Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins that are often overlooked. It has a crucial role in the metabolism, and a long-term vitamin B12 insufficiency can cause long-term diseases and neurological conditions.
That’s why it is of an extreme importance to know the warning signs that indicate vitamin B12 deficiency.
Seven Warning Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Frequent vertigo and lightheadedness (dizziness) is one of the first warning signs. If you start experiencing chronic vertigo, see your doctor immediately in order to receive the proper treatment for the vitamin deficiency.
We’ve all found ourselves in a situation where we forget simple things like where we put our keys or whether the oven is off while we’re outside. But, chronic forgetfulness could indicate lack of vitamin B12. Many older people think they have Alzheimer’s or dementia when they actually have vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Muscle Weakness
If carrying your groceries bags feels like carrying bags full of stones, then you are probably deprived of the proper amount of oxygen from erythrocytes. B12 deficiency and improper oxygenation to muscle cells can be the reasons of uncharacteristic muscle weakness and sluggishness.
- Pale Skin
If you used to have rosy cheeks, but now you look pale with a yellow cast, it may indicate vitamin B12 deficiency. When you lack erythrocytes, the body produces more bilirubin which replaces that rosy complexion with a pale look.
- Pins and Needles
Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause paraesthesia or better known as pins and needles. It’s when you feel tingling, prickling, or numbing sensation throughout the body, especially in the hands and feet, as well as feeling electric shock waves because of the nerve damage caused by lack of vitamin B12.
- Unexplained Fatigue
Even though you get the proper amount of sleep, you still feel fatigued. This could be another sign of vitamin B12 deficiency. This happens because there is a reduced production of erythrocytes in your body which results in insufficient amounts of oxygen been transported to your organs.
- Eye Problems
Your vision can be damaged if you have a long-term vitamin B12 deficiency. Even though it is rare for this condition to cause an optic neuropathy by damaging the optic nerve resulting in reduced central vision, blurred or doubled vision, light sensitivity, shadows or tracers, supplements can help restore your vision.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
- Prevents Heart Disease and Stroke
The leading cause of death in the U.S is heart diseases. According to a recent research, increased levels of homocysteine are a higher risk factor for heart disease than cholesterol. In cases of vitamin B12 deficiency, the non-protein α-amino acid can create inflammation. To put it in other words, this vitamin decreases the levels of homocysteine, thus lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Prevents Nerve Damage
Myelin sheath is a natural nerve covering that protects the nerves from toxins and free radical damage. Without it, the nerves are easily damaged, which leads to dead nerves that interrupt the transmission of signals to and from the brain.
- Supports Energy
This vitamin provides you with the needed energy to keep your cells happy, healthy, and well-fed. Starved cells make you tired and weak. Our metabolism requires vitamin B12 to convert carbs into usable glucose. That’s why vitamin B12 deficiency leads to fatigue.
- Helps Digestion
Vitamin B12 helps with the production of digestive enzymes. It also aids in fostering healthy gut bacteria while removing the harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. That’s why it prevents inflammatory bowel disease, candida, and other digestive disorders.
- Helps Produce Erythrocytes and Prevent Anemia
Because vitamin B12 can aid in the production of erythrocytes, it can prevent megaloblastic anemia which is manifested by weakness and chronic fatigue.
- Good for Bones
This vitamin is recommended in cases of osteoporosis and other bone conditions, because damaged bones have higher levels of homocysteine. As we mentioned before, vitamin B12 can reduce the levels of homocysteine, which makes it an ideal supplement for patients suffering from such conditions.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B12
- Beef and chicken liver — 81 milligrams in 3 ounces
- Salmon — 19.5 milligrams in 108 grams (1 filet)
- Herring —18.7 milligrams in 143 grams (1 filet)
- Mackerel — 15.3 milligrams in 3 ounces
- Sardines — 13.3 milligrams in 1 cup
- Tuna — 9.3 milligrams in 3 ounces
- Trout — 9.1 milligrams in 1 filet
- Organic yogurt — 1.3 mg in 1 container of plain Greek yogurt
- Turkey — 1.1 milligrams in 3 ounces
- Raw milk — 1 milligram in 1 cup
- Beef tenderloin — 0.9 milligrams in 3 ounces
- Lamb — 0.8 milligrams in 3 ounces
Other non-vegan sources of this vitamin include cereals, cheese, nutritional yeasts, plant-based milk (soymilk, almond milk, and coconut milk).