Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and DNA production. And the body has the ability to store vitamin B12 for several years, so cases of vitamin B12 deficiency are very rare.
Food sources of vitamin B12
Food sources of vitamin B12 include poultry, fish, and dairy products. Vitamin B12 is also added to some foods and is available as an oral supplement.
Vitamin B12 injections or nasal sprays may be indicated to treat vitamin B12 deficiency. The recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, you can develop anemia, a mild deficiency may cause no symptoms, but if left untreated, anemia can lead to symptoms such as:
Weakness, fatigue, or dizziness
Heart palpitations and difficulty breathing
Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite or bloating
Nerve problems such as numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
Loss of vision
Psychiatric problems such as depression, memory loss, or behavior changes.
Lack of vitamin B12 makes skin pale
Vitamin B12 deficiency causes what diseases?
With age, it becomes more difficult to absorb vitamin B12. A vitamin B12 deficiency can also occur if you’ve had surgery to lose weight or other surgery to remove part of your stomach or drink a lot of alcohol.
You may also be more susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency if:
Atrophic gastritis, in which the lining of the stomach gradually thins
Pernicious anemia makes it difficult for the body to absorb vitamin B12
Diseases affecting the small intestine such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, harmful bacteria growth, or parasites