Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of those rare conditions that show no outwardly visible symptoms, although it affects a wide range and high amount of people. The major vitamin b12 deficiency cause is a lack of proper vitamin absorption, or a diet inconsistent with foods that provide vitamin B12 which is the problem of many vegetarians. It may be difficult to diagnose yourself or another as having a B12 deficiency, because it does not always cause conspicuous symptoms.
The most common vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms include tiredness, being irritable, finding it hard to concentrate, difficulty remembering things, and in extreme cases, psychosis or depression. Many believe that B12 helps normalize the body’s internal sleep timers, so if you find yourself sleeping often and waking up tired, a vitamin B12 deficiency may be the cause.
Also, one of the major vitamin B12 benefits is that it’s very important for the production of red blood cells . Red blood cells carry the oxygen in your body so if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency you might have a condition called anemia which is one of the reasons you might experience the previously mentioned B12 deficiency symptoms of being tired and feeling weak.
Although hard to characterize, there are other signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency such as: tingling on the tongue, white spots appearing for short periods of time on the skin, short-term sore spots on the inside of the mouth, sporadic nerve shocks, finding yourself short of breath very easily, face pains, short-term memory loss, migraine headaches. You might also experience constipation and diarrhea.
So, what ends up causing B12 deficiency symptoms?
There are a few things. The first and most common is an abnormal diet. Because vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal products like egg, meat or milk, a vegan diet can produce a deficiency unless one uses supplements. Another is an ‘intrinsic factor’ deficiency. In understandable terms, intrinsic factor is a glycoprotein that B12 binds to upon entry into the stomach, and is necessary for the body’s proper absorption of this vitamin. In some cases, a tapeworm infestation could be the cause. Tapeworms compete with your body for vitamin B12, usurping the vitamin for its own use and leaving its host organism with an improper amount. These tapeworms aren’t typical in North America but beware if you’ve taken any recent trips abroad and find yourself suffering from B12 deficiency symptoms. If you have diabetes, it’s possible that your medication may interfere with B12 absorption.
A vitamin B12 deficiency is more common than you might think. In a recent study, almost 40% of a test group in the US was found to have low vitamin b12 levels. B12 deficiency is even more common in the elderly, vegetarians, and especially vegans. Though, there is hope! It’s possible to raise B12 levels using supplements, and there are a variety of options available, including pills, sprays, and injections. There was even a lollipop manufactured as a B12 supplement! If you find yourself believing that you may be suffering from B12 deficiency, it’s important to examine your diet and adjust accordingly. Adding a few dairy products to your diet such as milk, yogurt, or eggs should be relatively simple and a quick fix to this deficiency!
Also, if for some reason changing your diet is not an effective solution for you, consider talking to a health professional and he might recommend you other treatment options such as vitamin B12 injections. It’s also possible that you actually have folic acid deficiency because these two conditions actually share similar symptoms. In fact, many people with vitamin b12 deficiency also have folic acid deficiency so a health professional could more clearly explain which condition you have and the best way to resolve it. Some people’s bodies might simply have a hard time absorbing vitamin B12 from nutrients so vitamin B12 shots might be a good solution if a diet with more B12 is not enough to stop the many vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.