Vitamin B12 is one of the most complex vitamins which plays a part in many important processes in the body. Lack of the vitamin is a serious problem and may cause different diseases and conditions. This is why it’s important to detect the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency on time and address them appropriately. Before presenting the most common symptoms of this deficiency and the ways of resolving them, let’s look at the health benefits of the vitamin first:
Vitamin B12 health benefits
Protects your heart
Heart disease is one of the main causes of death around the world. Vitamin B12 is highly beneficial for your heart as it can reduce the levels of homocysteine in your blood, which is one of the major causes of heart disease. The levels of homocysteine in the blood can be neutralized by B complex vitamins, which is why you should stock up on vitamin B12.
Prevents nerve damage
Vitamin B12 can replenish the myelin sheath of the nerves, which will keep them safe from harm. In this way, the vitamin can protect you from nerve damage and a host of nerve-related diseases and conditions.
Important for your bones
According to studies, people suffering from osteoporosis have been found to have low levels of vitamin B12 and high levels of homocysteine in their blood. Osteoporosis manifests with brittle and weak bones as well as loss of bone tissue. If you’re suffering from this condition, make sure to check your vitamin B12 levels at a doctor.
Keeps your body supplied with energy
Vitamin B12 stimulates the production of energy in your cells – tired people are often affected by vitamin B12 deficiency. This vitamin is crucial for your metabolism and can convert carbs into usable energy, which is why lack of it causes fatigue. Furthermore, the body requires vitamin B12 as it’s crucial for neurotransmitter signaling which plays a role in muscle contraction and provides energy to the cells which will help you last through the day without feeling weak.
Here are the main symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency:
Vitamin B12 is involved in the formation of erythrocytes, cells that carry oxygen through the body. Lack of the vitamin can result in insufficient number of erythrocytes and a condition called anemia, which causes symptoms such as fatigue. Lack of vitamin B12 can also affect your nerves and memory.
Numbness in the head and feet
The low oxygen levels in the body caused by vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to a strange numbness in the head and feet.
Fatigue is one of the main symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. It occurs due to the low level of oxygen in the cells, which can make you feel tired and sleepy. The sleepiness doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re lacking vitamin B12, but if it’s accompanied by the aforementioned symptoms, it definitely is.
Swollen and inflamed tongue
A common symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency is the loss of papillae, little bumps on the tongue. The papillae are responsible for our taste, which means that if you lose them, you’ll lose the sensation of taste as well. People suffering from this deficiency have often reported that the food they eat doesn’t taste as good as before.
Here are the best natural food source of vitamin B12:
Eggs are a cheap and versatile source of vitamin B12 that can be consumed in different ways.
Clams are excellent sources of vitamin B12, potassium and iron as well – 3 oz. of clams contains 23.8 mg. of iron and 126 calories.
Beef is rich in vitamin A and B12, but make sure to choose lean beef meat when buying.
Turkey is a great source of vitamin B12, with a portion of it (1 cup) containing 48.2 mg. of the vitamin.
If you’re vegan, you can find a lot of vitamin B12 in yogurt, cereal, cheese, plant-based milk and nutritional yeast.