We have all heard about vitamins like A,C, E, K, and many others that are essential for humans for various reasons. But most of us don’t know that vitamin B12 is equally important.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is on the rise among Indians. Here are some facts that you need to know:
Vitamin B 12 or cobalamin is a water soluble vitamin which is required for the maturation of cells, neurological functions and DNA synthesis. A value below approximately 200 pg/mL is an indicator of B12 deficiency.
The causes of deficiency are:
- Malabsorption from food
- Pernicious anemia
- Dietary deficiency
- Malabsoprtion due to surgery
- Old age
- Gastrointestinal disorders or surgery
The symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Weakness, tiredness and light headedness
- Pale skin
- Sore tongue
- Rapid breathing and heartbeat
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Stomach upset and weight loss
- Diarrhea or constipation
In severe cases, the symptoms include:
- Tingling of feet and toes
- Memory loss, disorientation and dementia
- Mood changes and depression
- Difficulty walking
Course of treatment for deficiency depends on the cause. If the deficiency is caused due to malabsoprtion, B12 replacement in the form of injections and vitamin tablets will be necessary. If it is caused due to lack of the nutrient in the diet, a diet rich in the vitamin is recommended.
Foods rich in Vitamin B12:
A person requires The recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg. The food sources which are rich in this vitamin are:
- Liver, beef, clams.
- Fish like salmon, trout, tuna.
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese
- Fortified breakfast cereals
Include milk products, eggs, fish and fortified cereals in your diet to avoid deficiency. In case of severe deficiency, meet a doctor to get the right treatment.