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Thursday, 15 March 2012 08:37

Vitamin B12 deficiency: A Leading cause of many preventable Health problems

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Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to serious health problems and complications; hence deficiency prevention is more important. Read to know more about consequences and prevention.

vit b12Are you strict vegan or chronic alcoholic, or just underwent for intestinal surgery? Are you expecting or breast-feeding mother? If you are anyone of such a kind, are you receiving diet rich in vitamin B12 or B12 supplements? If you’re not, you might be in danger of vitamin B12 deficiency. What is this? Just take a look...

Vitamin B12 deficiency: A worldwide problem

According to study published in Journal Annual Reviews, vitamin B12 deficiency is a worldwide problem. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common cause of megaloblastic anemia, red blood cell abnormalities, throughout the world and especially in persons of European and African origin. Dietary deficiency of vitamin B12 is a serious problem in the Indian subcontinent, Mexico, Central and South America, and selected areas in Africa.

Several studies have revealed that deficiency of vitamin B12 due to any reason leads to spectrum of clinical consequences such as blood cell abnormalities, neurological diseases and psychiatric manifestations.

Knowing about vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin, also known as Cobalamin, which play a vital role to carry out various functions in the body.
Meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, cheese and eggs are some of vitamin B12 enriched food-stuffs.
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 is,

  • Ø Adult: 2 to 3 mcg per day
  • Ø Pregnant women: 2.6 mcg per day
  • Ø Lactating women: 2.8 mcg per day

Functions of vitamin B12
• Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells, which provide oxygen to various bodies’ tissues
• Vitamin B12 in combination with folate synthesizes genetic material of cells and help in healthy cell growth and repair
• Needed for healthy growth of nerves and thus it improves neurological activities.
• Reduces the risk of heart diseases by maintaining a  level of amino acid homocysteine.
• Improves immunity.
• Requires for metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrate metabolism produces glucose and maintains the normal energy level of the body.

Causes for vitamin B12 deficiency

vitamin-b12-source-pictureNutritional deficiency
Person consuming strict vegetarian diet and elderly person with “tea and toast” diet suffers from nutritional vitamin B12 deficiency.

Pernicious anaemia
Pernicious anaemia is an autoimmune disease characterized by destruction of intrinsic factor producing stomach cells. Intrinsic factor is a protein which normally helps in absorption of dietary vitamin B12. Absence of intrinsic factor hampers absorption of vitamin B12.

Gastro-intestinal causes
Stomach conditions like atrophic gastritis or recurrent peptic ulcer diseases cause vitamin B12 deficiency. Conditions affecting small-intestine such as crohn’s diseases, celiac disease, intestinal bacterial growth, and surgery where part of a small intestine is removed are certain causes for incidence of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Long-term use of acid-reducing medications likes antacids or heartburn medicines can cause vitamin B12 deficiency.

Chronic alcoholism
Vitamin B12 deficiency is persistently seen in chronic alcoholic.

Person suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency develops megaloblastic anemia, a clinical condition characterized by abnormalities in red blood cells. Advance cases present with neurological abnormalities and sometimes psychiatric symptoms.

  • Ø Megaloblastic anemia

• Feeling of tiredness, fatigue and lack of energy
• Feeling light-headedness with exertion
• Rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath
• Loss of appetite
• Easy bruising and bleeding, especially bleeding gums
• Pale skin
• Stomach upset, diarrhoea, and constipation

  • Ø Neurological abnormalities

• Tingling and numbness in fingers and toes
• Walking difficulty and lack of balance
• Impaired memory

  • Ø Psychiatric symptoms

• Disorientation
• Frequent mood changes
• Irritability and depression
• Dementia
• Sometimes psychosis
The breast-fed infant of a vitamin B12 deficient mother is at a risk for severe developmental abnormalities, growth failure, and anemia.

Depending upon cause vitamin B12 deficiency is managed either with injections of vitamin B12 or with supplement and fortified diet.

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes on preventing vitamin B12 deficiency either by consuming vitamin B12 fortified diet or by taking supplements.
Unfortunately as vegetarian diet lacks vitamin B12, vegan can eat breakfast cereal fortified with vitamin B12 or multi-vitamin tablets to overcome deficiency.
Expecting and breast-feeding women can overcome B12 deficiency by taking multi-vitamin tablets and eating a well-balanced diet.
Experts suggest that higher doses of oral cobalamin are necessary for prevention of deficiency consequences among elders.

Today’s need is create awareness among people about importance of vitamin B12 through education and social media.

Vitamin deficiency can lead to obesity in children

How to get Enough Nutrition from Vegetarian Diet

Simple ways to overcome the Symptoms of Indigestion




Read 50399 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 March 2012 14:02


  • Comment Link バーバリー アウトレット Tuesday, 24 September 2013 12:51 posted by バーバリー アウトレット

    I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays..

  • Comment Link Dr. Kartikey Palan Sunday, 25 March 2012 15:46 posted by Dr. Kartikey Palan

    Interesting !! Ya, one of the major cause, still unidentified clearly is the usage of RO Plant treated water !! Otherwise, appreciate such a healthy discussion from all of you. Like it.

  • Comment Link Raju Parekh Tuesday, 20 March 2012 22:27 posted by Raju Parekh

    one of biggest causes for vit b12 deficiency is the increased use of ro treated water

  • Comment Link asrithavis Monday, 19 March 2012 11:44 posted by asrithavis

    I do feel there are few diet options for vegans,like Sprouts, Broccoli, Tofu.But VitB12 supplementation is necessary for patients who have undergone surgical procedures and pregnant women.

  • Comment Link krishna Monday, 19 March 2012 11:33 posted by krishna

    Hi Genin, No vegan liquid could contain B12, again B12 is not found in plant foods.

  • Comment Link dr indira sahajwalla MD,DCH Friday, 16 March 2012 17:40 posted by dr indira sahajwalla MD,DCH

    Vitamin B12 is one of common preventable deficiency--disorder.Do suspect in any case with aches and pains,anaemia which is not Iron def anaemia.Easiest way is suspect and estimate by serum B12 estimation.It is more often in people living on maize.

  • Comment Link Genin Friday, 16 March 2012 17:38 posted by Genin

    I'm vegan, so I supplement B12 with a vegan liquid.

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