Are you Vitamin B12 deficient?

What is Vitamin B12?

 

Vitamin B12 has many important roles in the body, it is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA. A key role of B12 is to reduce the level of homocysteine in the blood, this process is crucial for a healthy brain and immune system. Without B12, your metabolism wouldn’t run smoothly without it.

Vitamin B12 helps in the absorption of folic acid, which enables the slow release of energy.

 

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency causes tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, and megaloblastic anaemia. Nerve problems, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can also occur. Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include problems with balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue.

Some symptoms that overlap with typical PCOS symptoms; Disturbed carbohydrate metabolism, Fatigue, Infertility, Insomnia.

 

What causes B12 deficiency?

 

There are various causes of B12 deficiency:

  • Poor diet/or a vegan and vegetarian diet- Those who follow a vegan and vegetarian diet are more likely to suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. It is suggested that vitamin B12 is added to their diet, this can be done by eating fermented foods, particular types of mushroom that contain the vitamin and B12-enriched vegetables.
  • Medication side effects
  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Medical conditions (such as leaky gut and/or gut inflammation, low stomach acid, pernicious anaemia
  • Exposure to nitrous oxide
  • Oral contraceptives may cause B12 deficiency. Research results are conflicting, in some studies they found that users had reduced levels, but, others indicated no effect. However, when the oral contraceptive is stopped, normalization of vitamin B12 levels usually occurs.
  • Metformin causes B12 deficiency. Studies have provided evidence indicating between 10% and 30% of people who take metformin on a regular basis have shown decreased B12 absorption. Metformin contributes to serum B12 deficiency by preventing its transfer into the blood through a calcium-dependent membrane, leading to decreased absorption.

 

Sources of Vitamin B12

 

You do not have to spend money buying supplements from the health store, you can get vitamin B12 from food, all you have to do is know what food has B12 and then implement them in your diet.
B12 is found in animal-based food, but can also be found in other vegetarian sources:

  • Shellfish
  • Beef Liver
  • Mackerel
  • Crab
  • Fortified Cereals (All Bran)
  • Fortified Soy Products (Silken Tofu)
  • Salmon
  • Pork
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Yoghurt
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Wild trout
  • Sirloin Beef

What is the recommended amount?

 

Adults need 2.4 micrograms

Pregnant women 2.6 micrograms

Breastfeeding women 2.8 micrograms

 

Further Reading

 

http://veganhealth.org/b12/hcy

 

http://www.foodforthebrain.org/alzheimers-prevention/homocysteine-and-b-vitamins.aspx

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