problems, infertility and even cancer.
WHAT CAUSES VITAMIN B 12 DEFICIENCY
Even if you try to supply your body with needed amounts of vitamin B 12 its absorption by your body is complicated and can be disturbed by few factors.
Of you have some kind of digestion problem as inflammation, gastritis; low level of gastric acid it can affect its absorption.
Pernicious anemia or also known as vitamin B 12 deficiency anemia which is a condition of lower amount of red blood cells that is a result of deficiency of this vitamin in the blood.
Some medication as antacids can also cause deficiency of vitamin B 12 because they affect on the production of gastric acid in the digestion organs.
Excess amounts of alcohol can also affect the amount of vitamin B 12 your body absorbs as will some nitrate compounds. These are the main reasons that people that eat sufficient amounts of vitamin B 12 rich food get to deal with its deficiency.
RISK GROUPS OF VITAMIN B 12 DEFICIENCY
According to statistics of experts there are groups of people that are mostly exposed to vitamin B 12 deficiency. Among them are people over 60 years, people that use antacids and diabetes medication, people with Crohn’s disease or ulcer colitis, people allergic to gluten, women that deal with infertility or those that had abortion, vegetarian and vegans.
Vitamin B 12 can only be found in animal aliments. There is not a way we can absorb it from plants or sunlight. It is called cobalamin because it contains cobalt, mineral that plants don’t need and it is really important that if you are vegan or vegetarian you talk to your doctor about supplements of this vitamin your body needs on daily basis since you can’t take it in through food.
WHY YOUR ORGANISM NEEDS VITAMIN B 12
Vitamin B 12 is included in the synthesis of DNA together with vitamin B 9. It also contributes in production of parts of nerves and nerve endings.
When your body lacks vitamin B 12 you will be tired, sleepy, nervous, distressed or anxious.
If the amount of vitamin B 12 in your blood drops significantly then you are in increased risk of pernicious anemia. It is a disease known as vitamin B 12 deficiency anemia and it is auto immune disease when your body disables the absorption of this vitamin. It is one of last stages of vitamin B 12 deficiency and it is often fatal.
HOW TO DEAL WITH VITAMIN B 12 DEFICIENCY
Deficiency of vitamin B 12 is a disorder that is easy to diagnose using blood test but it can cause very serious problems to your health if not treated properly.
People that deal with pernicious anemia, Crohn’s disease or colitis are serious cases because they have problem with absorption of vitamin B 12 and will need vitamin B 12 injections all their life that. People that deal with acute deficiency of cobalamin are also recommended to use injections or supplements that will supply their organism with needed amounts of vitamin B 12.
As said before, vitamin B 12 deficiency is very common health disorder and since it can cause serious diseases if not treated then you need to supply your body with its recommended daily needs of this vitamin.
Food is one of the best sources of this vitamin, but this vitamin is usually present in animal food then vegetarians, vegans as well as people that have problems with absorption of this vitamin should consider supplements as well as vitamin B 12 shots. Your doctor will decide which one is the best for you and give you advice about how to use them.
One of the best food sources of vitamin B 12 are animal kidneys and liver, red meat, eggs, milk and dairy products, some kinds of fish as salmon, tuna, trout and sardines , sea food, cereal, yeast non dairy milk.