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Vitamin B12 deficiency: causes, consequences and solutions

Understand why a vitamin B12 deficiency occurs, what it can cause and what solutions exist to increase this vitamin

In recent months, vitamin B12 has been promoted as an immediate solution for those suffering from tiredness and discouragement in daily life. The promises that the vitamin supplement can provide energy, strength and vitality have won over many people.

“There is no proven benefit to taking vitamin B12 to combat fatigue unless you have a deficiency that causes anemia,” said Trisha Pasricha, MD, in article published in The Washington Post newspaper.

To understand more about vitamin B12, the Earth you spoke with nutritionist Sol Moraes, who explained the importance of the vitamin and the correct way to consume it.

“B12 is a water-soluble vitamin (which is diluted in water), synthesized exclusively by microorganisms (bacteria) and, in addition to supplements, is found in red meat, eggs, liver and fish. There is no plant food that contains B12 with good absorption,” says the expert.

Causes of vitamin B12 deficiency

The nutritionist explains that vitamin B12 is normally absorbed in the last part of the small intestine, but to be absorbed it must be combined with hydrochloric acid produced in the stomach.

“However, half of the population suffers from hydrochloric acid deficiency, hypochlorhydria, caused by stress, anxiety, excessive use of antacids, pituitary disorders, aging and gastric surgery,” Sol says.

Other causes may be: poor food intake (strictly vegetarian or vegan diet); intestinal problems (dysbiosis) or chronic use of diabetes medications and antacids.

What are the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency?

Classic deficiency symptoms include:

  • Recent memory loss;
  • Fatigue;
  • Tiredness;
  • Tingling in the extremities (hands and feet);
  • Difficulty concentrating;
  • Mental confusion;
  • Depressive states.

How to increase vitamin B12?

To increase the presence of vitamin B12 it is important to consume foods rich in this substance. If food consumption is not sufficient, supplementation is the best option.

For people with symptomatic anemia, neurological or neuropsychiatric symptoms, as well as pregnant women and children, the injectable option may be the best choice. The tablet version is best suited to patients with mild to moderate disabilities.

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Sources of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is mainly present in foods of animal origin such as: eggs, milk and dairy products, meat, fish and chicken.

What can cause vitamin B12 deficiency?

Untreated vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to neurological problems, difficulty walking, worsening of osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, worsening of the periodontal condition of the teeth, memory loss, including the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s. In pregnant women it can also lead to defective closure of the baby’s neural tube.

The professional points out that B12 is essential in the synthesis of red blood cells (blood cells), helps our endocrine system by reducing cardiovascular risk, prevents anemia and is important for the functioning of the nervous system.

Importance of seeing a doctor for diagnosis and treatment

“Contacting your doctor or nutritionist is essential to have nutritional monitoring, which focuses on monitoring your exams to evaluate, prevent and treat any deficiencies,” concludes the nutritionist.

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Source: Terra

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