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The Non-Veg Vitamin – Vitamin B12


The Non-Veg Vitamin – Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is not produced by either plants or human body. It can be only found in animal-based foods and products. Some of them include dairy products like milk and cheese, eggs, fish, meat, canned tuna, salmon and poultry. It is also available in foods fortified with Vitamin B12.

It is also known as Cobalamin for cobalt forms the core element of Vitamin B12. It is a water soluble and the largest and most structurally complex vitamin. Our liver can store 3-5 years’ worth of Vitamin B12.

Why is Vitamin B12 Vital for Human Body?

  • It is the required for the metabolism of every cell in the human body
  • It is required to make red blood cells, nerves and DNA
  • It is also involved in the metabolism of proteins, phospholipids and neurotransmitters1
  • It helps in preventing megaloblastic and pernicious anaemia

Identifying Deficiency Symptoms of Vitamin B12

Deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause a number of symptoms like: fatigue, weakness, numbness, tingling, decreased memory, irritability, confusion and depression1. In some cases, symptoms like glossitis, mouth ulcers, breathlessness, constipation, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, heart palpitations3, dizziness and disturbed vision2 are also visible.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Disorders and Diseases

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause

  • Hyperhomocysteinemia and methylmalonic academia which can prove fatal for the human body1
  • Pernicious Anaemia
  • Intestinal Damage
  • Nerve Damage
  • Severe deficiency can lead to depression, paranoia and delusions, memory loss, incontinence, loss of taste and smell and more4

Who are at Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

The following people run the risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • Vegetarians and people with strict vegan diets (people with no animal food in their diets)
  • Older adults who do not have enough HCL in their stomach for Vitamin B12 absorption
  • People who have had gastrointestinal surgery and digestive disorders like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease which reduce the vitamin absorption capacity of the body5

Required Level of Vitamin B12

Adults require 2.4 MCG and children require 1.2 MCG of Vitamin B12 in their body.

How Frequently Should I go for Vitamin B12 Test?

Since our body has the capability to maintain reserves of Vitamin B12 for 3-5 years, a yearly check-up is sufficient to identify any deficiency in the body. Additionally, Vitamin B12 check-up is recommended for Vegetarians only. Non-vegetarians will always have the intake of this vitamin through the animal food in their diet.

Excessive Vitamin B12 in the Body

Vitamin B12 has very low levels of toxicity and no upper limit for its intake has been established as yet. However, supplementing excessive Vitamin B12 in the diet can lead to some adverse effects like outbreak of acne and rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and pus-filled bumps on the face6.

How to Improve Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Introducing supplements or foods fortified with Vitamin B12 will help you get over the deficiency. It is safer to consume Vitamin B12  through mouth or nose; applied to the skin; administered as a shot; or injected into the veins7.

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