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Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that plays an important role in red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis, and nerve cell function. Despite its importance, many people suffer from its deficiency, which can lead to a variety of medical problems such as:
1. Fatigue. B12 is required for the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen in the body. When vitamin B12 is deficient, fatigue and weakness can be felt.
2. Paresthesia in the hands and feet.B12 plays an important role in nerve cell function, and its deficiency can cause tingling in the hands and feet.
3. Difficulties in thinking and concentrating. B12 is important for brain function and its deficiency can lead to thinking disorders, memory disorders, and even depression.
4. Pale and yellowish skin.B12 deficiency can cause anemia called megaloblastic anemia, which can cause the skin to appear pale or yellowish.
5. Pain in the tongue or mouth ulcers.Deficiency A deficiency of B12 can cause inflammation and pain in the tongue, as well as mouth ulcers.
6. Digestive problems.Lack of B12 can lead to digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea, or loss of appetite.
Risk factors for B12 deficiency
- Vegetarian or vegan diet. B12 is found in foods of animal origin, so vegetarians or vegans are at risk of developing a B12 deficiency
- Old age. With increasing age, our bodies are less efficient at absorbing nutrients including B12
- Gastrointestinal problems. Diseases like celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or inflammation of the gastric lining called atrophic gastritis can lead to disruption of B12 absorption
- Certain medications. Some medications, such as heartburn medications such as hydrogen channel blockers (such as Controloc) or metformin used to treat diabetes, can lead to B12 deficiency
- Excessive consumption of alcohol. Alcohol impairs the body's ability to absorb B12
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How Can You Avoid B12 Deficiency?
1. Eat foods rich in B12. If you are not vegetarian or vegan, eat foods of animal origin such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you are at increased risk of developing a B12 deficiency. According to one study, two-thirds of vegans, and one-third of vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy, are B12 deficient. If you are vegetarian or vegan, consider taking a B12 supplement.
2. Consider supporting your digestive system. If you have intestinal problems that impair B12 absorption, the cause should be investigated and treated. You may need digestive support with probiotics, digestive enzymes, or even hydrochloric acid supplements to enhance B12 absorption.
3. Be aware of medications that can lead to B12 deficiency. If you use hydrogen channel blockers or metformin, talk to your doctor about performing lab tests for B12 deficiency and supplementation if necessary.
4. Limit alcohol consumption. Heavy alcohol consumption can impair B12 absorption.
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