Because the amounts of b12 needed by the human body are measured in micrograms, few people actually have trouble getting sufficient quantities of this vitamin in their daily diet. Although vitamin b12 deficiency is not common, it does happen, especially among the elderly and vegans as well as those who may have suffered a long term illness. Although rare, it is vital that we understand the common symptoms of b12 deficiency since so many vital functions depend on this vitamin.
Thesse days, there is little reason to be lacking in vitamin b12. Supplements are cheap and readily available. Vitamin b12 is vitally important to young infants. Breast feeding moms who are also strict vegans put their child at risk for b12 deficiency and should work closely with their doctor to assure that their child does not become deficient during this crucial period. Because there are few adverse effects associated with taking too much vitamin b12, such supplements are considered safe.
Anemia is one of the first symptoms that lead to the diagnosis of a b12 deficiency. Other symptoms may include constipation and nausea. Another indication of a b12 deficiency may be weight loss.
Certain serious consequences may result if the deficiency should be allowed to continue. Among the more serious symptoms are: tingling and numbness of the hands and feet, insomnia, memory loss, depression, moodiness, headaches, neurological damage, and much more.
All animal products are excellent sources of vitamin b12. Other sources include fortifed breads and cereals. There are no reliable sources of vitamin b12 from vegetable sources. Those at greatest risk for b12 deficiency include the elderly and strict vegetarians. If you are in one of these risk groups it is important that you get your b12 from fortified foods or supplements.
Vitamin b12 doesn’t work alone, but requires other vitamins to be effective. A balanced diet with supplementation is your best bet.
A good diet that includes animal products will supply you with sufficient vitamin b12 and don’t require supplementation. Supplements are inexpensive and can provide extra insurance for those times when you diet is less than perfect. Although a vitamin b12 deficiency is rare, it is important to know the symptoms of deficiency, especially among the elderly and those suffering long term illness.