Danger of Vitamin B12 Deficiency:Symptoms and Risk Factors

Having a vitamin B12 deficiency prevents the body from making red blood cells. What this ultimately means is that someone with a vitamin B12 deficiency is anemic. Foods that are rich of vitamin B12 are eggs, cheese, milk, and meat.

Here are some of the vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms and risk factors that everyone should be aware of.

Symptoms of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

It is important to keep in mind that there are many people with a vitamin B12 deficiency who do not even recognize symptoms. Symptoms are often unrecognizable for those who suffer from only a mild case. Others may relate their vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms to other causes.

People with a vitamin B12 deficiency generally feel fatigued, weak, and lightheaded. They may feel sick to their stomach, have diarrhea or constipation, and may lose weight. A vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause pale skin, a sore and red tongue, and bleeding gums. Over time, people who have this deficiency may experience depression, dementia, problems maintaining balance, or a numb, tingling sensation in their toes and fingers.

Who are at Risk Factors of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Certain people may be more likely to experience vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms than others. The reason is because certain types of diets and medical conditions put a person at a higher risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency than others. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Digestive problems – People with digestive problems may be more likely to experience this deficiency because vitamin B12 is absorbed by the stomach. Having Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, a parasite, or small intestine bacterial growth can prevent proper absorption.
  • Vegan diet – People who do not eat meat or animal by-products are much more likely to experience vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms. Since their diets do not consist of the primary sources of vitamin B12, it is ideal for them to take a daily supplement.
  • Bariatric surgery – Weight loss surgery to remove the stomach or part of the small intestine can prevent vitamin B12 from being properly absorbed.
  • Pernicious anemia – This type of anemia causes the body to destroy cells in the stomach which help the body absorb the vitamin.

Anyone who suffers from vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms should take them very seriously. While many people are able to cope with the initial symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency, they are not comfortable and worsen over time. A vitamin B12 deficiency can generally be managed by adding sources of vitamin B12 to the diet, taking a multivitamin or, in more severe cases, having regular vitamin B12 injections.
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Vitamin B 12 side effects

Fortunately, vitamin B12 side effects are quite rare.
In fact, when vitamin B12 supplements are taken orally then there is little chance of side effects occurring.

However there are reported cases of allergic reactions to vitamin b12 injections, but it is unknown if these allergic reactions are due to the vitamin b12 itself or the preservatives in the injectable vitamin b12. It can be causes by some preservatives contained in most vitamin b12 injections.

Vitamin B12 side effects

Vitamin B12 side effects can include:

  • Mild diarrhea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Breathing problems
  • Insomnia
  • Anxieties and panic attacks
  • Chest pain
  • Skin rash, hives, or itchy or swollen skin

Other side effects may occur if you have an allergy or a sensitive to cobalamin and cobalt. In this case avoid vitamin B12 supplementation altogether.
Take tour Vitamin B12 from foods that contain naturally occurring B12.
Vitamin B12 also should be avoided by people suffering from Leber’s disease, a hereditary disease in which the optic nerve wastes away.
Ingesting vitamin B12 can actually speed up the atrophy of the optic nerve resulting in rapid loss of central vision.

Clinic evidence also suggest that patients who have undergone heart surgery and received coronary stents may have an increased risk of the artery narrowing again when they take vitamin B12.

As can be seen, vitamin B12 is a relatively safe vitamin with very few adverse side effects even when taken in large doses.


VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY ANEMIA SYMPTOMS

Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is  type of megaloblastic anemia that develops when the body doesn’t absorb enough of this nutrient. Necessary for the creation of red blood cells, B12 is found in meat and vegetables.
Large amounts of B12 are stored in the body, so this condition may not become apparent until as much as four years after B12 absorption stops or slows down. The resulting drop in red blood cell production can cause:

  • loss of muscle control
  • loss of sensation in the legs, hands, and feet
  • soreness or burning of the tongue
  • weight loss
  • yellow-blue color blindness

The most common form of B12 deficiency is pernicious anemia. Since most people who eat meat or eggs get enough B12 in their diets, a deficiency of this vitamin usually means that the body is not absorbing it properly.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia

If your vitamin B12 deficiency is mild, you may not have symptoms or you may not notice them. Some people may think they are just the result of growing older. As the anemia gets worse, you may:

  • Feel weak, tired, and lightheaded.
  • Have pale skin.
  • Have a sore, red tongue or bleeding gums.
  • Feel sick to your stomach and lose weight
  • Have diarrhea or constipation.

If the level of vitamin B12 stays low for a long time, it can damage your nerve cells. If this happens then develops following symptoms:

  • Numbness or tingling in your fingers and toes.
  • A poor sense of balance.
  • Depression.
  • Dementia, a loss of mental abilities.

A life-long regimen of B12 shots is necessary to control symptoms of pernicious anemia. For many people, pills work just as well as shots. The patient may be advised to limit physical activity until treatment restores strength and balance.
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Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms

You need Cobalamin, or Vitamin B12 to process the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your food into energy. It also forms the protective covering of your nerve cells and keeps your red blood cells healthy, and helps prevent heart disease.

Vegetables, fruits, and all other foods of non-animal origin are free from B12 unless contaminated by bacteria. B12 in food is generally resistant to destruction by cooking.
B12 deficiency is a significant public health problem, particularly but not exclusively among the elderly. During the past decade, many investigators have reported a high prevalence of B12 deficiency in the elderly.
By far the most common cause of clinically evident B12 deficiency is malabsorption, although other causes, notably inadequate dietary intake, cause or contribute to B12 deficiency
Dietary B12 deficiency arises in adult vegans who shun all meat, fish, eggs, cheese, and other animal products from their diet.
vitamin-b12-deficiency-symptomsVitamin B12 deficiency may arise in non-vegetarian subjects who exist on grossly inadequate diets primarily because of poverty.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms are anemia, appetite loss, constipation, numbness and tingling in the extremities, and confusion. Pregnant women with deficiency have increased risk of giving birth to a child with neural tube defects.
Among the many and varied symptoms of B12 deficiency that have been reported are tinnitus and auditory hallucinations, suggesting a role for B12 in hearing.
Supplements included vitamin B12 are recommended for those over age 50, vegetarians, women planning to become pregnant, those with poor diets, and those at risk of heart disease.

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