Vitamin B12: Deficiency Symptoms, Sources, Benefits, Causes, Tests
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Vitamin B12: Deficiency Symptoms, Benefits, Sources, Causes, Tests & Cost.

Understanding Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an ‘Essential Vitamin’, which means that the human body will not be able to function properly in its absence. Vitamin B12 allows our DNA, red blood cells and nerves to carry out their normal, day to day activities. An adult should consume about 2.4 micrograms of Vitamin B12 in a day. However, the human body is incapable of producing Vitamin B12 on its own. We must therefore take adequate steps to ensure that our body has sufficient quantities of Vitamin B12 at all times. We must also take care to prevent Vitamin B12 deficiency (this refers to a condition where the levels of Vitamin B12 in our blood is low) by obtaining Vitamin B12 from animal products, that is, food that have animal origins such as fish, meat and dairy products. Vitamin B12 is also available as an oral nutritional supplement, can be added externally to food and also be had as an injection. Since research is still not conclusive of its various benefits (though some advantages are clearly recorded and acknowledged), it’s best to treat Vitamin B12 as an essential nutrient and manage its deficiency first and foremost, instead of looking at it as a cure for ailments or medicine against illnesses.

What are the Uses and Benefits of Vitamin B12?

Be it improving memory power, defending against heart ailments or raising our energy levels, Vitamin B12 can affect our body in profound ways. Here are some of the functions and benefits of Vitamin B12:

• Boosting Red Blood Cell Count and Preventing Anemia.

Low levels of Vitamin B12 can interfere with the proper development of Red Blood Cells. By becoming larger and oval shaped (in contrast to their normally small and round shape), Red Blood Cells may then find it difficult to move from bone marrow into the bloodstream quickly enough, resulting in a condition referred to as Megaloblastic Anemia. Without enough Red Blood Cells to carry oxygen to our vital organs, we suffer from fatigue and tiredness.

• Improving the Health of the Heart.

A sudden fall in the levels of Vitamin B12 in our body can spike up the levels of an amino acid called homocysteine, which – when present in high quantities – is known to increase the probability of heart disease.

• Taking Care of Our Bones and Keeping Osteoporosis at Bay.

Insufficient levels of Vitamin B12 in the blood can bring the levels of bone mineral density down. Bones with low bone density are brittle and prone to breakage, and can lead to osteoporosis.

• Boosting Memory and Prevent Loss of Neurons.

Vitamin B12 can affect our memory health. Research suggests that Vitamin B12 may be instrumental in putting the brakes on Brain Atrophy, a condition referring to the loss of brain neurons, loss of memory and dementia. In general, low count of Vitamin B12 can translate into poor cognitive ability and lowered memory efficiency.

• Skin, Nail & Hair Maintenance.

When our bodies lack the desired amounts of Vitamin B12, it can bring about a host of dermatologic symptoms such as changes in our hair, discolouration in the nails, hyper-pigmentation, cracked corners of the mouth and loss in the colour of our skin. Healthy levels of Vitamin B12 in our blood can therefore keep our skin, nails and hair in good condition.

• Preventing the Occurrence of Major Birth Defects.

Adequate levels of Vitamin B12 are vital for the healthy development of a fetus’ brain and nervous system. Women whose Vitamin B12 levels are lower than 250 mg/dL can be nearly three times more likely to bear a child with a major birth defect (such as neural tube defects), and also run the risk of miscarriage and premature birth.

• Ensuring Robust Eye Health.

The right levels of Vitamin B12 in the blood can translate into freedom from the risk of macular degeneration – an age related eye disease where the faculty of central vision is affected. This happens because Vitamin B12 prevents the level of homocysteine – a kind of amino acid present in our bloodstream – from rising, which is an important factor in checking the development of macular degeneration.

• Providing a Shot of Energy.

While Vitamin B12 doesn’t generate energy on its own, it aids and expedites the process of energy creation in the body. Not surprisingly, Vitamin B12 supplements have been a preferred source of energy for the longest time.

• Helping Fight Depression.

Vitamin B12 is understood to play an important role in the synthesis and metabolism of serotonin, a chemical substance known to possess the power to influence mood. Insufficient amounts of Vitamin B12 in the blood can bring down serotonin production, causing a drop in positivity and leading to depression. Not only that – high levels of Vitamin B12 count can positively impact recovery from depression as well.

How much Vitamin B12 must one take?

The amount of Vitamin B12 that is necessary for one’s wellbeing depends on various variables and parameters such as one’s age, medical condition, lifestyle, dietary habits and medical history. In general, the recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin B12 are:

  • 0.4 mcg | 0 to 6 months.
  • 0.5 mcg | 7 to 12 months.
  • 0.9 mcg | 1 to 3 years.
  • 1.2 mcg | 4 to 8 years.
  • 1.8 mcg | 9 to 13 years.
  • 2.4 mcg (2.6 mcg per day if pregnant and 2.8 mcg per day if breastfeeding) | 14 to 18 years.
  • 2.4 mcg (2.6 mcg per day if pregnant and 2.8 mcg per day if breastfeeding) | Adults

What are the Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Mild levels of Vitamin B12 deficiency may not accompany symptoms, and therefore can be hard to detect. If left unchecked, however, the symptoms can become prominent. Some signs and symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency are:

  • Fatigue and weakness.
  • Loss of memory.
  • Weakness in the muscles.
  • Nerve conditions such as tingling and numbness.
  • Tongue that is swollen and/or red.
  • Bleeding gums.
  • Dizziness and light-headedness.
  • Frequent mood swings.
  • Loss of vision.
  • Palpitations in the heart and shortness of breath.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Sudden and inexplicable loss of weight.
  • Pale or yellow skin.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Depression.
  • Dementia.

What are the Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency? | Who is at a Risk of Developing Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

There are certain conditions and situations that may increase one’s risk or susceptibility to developing Vitamin B12 deficiency, such as:

  • If one follows a predominantly Vegan diet that deprives one from consuming animal and dairy products.
  • If one has tapeworm infection.
  • If one suffers from anomalies or ailments pertaining to the Immune System such as Lupus or Graves’ disease.
  • If part of one’s intestines has been removed by surgery.
  • If one has Pernicious Anemia – a condition that makes it difficult for the body to absorb vitamin B12.
  • If one is on medication and taking drugs for seizure and antibiotics, or has been taking medicine for heartburn or antacids for a long period of time.
  • If the lining of one’s stomach has thinned down, a condition referred to as Atrophic gastritis.
  • When one suffers from ailments of the small intestine such as Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or ‘bad bacterial’ growth.
  • In case of disorders of the immune system such as Graves’ disease or lupus.
  • If one is on some kind of medication that interferes with the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12.
  • Regular intake of alcohol has been linked to Vitamin B12 deficiency as well.

How Can We Overcome Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

There are a few ways to effectively overcome a deficiency of Vitamin B12 such as dietary supplements, pills, nasal sprays and injection shots, as may be suggested by one’s doctor. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also be balanced by including the following items in the diet:

  • Milk (low-fat).
  • Non-dairy milk sources like Soy Milk that is fortified with Vitamin B12.
  • Yogurt (low-fat).
  • Cheese (low-fat).
  • Fish – Salmon, Tuna, Sardine, Trout.
  • Shellfish – clams.
  • Eggs.
  • Breakfast cereals fortified with Vitamin B12.
  • Chicken.
  • Liver.

Vitamin B12 Test and Cost?

House of Diagnostics offers affordable and quick Vitamin B12 Test to ensure your preparedness against ailments and general well-being of your health. You can book a test for yourself – or someone else who needs help – in just a few clicks here.

Vitamin B12 Level

This test is generally useful for monitoring vitamin b12 level in the blood, Please check the Vitamin B12 Level Test price in Delhi NCR and other details here.

Also Known As : Cyanocobalamin
Test Type : Blood Test
Preparation : No Special Preparation Required
Reporting : Within 24 Hours*
Test Price: Please click here to view the Vitamin B12 test cost in Delhi NCR, India.
Also Included In : Advance Care Health PackageSuper Care Health 

Diagnostics Tests And Path Lab facilities Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).


Vitamin B12: Deficiency Symptoms, Benefits, Sources,Causes,Test & Cost
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Vitamin B12: Deficiency Symptoms, Benefits, Sources,Causes,Test & Cost
Here we are discussing vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, benefits, causes, foods, test and sources. Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to a reduction in healthy red blood cells (anemia). The nervous system may also be affected.
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