This Vitamin Deficiency is Rare Unless You’re a Vegan

Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

Our bodies’ requirement for this one vitamin is low but, at the same time, it’s essential! Even a mild deficiency can result in extreme fatigue, anemia, and weakness. More serious deficiencies can cause numbness, tingling in the extremities, nervousness, balance problems, and a feeling of being short of breath. Severe deficiencies can even lead to paranoia, brain damage, confusion, delusions, and nerve damage.

Infants will show this deficiency even more quickly than adults will. Symptoms usually begin as a lack of appetite and energy along with a failure to gain weight and thrive. This needs to be addressed quickly because if it is not diagnosed and corrected, it can lead to coma and death.

What is this very important vitamin? B12. That’s right B12. When choosing a B vitamin supplement, take B12 along with other B vitamins. Most B vitamins are sold as “B complex” because using any B vitamin for any length of time will cause an imbalance in the other B vitamins and high doses of B9 can hide a B12 deficiency.

B 12 has been used for quite some time when people complain of general malaise and unexplained fatigue. Some studies show that B12 can improve sperm count while other studies show that B12 and B9 can prevent breast cancer. B complex can help to lower homocysteine levels and age related macular degeneration, which is a condition that causes eventual blindness in the older persons.

Vegans and vegetarians are most at risk of developing a severe B12 deficiency. This is because B12 is most commonly found in salmon, tuna, cod, lamb, milk, yogurt, beef, shrimp, and scallops. Although some vegans will tell you that this is not true, that if you eat a healthy vegan diet, the bacteria in our stomachs will produce B12. The truth here is that your stomach does make B12, but it cannot be absorbed by the body. B12 can only be absorbed in our ileum, which is the very last section of the small intestine. Our bodies produce B12 in the stomach and large intestine, so that portion cannot be absorbed.

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