Vitamin B12 is also called cobalamin and is one of the eight B vitamins. It is water-soluble and can be stored in the body for up to four years. If your body has excess vitamin B12, it will eliminate it through the urine. This vitamin is required for the healthy functioning of nerve tissue, red blood cells and brain function. If you do not have enough B12, it is called a deficiency. Your body does not make enough vitamin B12, so in order to stay healthy, you need to get enough from food or other sources.
Most people get enough vitamin B12 through their diet, but if you have had weight loss surgery, drink heavily or have taken acid-reducing medication for long periods, you may be vitamin B12 deficient. Other reasons for a deficiency are having a thin stomach lining, pernicious anemia and conditions that affect the small intestines such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or a parasite. Immune system disorders such as lupus or Graves’ disease may also cause a deficiency.
A prolonged vitamin B12 deficiency can result in potentially irreversible damage to the nervous system and brain. It can also cause anemia and depression, memory problems and tiredness. The result may be constipation, weight loss and loss of appetite. The serious symptoms may be neurological changes such as tingling and numbness in the hands and feet as well as dizziness. After some time, mania, dementia and psychosis may develop. Infants who have a deficiency may display unusual facial movements, reflex problems and growth problems if the deficiency is left untreated.
Other signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are:
• Shortness of breath
• Pale skin
• Intestinal gas
• Dizziness when walking
• Vision loss
• A smooth tongue
Vitamin B12 deficiency is more of a danger for people who do not eat animal products, especially vegans. Vegetarians who eat dairy products such as yogurt may get enough through their diet. Foods high in vitamin B12 are meat, seafood, eggs, yogurt and poultry. There are some grains that are fortified with B12.
If you have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 or have pernicious anemia, you may benefit from B12 injections at MedSpa 22 in Fort Myers. If you have any of the symptoms of a deficiency, we recommend you visit our specialist and get treatment. Deficiency in this vitamin is easily treated and the symptoms may be reversed if they are caught early. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more!