Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency and How to Treat It

It’s no secret that vitamins are extremely important for the body. You need them in order for your body to properly function. While all vitamins are important, B12 is one of the most important.

What is vitamin B12? It’s an organic compound that is made from carbons and it is a necessity in order to maintain healthy metabolic function. Additionally, B12 plays a number of other important roles in the body, including:

  • The creation of red blood cells, and if you’re not getting enough B12, you could develop a condition that is similar to anemia.
  • Supports the function of the nerve cells as well as myelin, which insulates the nerve cells and increases neural transmission.
  • It replicates DNA. If you’re deficient in B12, your body is unable to replicate its DNA normally. What does that mean? Well, it means that you can’t create new, healthy cells, which means that you will start to see the signs of aging speed up.

What are the Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

How do you know if you’re suffering from a deficiency in vitamin B12? The following are some of the tell-tale signs that indicate you are deficient in this vitamin:

  • Increased lethargy
  • Feelings of light-headedness
  • Weakness
  • Skin that is pale in color
  • A sore tongue
  • Increased heartbeat and breathing
  • Increased bruising
  • Easy bleeding, including in the gums
  • An upset stomach
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

What Causes a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

There are certain conditions that can cause a person to become deficient in vitamin B12. Some of these conditions are not able to be prevented, while others are preventable. You could suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency if any of the following apply to you:

  • Thinning of the stomach lining, a condition known as atrophic gastritis.
  • Pernicious anemia. This condition makes it difficult for the body to absorb vitamin B12.
  • You underwent a surgery in which part of your small intestine or your stomach was removed.
  • Chron’s disease, celiac disease, a parasite, growth of bacteria or some other condition that affects the small intestine.
  • You consume a lot of alcohol.
  • You suffer from a disorder of the immune system; Graves’ disease, for example.
  • You have taken medications that aim to reduce the amount of acid in your system.
  • You don’t consume meat or any type of animal product, such as cheese, eggs, milk or yogurt.

How to Treat a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

There are treatments for vitamin B12, and the type of treatment that will work for you depends on the reason why you are deficient in B12. If, for example, the cause of your deficiency is pernicious anemia or your body can’t absorb B12, you can treat the deficiency by taking direct injections of B12. You can also take prescription strength B12 supplements.

If you are B12 deficient because of your diet, making changes to your diet or taking supplements can help to improve your B12 levels.

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