Vitamin B12: Are you getting enough?

By February 10, 2016Blog
Vitamin B12 Deficiency infographic

Infographic on Vitamin B12You’re always told to take your vitamins; as a child, “they’ll help you grow big and strong!” as an adult, “these will keep you healthy!” And while some of us take them religiously every morning, many people don’t see the value. However, vitamin deficiency can cause very serious problems. Take vitamin B12 for instance. Did you know that it is a key component for metabolism in every single cell of your body? It is also critical for normal brain and nervous system functioning!

So what happens when you have a vitamin B12 deficiency?

Since B12 is used by every cell of our bodies, when we have low levels, there are very widespread effects, including:

    • Fatigue
    • Decreased taste
    • Swelling of the tongue
    • Strange sensations
    • Poor memory
    • Lowered fertility
    • Personality changes, such as:
        • Depression
        • Psychosis
      • Irritability
    • Reflex changes
    • Abnormal or reduced heart function
    • Difficulty thinking properly
    • Reduced muscle function
  • Low red blood cell count

If a child has a B12 deficiency, it can have drastic negative effects on their mobility, development, and growth. In all cases, if the deficiency is not rectified, some changes can become permanent, so it’s important to have it treated immediately.

Why do I have a vitamin deficiency?

There are a number of reasons you can have a vitamin deficiency. The most common cause is a decreased intake, typically from malnutrition. You get B12 from poultry, eggs, meat and dairy. Which means that vegetarians and vegans are more likely to have a B12 problem. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, it’s important to take a daily supplement. You can find it anywhere you buy vitamins. You may also have a deficiency due to poor absorption, which can have a number of causes.

How do I know if I have a B12 deficiency?

A simple blood test will determine whether or not you have a B12 deficiency. Although the cause of the deficiency won’t be determined without further testing, it is easily corrected. B12 supplements, either via mouth or injection, will be given. As long as a person is in good health, excess B12 is harmless. Until the cause of the deficiency is corrected, the B12 supplements should continue.

If you’re currently suffering from the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency, it’s important to have it checked before the effects become irreversible. Luckily, we have a full lab available and can test for it. If you want to know more, give us a call or just come on in!