Vitamins and minerals are as essential as food for the human body, and their importance can’t be ignored for many stated reasons. They are a diverse group of substances that play enormous roles in the body. Compared to carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, the body needs minimal nutrients to stay in the best working order, yet eating too little, or too much can be physically devastating. Today, most Americans suffer from severe vitamin or mineral deficiencies, leading to disorders like rickets and pellagra. Instead, we are more likely to consume too much of some minerals and be conservative on other minerals and vitamins [1].

Vitamin B12: An Important Vitamin not to Ignore:

Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient for the human body. It plays a significant role in developing the brain and nerve cells and is necessary to form red blood cells and DNA. Because your body does not naturally make this vitamin, it must be procured from certain food groups. Many people may suffer from low vitamin B12 if they do not consume enough of this essential nutrient. The worst part about low levels of this vitamin is that many people don’t realize its benefits until they already suffer from health problems caused by too little of this vital nutrient.

People who are low on vitamin B12 can have serious problems [2,3]. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a situation when the body is either not getting enough or cannot absorb enough vitamin B12 from the existing diet. This may lead to physical, neurological and psychological problems if not treated on time. In addition, anaemia is a common problem when one’s body does not have enough healthy red blood cells because of vitamin B12 deficiency. Those 60 years old or older are more likely to have vitamin B12 deficiency than other age groups.

Signs that ‘may not reverse’, even post supplementation

Many studies have found that specific effects of vitamin B12 deficiency may not reverse [4]. The researchers noted that Neurologic and psychiatric abnormalities associated with vitamin B12 deficiency might not change, despite proper supplementation [5]. Some signs include depression, irritability, diminished cognitive function, memory problems, psychosis, etc. B12 deficiency manifests as macrocytic anaemia; thus, the presenting symptoms often have signs of anaemia, such as fatigue and pallor. Due to the increased hemolysis caused by impaired red blood cell formation, jaundice may also be a presenting symptom. Therefore, a thorough dermatologic exam may also be helpful [6].

There are some common signs associated with low levels of vitamin B12. According to National Health Services (NHS), vitamin B12 deficiency can develop gradually but may worsen if not treated promptly. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Pale skin
  • Heart palpitations
  • Challenging concentration

Besides identifying these signs, it is essential to undergo an annual blood test to confirm the status. It is a simple blood test that establishes your vitals, and you do not need to starve or fast before the test!

With vitamin B12 in your bloodstream ranging between 190-950 picograms/millilitre, you stay assured of having normal vitals. Any figures ranging between 200 to 300 pg/mL are considered a borderline mark, and the physician may prescribe some more tests. Any below 200 pg/mL is deficient, and more testing & treatment are needed to maintain a healthy body.

Vitamin B12 deficiency & Cognitive Disorders: The Link

Vitamin B12 deficiency is related to impaired cognition and memory along with a sensation of tingling and numbness, an outcome of poor myelination. Elevated methylmalonic acid & serum homocysteine levels are markers of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Several studies [7] have established that low vitamin B12 can cause cognitive problems, leading to dementia & diseases like Alzheimer’s. The progressive and incurable cognitive disorders begin with mild memory loss and affect a person’s brain functions and thinking abilities. There is a clear association between low vitamin B12 levels and progressive cognitive impairment. Further studies can confirm and refine the observed associations over a larger scale. Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency in the elderly population [8] to find and prevent the possible causes of deficiency state can easily prevent the cause of impending cognitive disorders before they become irreversible [9].

Some B12-rich foods to Include in your Diet

Foods like pork, beef, poultry, ham, lamb, fish (tuna and haddock), seafood like shellfish and crab, and dairy products like milk, yoghurt, cheese, and eggs are the best vitamin B12. Let supplementation only be a last resort if advised by the physician. Food has the power to heal you in the best possible way, and it does so in a different way than pills we pop! Supplementation is an alternative in extreme conditions to improve overall health and manage some health conditions. While most people do not need vitamin supplements are generally required more in women than men. In adults, the prevalence only increases with age. While having a sufficient amount of vitamin B12 in the body is essential, it is crucial to watch the vitamin B12 intake. Supplementing without diagnosis and supervision with excessively high levels of B12 can lead to acne and rosacea outbreaks [10]. You may suffer from skin conditions leading to painful inflammatory bumps on the face.

Ending Note:

There is a role that every vitamin, mineral and protein has to play in our body. Reading and being aware of what food and supplementation do to our bodies is important. The #1 Children’s Vitamin Brand in the US contains ingredients that most parents would never intentionally expose their children to, so we need to be vigilant and look for better alternatives to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy. There are seeds and oils that are a natural source of vitamins, fats & proteins. For example, black seeds are one age-old remedy that can cure everything except death!

So, we recommend keeping a check on your vitals, having a healthy lifestyle, and relying on natural sources to satiate your body’s every need.

References and Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235010/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257642/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441923
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8471716/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8471716/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441923
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7077099
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25756278/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15681626/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31018715/
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