Most people do not get enough vitamin B12, and they will have no idea until they start having serious symptoms. Vitamin B12 is extremely important for your body. For example, it assists your DNA and red blood cells. However, your body does not produce B12 and requires you to consume it, either from animal products or supplements.
How much you need depends on a number of factors, including your age. If you reach dangerous levels, you can experience sometimes debilitating symptoms. Nonetheless, absorption of B12 is complicated for your body. Things like certain medications, health problems, diet choices, and other issues can impede the process. What are some of these causes?
- Vegan and vegetarian diets
- Immune system disorders
- Pernicious anemia
- Surgery removing part of your stomach or small intestine (this can include weight loss surgery)
- Gastrointestinal infections or illnesses
- Certain medications
- Old age
- Heavy drinking
The best way to avoid B12 deficiency is with regular B12 supplements or injections, especially for those with a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. A mild deficiency will typically have no symptoms. However, untreated, a vitamin B12 can lead to serious problems including muscle weakness, lethargy, heart palpitations, diarrhea, boating, vision loss, and mental problems. Moreover, babies born to vegan mothers are at a severe risk of anemia, having developmental delays, and a failure to thrive. If you believe you have any symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, consult a physician.