It is very important to get enough vitamin B12 on a daily basis, and I am sure you haven’t even thought about this very important nutrient. This can be a grave mistake because B12 is one of the most important vitamins that our body needs. We forget about B12 because humans have the tendency to go for one vitamin at a time. When we insist consuming vitamin C we consume only this vitamin and we forget about the rest, like beta carotene, lycopene, vitamin K, vitamin D, vitamin E etc.
Thinking About Vitamin B12
Here is an interesting pun about vitamin B12: most probably you are not thinking about vitamin B12 because you are unable since a vitamin B12 deficiency limits your ability to think clearly!
Why is vitamin B12 essential?
Vitamin B12 is very important for our metabolic function and health. Like most vitamins, this one plays an integral role too, but the sad thing is that it is very scarce in foods. Vitamin B12 helps:
• in the production of red blood cells
• in the function of the nerve cells and production of myelin that speeds up neural transmissions
• in DNA replication
So if you develop a B12 deficiency you can become anemic (which you can treat with folate too), your brain may not work properly and you will age faster because our body cannot generate new healthy cells.
How B12 Deficiency Manifests
Irritability, anemia, swelling and irritation of the mouth and tongue, dizziness, fatigue, tingling, and numbness are just some of the main symptoms. The most serious symptom is if you have impaired brain function because your nerve cells can’t work properly, which can lead to dementia that resembles Alzheimer’s disease. However, this kind of dementia can be reversed if you supply your body with B12.
Vitamin B12 is mostly found in animal foods, but you can find it in fortified cereals as well and some nuts etc. This is why vegans need to think about finding a source of vitamin B12. In order for B12 to be carried efficiently into your bloodstream, you need a protein called intrinsic factor. This protein is produced by the stomach, so if you have gastritis or other stomach ailment it may be harder for your system to absorb B12. Therefore, make sure to avoid medications that affect the stomach. However, if you have pernicious anemia, it is best that you treat it with B12 injections and not through oral consumption. This is because of the intrinsic factor which will prevent absorption.
Sometimes even genetic mutations can limit the absorption of this vitamin. In such cases you have to get it in active form, which is called methylcobalamin. But, B12 deficiency occurs mostly in patients aged over 50 in general.