Diet, Vitamins and Minerals

Do you get enough vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important water-soluble vitamin belong to the group of vitamin B. It plays an essential role in the production of your red blood cells and DNA, as well as the proper functioning of your nervous system.

Vitamin B12 introduction

Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products so vegetarians and vegans can find it difficult to source. Since your body doesn’t make vitamin B12, you have to get it from animal-based foods or from supplements. And you should do that on a regular basis because your body doesn’t store vitamin B12 for a long time.

It is present in many foods, especially meats, fish, poultry, milk, liver, eggs for example, there’s around 50 microgrammes of vitamin B12 in one large egg, green vegetables, and is also synthesized by the intestinal flora. However, it can also be found in products fortified with B12, such as some varieties of bread and plant-based milk.

Unfortunately, B12 deficiency is common, especially in the elderly. You’re at risk of deficiency if you don’t get enough from your diet or aren’t able to absorb enough from the food you eat.

People at risk of a B12 deficiency include:

  • The elderly
  • Those who’ve had surgery that removes the part of the bowel that absorbs B12
  • People on the drug metformin for diabetes
  • People following a strict vegan diet
  • Those taking long-term antacid drugs for heartburn

The poor intake of Vitamin B2 may cause the following symptoms:

  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Change in mood
  • Soreness of throat
  • Skin cracking
  • Dermatitis
  • Anemia

If untreated, the damage to your nervous system caused by a B12 deficiency could cause changes to the way you walk and move.

If you become anemic due to a B12 deficiency, you may feel short of breath and a bit dizzy, especially when you exert yourself.

If you have a deficiency, taking a supplement may help improve your mood. However, it’s not a substitute for other proven medical therapies in the treatment of depression or dementia.

Most people get enough of this nutrient. If you’re not sure, you can ask your doctor if you should get a blood test to check your vitamin B12 level.

You may find more information about vitamin B in this article “Vitamin B: introduction, types, benefits, foods, deficiency and overdose“.

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