Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins and it is highly important for the metabolism in our cells. If there is a B12 deficiency for a long period of time it can cause neurological disorders and serious diseases.
Therefore, you should learn to recognize the early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency in order to treat them on time and prevent further health issues.
In addition, we are going to present to you the health benefits of this vitamin and what types of food can help you to increase the intake of B12 in a natural way.
These are the seven early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency
Lightheadedness and vertigo are among the first signs of B12 deficiency. Patients usually complain they wobble when they stand up from a chair or get dizzy while going downstairs or upstairs. However, these symptoms can be really serious. In case you have them, you should seek medical help in order to receive the necessary treatment.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can often cause unusual forgetfulness. Unfortunately, besides meaning chronic vitamin B12 deficiency this sign may indicate early dementia as well. Older people with this kind of deficiency may often confuse this forgetfulness with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Blood examination may show whether you suffer from it and in case you do a supplemental regimen may significantly improve your memory.
3. Muscle weakness
Weak muscles indicate that they are deprived of the necessary amount of oxygen from the red blood cells. Lack of vitamin B12 and improper oxygenation may cause sluggishness and unusual muscle weakness making you unable to carry your heavy purse or gym bag.
4. Pale skin
Instead of having rosy cheeks which reveal perfect health, lack of vitamin B12 makes your skin pale and yellow. This is due to the lack of red blood cells and the body stimulates the production of bilirubin which creates the pale visage on your face.
5. Needles and Pins
This kind of deficiency may cause paraesthesia, also known as needles and pins. Patients usually experience prickling, tingling and numbing sensation throughout their bodies, especially in their feet and hands. Moreover, they may feel electric shock waves which are due to nerve damage by insufficient amounts of vitamin B12. This is caused by the reduced red production of red blood cells and low levels of oxygen in the nerve tissue.
Constant fatigue is another warning sign that indicates a vitamin B12 deficiency. Chronic fatigue does not mean you have to experience sleep problems as well. This is caused by the low amounts of oxygen transported to the organs and the reduction of red blood cells.
7. Eye problems
Long-term lack of vitamin B12 may damage your eyes too. Namely, it affects the optic nerve causing optic neuropathy, doubled or blurred vision, reduced central vision, tracers or shadows and light sensitivity. Make sure you use supplements to improve your vision.
Health benefits of this vitamin.
Here is a list of the diseases which vitamin B12 prevents:
1. Prevents stroke and heart disease
Heart diseases are the leading death causes in the U.S., so you need to take some measures in order to protect your cardiovascular system. According to recent research, a high level of homocysteine is more dangerous for your health rather than cholesterol. If the body lacks vitamin B12, the α-amino acid, which is a non-protein, creates inflammation. In other words, vitamin B12 reduces homocysteine levels and the risk of stroke or heart disease.
2. Prevents nerve damage
All nerves are covered with myelin which protects them from free radical damage and toxins. Without the myelin covering nerves can be damaged which usually results in neurological disorders. This means that dead nerves interrupt the transmission of the signals from and to the brain.
3. Supports energy
If the body has enough amounts of vitamin B12, the cells will be well-fed and healthy and you will feel more energized. However, its deficiency makes you weak and tired. The body metabolism needs vitamin B12 in order to convert the carbohydrates into usable glucose, which plays the most important role in the production of energy. Patients who lack this vitamin usually suffer from fatigue.
4. Encourages digestion
Vitamin B12 encourages the secretion of the digestive enzymes which support healthy metabolism and help the breakdown of the foods in the stomach. Moreover, this vitamin eliminates harmful bacteria in the intestinal system and encourages the development of healthy bacteria. In this way, it prevents all kinds of digestive disorders, inflammatory bowel processes, and candida.
5. Prevents anemia and stimulates the production of red blood cells
Since vitamin B12 stimulates the production of red blood cells, it prevents megaloblastic anemia which is usually manifested by chronic fatigue and weakness.
6. Improves the condition of bones
High levels of homocysteine may result in various bone conditions such as osteoporosis. Due to the fact that vitamin B12 reduces the homocysteine levels, it is a perfect supplement for the patients who struggle with bone issues.
Natural sources of this vitamin
These are the foods which contain high levels of vitamin B12:
• Salmon – 19.5 mg in 108 g (1 filet)
• Mackerel – 15.3 mg in 3 ounces
• Herring – 18.7 mg in 143 g (1 filet)
• Organic yogurt – 1.3 milligrams in 1 container of Greek yogurt
• Sardines – 13.3 mg in 1 cup
• Trout – 9.1 mg in 1 filet
• Tuna – 9.3 mg in 3 ounces
• Lamb – 0.8 mg in 3 ounces
• Turkey – 1.1 mg in 3 ounces
• Beef tenderloin – 0.9 mg in 3 ounces
• Raw milk – 1 mg in 1 glass
There are also non-vegan sources of vitamin B12 such as cheese, cereals, plant-based milk (almond milk, soymilk, coconut milk) and nutritional yeasts.
Taking into consideration that vitamin B12 plays a major role in all body processes and improves overall health it is crucial to recognize the early signs of its deficiency and treat it on time in order to prevent further and more serious health issues.