People take vitamins, mineral and other nutrients from the food they eat through the process of digestion. Even though there are some vitamins, like vitamin D, that are naturally synthesized in the body, there are some vitamins, like B12, that we must take from the food we consume.
It turns out that vitamin B12 is a very important nutrient that our body needs in order to create new red blood cells, nerves and even DNA.
VEGANISM AND B12
Plants are usually packed with vitamins, but when it comes to B12, there are only a small number of plants that can provide B12. That’s why vegetarians and vegans following strict diets often experience the symptoms of B12 deficiency. The simplest solution to avoid situations like this is to consume foods that are enriched with this vitamin like fortified nut milk and soy.
Certain microorganisms including fungi and bacteria can create vitamin B12. Due to the fact that bacteria can be located in the soil, foods that thrive from soil can come with small quantities of this vitamin. In case you are peeling your veggies more than necessary, you may be eliminating useful bacteria.
Some of the foods that naturally have small quantities of vitamin B12 are mushrooms and some fermented foods including tempeh. Nori which is actually a kind of seaweed.
Some of you may be aware of the existence of B12 injections. These injections are usually used as energy boosters or for weight loss.
The truth is that there is no scientific evidence that can confirm the benefits of using these injections. It is quite illogical to expect to increase energy levels and shred calories and extra pounds by taking shots of one vitamin even if it is B12.
IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO USE SUPPLEMENTS?
When it comes to B12 supplements, you should know that they come in two forms – capsule and liquid. In case you don’t eat (or eat only small amounts) dairy products, eggs and meat, it might be a good idea to use B12 supplements.
The categories of people who have higher chances of experiencing B12 deficiency are senior citizens, people who are recovering from weight loss surgery, HIV positive individuals and individuals dealing with specific digestive issues like Crohn’s disease because this disease disrupts the natural ability of the body to absorb vitamins and minerals.
It is worth mentioning that breastfeeding moms and pregnant women need higher amount of vitamin B12. They need to take care of their babies too, so they need more B12. It is the best idea to consult your doctor and find out which amount is ideal for your and the baby.
No matter what kind of diet you are following, you should take sufficient amount of B12 in order to avoid any health issues. If you are worried about the level of B12 in the body, perform blood test. Your physician should also recommend supplements in case you lack vitamin B12.
THE IMPORTANCE OF VITAMIN B12
The truth is that you don’t need high amounts of this vitamin. As a matter of fact the daily recommended intake of B12 is the lowest of almost all vitamins. An average adult needs about 2.4 micrograms a day. However, this vitamin is crucial for many functions in our body. Lack of B12 can result in serious health issues.
On the other hand, a severe deficiency of vitamin B12 can indirectly lead to anemia, heart disease, stroke, memory issues, paranoia, incontinence, depression and many other health issues. In order to avoid situations like this, you should learn more about the symptoms and signs of B12 deficiency.
6 SIGNS YOU HAVE A B12 DEFICIENCY
1. JOINT PAIN
Intense pain in the joints that is not related to inflammation (arthritis) or injuries may indicate B12 deficiency. In addition, scientists have noticed that individuals suffering from B12 deficiency have much slower reflexes.
2. SWOLLEN TONGUE
There are individuals suffering from B12 deficiency who have witnessed inflammation of their tongues. In addition, a smooth tongue and reduced sense of taste are some other signs of B12 deficiency.
3. FAST BREATHING OR HEARTBEAT
Irregular heartbeat, shortness of difficulties related to breathing and rapid heartbeat have been linked to lack of vitamin B12 in the body. If you are worried about this, visit a doctor.
Do you feel exhausted all the time? Vitamin B12 plays a significant role in the process of regulation of aerobic energy levels. If you don’t have sufficient amount of this nutrient, your body won’t get enough oxygen and energy. In cases like this, it is not unusual to feel dizziness too.
5. NUMBNESS AND TINGLING SENSATION
If you feel that most of the sensations in your feet and hands are gone and you also notice tingling in this area, there is a great chance that you are dealing with lack of vitamin B12. Consult your physician and perform blood test to check whether this is true or not.
A case study published not while ago, has shown that a man who was suffering from extreme vitamin B12 deficiency, was not able to walk properly because of the weakness he felt. So, staggering, balance issues and muscle and joint weakness are some other signs of this deficiency.