Are you at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency?

Are you a pure vegetarian and do not consume milk products? or

Are you a recently turned vegan? or

Are you above 50 years of age? or

Did you had a weight loss surgery?

 

Chances are that you might be having vitamin B12 deficiency and not have any symptoms.

Plants don’t make vitamin B12. The only foods that deliver it are meat, eggs, poultry, dairy products, and other foods from animals. Strict vegetarians and vegans are at high risk for developing a B12 deficiency if they don’t eat foods that have been fortified with the vitamin or take a vitamin supplement. People who have weight-loss surgery are also more likely to be low in vitamin B12 because the surgery interferes with the body’s ability to extract vitamin B12 from food. Elderly have less than normal absorption of B12 from the gut.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be slow to develop, causing symptoms to appear gradually and intensify over time. It can be overlooked or confused with something else. Common symptoms are tingling, numbness or strange sensations in arms, legs or feet, difficulty in walking(staggering, balance issues), swollen tongue, weakness and memory loss.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be easily detected by a simple blood test.

In many people,  vitamin B12 deficiency can be prevented. If you are a strict vegetarian or vegan, it’s important to eat breads, cereals, or other grains that have been fortified with vitamin B12.

If you are over 50 years of age, a standard multivitamin is usually recommended since you may not be able to absorb enough of the vitamin through foods.

Early detection and treatment is important. Your doctor may also prescribe tablets or injections if required. If left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause severe neurological problems and blood issues.
-Dr Prerna Gaur

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