Are You at Risk for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

The human body requires very little   Vitamin b12 or cobalamin each day and most of us get enough of this vitamin in our daily meals. Those most suceptable to b12 deficiency often inclde those who have gone through long term illness or the elderly. Vegans may also have trouble getting enough vitamin b12 without supplementation. Because of the importance of this vitamin, it is essential that the effects of b12 deficiency be understood. 

Thesse days, there is little reason to be lacking in Vitamin b12 vitamin b12. Supplements are cheap and readily available. The infants of breast feeding moms may also be at risk of b12 deficiency so if you are vegan you must speak with your doctor. Vitamin b12 supplements are considered safe since there are few adverse effects associated with taking too much of this vitamin.

A vitamin b12 deficiency is often first diagnosed because of anemia which is one of the first symptoms of a Vitamin b12 deficiency. Other symptoms may include nausea, constipation and flatulence. Another indication of a b12 deficiency may be weight loss.

If the deficiency is allowed to progress, more serious symptoms may be revealed, including: tingling and numbness of the hands and feet, insomnia, memory loss, depression, moodiness, headaches, neurological damage, and much more. 

All animal products are excellent sources of vitamin b12. Other sources include fortifed breads and cereals. B12 is rarely found in vegetables, but may be found in seaweed and algae. Strict vegetarians and the elderly are most at risk for vitamin b12 deficiency, as well as those who have been ill for extended periods. Those in the at risk groups should get their vitamin b12 from supplements or from enriched sources such as breads and cereals.

To be effective, vitamin b12 requires sufficient levels of other vitamins, especially the b-complex, being present in the body so it is important that you eat a balanced diet to avoid the symptoms of a vitamin b12 deficiency.

In Summary:

A good diet that includes animal products will supply you with sufficient vitamin b12 without the need for additional supplementation. Supplementation can provide added insurance for a less than perfect diet. Vitamin b12 deficiency is rather uncommon. Still, it is importnt that we be aware of the symptoms that may affect those in the high risk groups


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