B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when either there is not enough of vitamin B12 in the foods we eat, or when there are problems with digestion or metabolism.
Vitamin B12 in meat is attached to the meat proteins and must be released from the proteins by the gastric acid in the stomach to start the absorption process in the body.
People who produce less gastric acid as do some elderly people, or people on anti-acids will release less vitamin B12 from proteins and are more prone to B12 deficiency.
After vitamin B12 is released from proteins it must then bind with another protein made by the body, in order to be absorbed by the body. This protein is called “intrinsic factor”, and some people have an autoimmune disease called pernicious anemia which prevents the body from making this protein.
Pernicious anemia causes vitamin B12 deficiency which can lead to megaloblastic anemia, which is a disorder in which red blood cells are larger than normal, immature, and few in number. This reduces the amount of oxygen that can be carried by the blood to the body’s tissues, and causes tiredness and fatigue.
B12 benefits involve protecting the brain and nervous, supporting metabolism and cell reproduction, producing red blood cells, and supplying energy. A B12 deficiency will negatively effect these areas.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
- Tiredness and weakness
- Pale skin
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Soreness of the mouth or tongue
As vitamin B12 deficiency worsens it can lead to nerve damage and:
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
- Memory Loss, confusion and dementia
- Difficulty with balance
Vegan and vegetarians have a higher risk of developing a B12 deficiency than people who eat meat because plants don’t produce vitamin B12.
Animals don’t produce Vitamin B12 either, but grazing animals eat plants that have bacteria on them that produce vitamin B12, and meat eating animals eat grazing animals and get their B12. People than eat the animals that have vitamin B12 in them to get their B12.
Natural sources of vitamin B12 are dwindling in nature so plants have less vitamin B12 on them, and animals consume less Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 for vegans is gotten through either supplements, algae, yeast, or fortified foods.
Since vitamin B12 occurs less in nature now, vegans, vegetarians, and people who eat meat must be aware of their vitamin B12 intake so they don’t develop a B12 deficiency.
B12 deficiency is found more commonly in people who have low levels of gastric juice their stomachs, people who have stomach operations, and people who suffer from pernicious anemia.
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