Understanding the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that keeps the body functioning properly – your body needs it to produce red blood cells and maintain a healthy functioning nervous system.
The role of red blood cells is to transfer oxygen throughout the body. Because oxygen is critical to life, a lack can cause a wide range of mental and physical health problems such as; fatigue, thinking difficulty, damaged nervous systems and more serious problems.
What Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when you have insufficient levels of the vitamin throughout your body. Two of the most common causes of deficiency occur when;
- Your diet lacks foods that are vitamin B12 rich
- You’re unable to absorb enough of it into your system (this is due to a pre-existing condition)
Let’s look into these two problems in more detail:
Your Diet Does Contain Enough Vitamin B12
Some people develop a deficiency through a diet choice that either sees them eating foods low in, or devoid of, B12.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods, including meats, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can add fortified foods like bread, cereals, or other grains to your diet or take supplements to meet this need.
Your Body Can’t Absorb Enough B12 Vitamin
- There are many conditions that reduce the vitamin’s absorption – the non-exhaustive list includes:
- Pernicious anaemia (one of the most common causes of B12 deficiency in the UK)
- Atrophic gastritis (inflammation and thinning of the stomach lining)
- Gastrectomy surgery or weight loss surgery (a procedure where part of your stomach is removed)
- Taking antacid medication for an extended period
- Aging (B12 absorption decreases with age)
What Are the Symptoms of B12 Deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common and can present itself in various ways, which sometimes makes it difficult to identify. Additionally, symptoms may take years to show up which is why we recommend speaking to your GP or a specialist vitamin clinic to help spot the signs early on and get the right treatment sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, if discovered too late, B12 deficiency can cause irreversible damage to the nervous system. The longer the condition goes untreated, the higher the chance of permanent damage.
Below is a list of some of the most common symptoms patients come to IV Boost UK with, in order to run diagnoses and get help:
- Weakness, fatigue, or light-headedness
- Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
- Pale or yellow skin
- Sore or red tongue
- Mouth ulcers or mouth pain
- Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, and problems walking
- Vision loss or disturbed vision
- Mental problems like irritability, depression, memory loss
- Behavioural changes in the way they think and feel
How to Treat Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Our highly acclaimed medical specialist Dr. Joshua Berkowitz will help you to establish the levels of B12 vitamins in your body early by reviewing your medical history and performing blood tests before devising a treatment programme.
The treatment given will depend on what caused the condition in the first and so is tailored to each patient.
Most cases of deficiency can be treated with B12 injections or oral supplements.
Some of the main benefits of B12 vitamin shots are its speed, it gives more effective results without gastrointestinal side effects, it has no absorption issues or loss of potency.
The process allows the nutrients to go right into your bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system allowing you to heal better.
You may also be referred to a dietician for advice on ways to increase vitamin B12 intake in your diet.
IV Boost UK is a registered medical clinic. If you have any questions about B12 vitamin shots, please call us on 0203 095 0002
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