When 19 year old Kishita who is 2nd year BMS student was faced with frequent memory lapses and depression, she blamed it on stress and study pressure. Over a period of time her forgetfulness, fatigue and irritability at such a young age became a huge concern in the family and was affecting her projects and class performance.
In a similar instance, 26 year old Siddharth was avoiding his weekend Tennis sessions with friends due to extreme tiredness, lethargy, reduced stamina and poor mental alertness. He had a minor shoulder injury which was not healing but x-ray did not reveal the exact cause.
A case-study of 31 year old single male labourer with two years continuous history of insomnia, suspiciousness, hallucinations, social withdrawal and hyperpigmentation was documented by Doctors at Department of Psychiatry, CMC Vellore. History of any known medical illness or substance abuse was absent.
The three cases reported above were diagnosed as suffering from one common condition: Vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency has recently emerged as a major micronutrient deficiency with gradual yet distinctive symptoms. A study revealed that 75% Asian Indians show signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. Another study showed that upto 62% of Indian population, 20-70 years of age, both urban and rural suffer from some form of vitamin B12 deficiency. Higher prevalence of deficiency has been reported in Rajasthani, Gujarati and Maharashtrian community compared to Muslim and others indicating that vegetarian population are more likely to have low serum vitamin B12 levels than non vegetarians.
Read our next blog to know “what are the signs and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency”
Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.