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7 Effects Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency In The Body

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

The building bases of our bodies are cells. These cells derive their nutrition from the food we eat. Nutrition for these cells comes in the form of glucose, protein and essential vitamins and minerals. While all vitamins are crucial, vitamin B12 holds a prominent position. This is because many of the body’s vital functions are dependent on its proper quantity. Vitamin B12 is also known as Cobalamin.

Vitamin B12 is water-soluble; therefore it cannot be stored for long in the body. This is why you need to replenish it in your body regularly. Also, if you are a small baby, pregnant woman or growing child, you will need it in more quantities than others.

Effects of Vitamin b12 deficiency

Vegans should take food items fortified with Vitamin B12. It is mostly present in animal products. So milk, butter, fish, meat, dairy products and poultry are rich sources of this vitamin. As we grow older, the body reduces its ability to absorb Vitamin B12. Even those who have recently had weight loss surgery, who drink heavily and regularly and those who have been on antacids, are more susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency.

The deficiency can be treated first with injectable supplements and later supplements that can be had orally or through the nasal passage may be handed out to the patient.

Also Read: What Deficiency Causes Cold Hands And Feet: A Scientific Investigation

Did you know?

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common in vegetarians and vegans, affecting up to 86% of these individuals. source: ncbi
  • Pernicious anemia, an autoimmune condition, is the leading cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in the United States. source: ncbi
  • Infants born to mothers with vitamin B12 deficiency may experience developmental delays and cognitive impairments. source: ncbi

Vitamin B12 Dose:

There are a lot of factors affecting the dosage of Vitamin B12 like age, eating patterns, pre-existing medical conditions and what medications you already consume. However, the recommended dosage as per age is followed:

  • Newborns of 0-6 months: 0.4 mcg
  • Infants of 7-12 months: 0.5 mcg
  • Toddlers of 1-3 years: 0.9 mcg
  • Toddlers of 4-8 years: 1.2 mcg
  • Adolescents of 9-13 years: 1.8 mcg
  • Teenagers of 14-18: 2.4 mcg
  • Adults: 2.4 mcg unless they are pregnant or breastfeeding

Vegetarians are more susceptible to B12 deficiency.Vitamin B12 deficiency is a serious disorder, which if not treated can lead to severe neurological symptoms. Early identification and treatment reduces morbidity.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Symptoms that you Lack Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency has been known to cause anaemia. Even though a mild lack of the vitamin doesn’t cause serious damage to the body, when left untreated it adds to the deficiency and may lead to severe health hazards. Here are some symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency you should keep in mind:

  • Dizziness, increasing weakness and constant fatigue
  • Difficulty in breathing and change in heart rate
  • Paleness of skin
  • A smooth texture on your tongue
  • Constipation and diarrhoea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nerve issues causing sensations of tingling in different parts of your body and numbness
  • Weakness in muscle
  • Impacts your vision
  • Causes mental illnesses like depression and other behavioural changes

If you eat meat, fish or dairy foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet. But as vitamin B12 is not found naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and grains, vegans may not get enough of it.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D.

Effects of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

When the deficiency of this vitamin is present in small amounts, the symptoms do not manifest themselves. However, if left untreated, the results are telling, indeed.

  • It is essential for nerve health. The brain cannot function properly without it. Depression, memory fatigue, confusion are some of the immediate effects. If still left untreated, it can turn into psychosis and dementia. People also experience nerve tingling and muscular weakness. Many people develop sensations of ‘pins and needles’ due to nerve damage.
  • It is needed to make the red blood cells. These cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues. Insufficient quantities of Vitamin B12 can lead to anaemia. Menstrual problems, irregular heartbeats, intense fatigue and breathlessness are just some effects of vitamin induced anaemia. Know more about 9 anaemia symptoms.
  • It is required for an efficient immune system. The deficiency of this vitamin could lead to distressing susceptibility towards diseases and infections.
  • Low levels of Vitamin B12 can also lead to vision loss and skin problems like acne.
  • Many people also begin to suffer from constipation, diarrhoea, appetite loss, bloating and flatulence.
  • People who have a deficiency of vitamin B12 develop pallor. The skin looks very pale and may even develop a yellow undertone appearing to be jaundiced.
  • Deficiency makes the person prone to imbalance and falling. There is a loss of coordination, and some even lose their mobility.

Also Read: Vitamin E Deficiency Symptoms & Causes

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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