Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and what foods are rich in it

vitamin B12 deficiency
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and what foods are rich in it

Vitamin B12 does many things for our bodies. It works helping in the formation of DNA and red blood cells.

Because our bodies do not produce vitamin B12 automatically, we must eat animal foods or supplements on a regular basis to not be deficient in vitamin B12.

B12 is stored in the liver for five years, but you develop a vitamin B12 deficiency.


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How Much to Get?

There are a number of things that depend on this, including age, eating habits, medical condition, and medications being taken.

The recommended amounts should be in micrograms،It varies according to age:

  • Infants from 6 months: 0.4 mcg
  • Babies 7 to 12 months: 0.5 mcg
  • Children 1-3 years: 0.9 mcg
  • Children 4-8 years: 1.2 mcg
  • Children 9-13 years: 1.8 mcg
  • Teenagers aged 14-18: 2.4 mcg
  • Adults take 2.4 mcg (2.6 mcg per day if pregnant or breast-feeding, 2.8 mcg.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

With age, vitamin B12 absorption becomes more difficult. Or when you undergo a weight-loss operation or another operation to remove part of the stomach.

Thus, you are more likely to develop a vitamin B12 deficiency in the following cases:

  • When there is inflammation and atrophy of the stomach, where the lining of the stomach weakens.
  • You have anemia, which makes it difficult for your body to absorb vitamin B12
  • What affects the small intestine, such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease, bacterial or parasitic growth.
  • Alcoholism and excessive consumption of alcohol make it difficult for the body to absorb vitamin B12.
  • Disorders of the immune system, such as lupus.
  • Take medications that interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur if we eat vegetarian food and do not eat animal food such as meat, eggs and milk.

Food Sources of Vitamin B12

We can get vitamin B12 from natural animal foods, and from elements fortified with vitamin B12.

Animal sources containing dairy, eggs, fish, meat and chicken.


Pregnant or New Mom?

If you are a pregnant woman following a vegetarian diet and planning to breastfeed only your baby? You should consult your doctor before having children, so that you know how to get enough vitamin B12 for you.

Because vitamin B12 deficiency causes your child to have a delay in growth.


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Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you are deficient in vitamin B12, you will be anemic. If the deficiency is mild, it does not cause symptoms, and it must be treated.

because it leads to the appearance of symptoms such as:

  • Weakness, fatigue and dizziness
  • Rapid heart rate and shortness of breath
  • Constipation or diarrhea, loss of appetite, flatulence
  • Nerve problems such as numbness or tingling, muscle weakness and walking problems
  • Visual impairment
  • Depression and memory loss

Vitamin B12 deficiency treatment

  • If you suffer from anemia and there is a problem in absorbing vitamin B12, you must get doses of this vitamin B12 from the beginning. Either through the mouth or the nose.

  • If you are a vegetarian and do not eat animal products, you can change this diet to include cereals fortified with vitamin B12 or supplements.

  • Elderly people with vitamin B12 deficiency should take a daily vitamin B12 supplement.


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Prevention of vitamin B12 deficiency

We can prevent vitamin B12 deficiency by eating meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs.

If you are a vegetarian, or you have a medical condition, and there is a problem with the absorption of vitamin B12, you should take vitamin B12 through food supplements that contain it.


What are the diagnostic tests to detect vitamin B12 deficiency?

Your doctor will ask you for a physical exam or order one or more of these tests:

  • A complete blood test, to see the size and number of red blood cells.
  • Vitamin B12 level, to see if you have enough of it in your blood.
  • Antibody examination.
  • Schilling test. This radiological test is used to see if your body has enough vitamin B12.
  • Methylmalonic acid (MMA) assay. When you have low vitamin B12, MMA goes up. 


Finally, vitamin B12 levels must be increased and this is an important and must do.

And if you neglect this matter for a long time, this leads to damage to the heart, brain, nerves, bones and other organs in the body. With treatment, you will feel better.