What is vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency happens when your body is either not getting enough or not absorbing enough vitamin B12 from the food that you eat that it needs to function properly. Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient that helps your body make red blood cells and DNA, the genetic material in all of your cells.
Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to a reduction in healthy red blood cells (anaemia). The nervous system may also be affected. Diet or certain medical conditions may be the cause. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause physical, neurological and psychological problems if it is not treated.
Related Article: Importance of B12 and Folic Acid
Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency can include:
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Experiencing nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
- Not feeling as hungry as usual.
- Weight loss.
- Having a sore mouth or tongue.
- Having yellowish skin.
- Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet.
- Vision problems.
- Having a hard time remembering things or getting confused easily.
- Having a difficult time walking or speaking like you usually do.
- If neurological problems develop from vitamin B12 deficiency, they may not be reversible.
- Feeling depressed.
- Feeling irritable.
- Experiencing a change in the way you feel and behave.
How do you know you have B12 deficiency?
Your doctor will do a physical exam and might order one or more of these tests: Complete blood count (CBC). This test checks the size and number of your red blood cells. If you’re low in vitamin B12, your red blood cells won’t look normal.
Foods higher in B12
- Cooked clams: 84.1 micrograms.
- Steamed mussels: 20.4 micrograms.
- Cooked Atlantic mackerel: 16.1 micrograms.
- Steamed Alaska king crab: 9.8 micrograms.
- Cooked wild rainbow trout 5.4 micrograms.
- Cooked salmon: 2.4 micrograms.
- Fruits like apples, bananas, blueberries and oranges are some fruits that are high in vitamin B12
How long does it take to recover from B12 deficiency?
Recovery from vitamin B12 deficiency takes time. You may not have any improvement during the first few months of treatment. Improvement may be gradual and may continue for up to six to 12 months.