Do you suffer from diarrhea or constipation and also one of following symptoms such as bleeding in gums, weakness, paleness of skin of upset stomach? If yes then chances are these symptoms are being caused by Vitamin B12 deficiency. However you should remember that these are the more obvious symptoms but there are other more dangerous consequences of Vitamin B12 deficiency which we will see later in this article.
Before we go into the various side effects of Vitamin B12 deficiency let us see why this vitamin is so essential to us.
Role Of Vitamin B12 in Your Health and Well Being
When your body produces or absorbs sufficient amount of this vitamin then it plays important role in proper functioning of brain, synthesis of blood and working of the nervous system. It is also very essential for proper metabolism in the body at the cellular level and hence maintains the proper synthesis of the DNA and also proper synthesis of the fatty acids which regulates the energy levels in your body.
It is also responsible for keeping a particular kind of amino acid in check which is one of the possible reasons for heart disease. Since blood production is also one of the functions of the vitamin having healthy levels ensures proper blood levels which carries oxygen to the entire body and hence essential for good health.
What are the Sources of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is synthesized from a bacteria. In animals this bacteria is usually present in the gut. In human being this bacteria resides in the stomach and the small intestines. This is possible since bacteria has the enzymes to produce this vitamins.
Human beings can also produce Vitamin B12 in their gut since this bacteria also resides in our stomachs. However the other sources of this vitamin includes animal products such as eggs, whole milk, milk products especially cheese and yogurt or curd, and meat. In meat products this is available in more dense form in the Liver. Usually you can also source this vitamin from many products to which this is added as supplement such as cereals and soy products. Now a days many supplements are also sold separately in many stores separately or as part of juices or energy drinks also.
I believe that human beings can also fulfill the Vitamin B12 requirements naturally, though having poultry products and also help. However many meat eaters recommend taking meat since they believe that this deficiency cannot be met without taking meats, however there is not substantive evidence about this as there are millions of people all over the world who are vegetarian or vegan and live a perfectly healthy life.
What are the Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Deficiency of this vitamin can be caused by many reasons and here are some of them –
Antibiotics – Since this vitamin is produced only from bacteria, anti biotics can play havoc since these kill the bacteria in the body. This includes the bad bacteria as well as good bacteria which produces this essential vitamin.
Operations – In certain conditions portion of the stomach of small intestine can be surgically removes in certain cases of ulcers or cancers.
Diseases of the Gut – Sometime presence of stomach worms can also lead to this deficiency. Other conditions include crohn’s disease also.
Alcohol – Consuming too much alcohol can also cause problems since alcohol interferes with the bacteria and also the enzymes and the various proteins available and required in the process.
Drugs – Many drugs interfere with the absorption of this vitamin. For example one of the common drugs used in Diabetes is Metformin and this drug usage can lead to deficiency.
Hereditary Conditions – Some people have hereditary condition which can cause problems in absorption of this Vitamin.
Problems Caused by Deficiency Of Vitamin B12
Apart from the problems mentioned above there are several other conditions which are more serious such as damage to the nervous system and in some cases permanent damage such as losing control and balance and depression and dementia which are serious conditions in themselves.
How is the Treatment Done
If this deficiency is caused due to too much alcohol consumption then it is obvious that you need to reduce that. If it is caused by some problems such as hereditary problems then you would need to get them injection form.
Usually taking more milk, cheese or poultry can be sufficient to deal with most problems.