مبادرة مسارات

Understanding Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
5 March، 2024
Content

 Have you ever suffered from general fatigue and tiredness with normal blood hemoglobin levels?

Have you experienced tingling and numbness in your hands or feet or both?

Accompanied by an inability to concentrate and forgetfulness?

One of the possible reasons could be a deficiency in B12.

 

What is Vitamin B12?

 Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, known as cobalamin. The human body cannot produce it internally but relies on absorbing it from animal-based foods (beef, liver, eggs, milk, nutritional yeast). Given its critical importance, the body stores an amount that can last about four years, even without consuming any food containing it.

 

The Role of Vitamin B12 in the Human Body

  • It contributes to the formation of myelin, which covers nerve cells, thus vital for nerve health and cognitive functions.
  • It aids in the formation of red blood cells.
  • Maintains eye, bone, skin, and hair health.
  • Contributes to metabolic processes and DNA production.

 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms and Causes

 Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with certain symptoms, the most important of which are:

 

  • Fatigue, weakness, and exhaustion.
  • Tingling and numbness in the limbs.
  • Pale skin without liver issues.
  • Difficulty concentrating, memory loss, and some behavioral changes.
  • Smooth spots on the tongue.

 

These symptoms can be explained by Vitamin B12’s role in the composition of nerve cell sheaths; therefore, its deficiency affects nerve cells and related functions. It also participates in forming red blood cells, and its deficiency leads to inadequate oxygen delivery to cells, causing fatigue, exhaustion, and skin pallor.

 

Dietary insufficiency is not the only cause of B12 deficiency since the body stores it. Poor absorption of this vitamin from the intestines is the most common cause of B12 deficiency. Thus, maintaining intestinal health is crucial for sustaining acceptable levels of this vitamin.

 

Frequent use of antacids is a clear cause of B12 deficiency since an acidic stomach environment is essential for separating B12 from food, facilitating its absorption in the intestines.

 

Diagnosing B12 Deficiency

  1. A standard blood test may show normal hemoglobin levels but an increase in red blood cell size, a distinctive symptom of Vitamin B12 deficiency.
  2. B12 levels in the blood.

Prevention and Treatment

  1. Maintain natural stomach acidity and only take antacids when absolutely necessary.
  2. Consume brewer’s yeast pills containing it.
  3. In cases of diagnosed B12 deficiency, it is preferred to administer it via intramuscular or intravenous injections.

 

In conclusion, discussing Vitamin B12 and its crucial role in maintaining body health highlights this vitamin’s importance in supporting nerve functions, red blood cell formation, and overall energy enhancement. Although its deficiency may initially be subtle, paying attention to early symptoms and early diagnosis can mitigate long-term health risks.

 

A varied diet, especially rich in Vitamin B12 sources, and awareness of conditions that may impair its absorption, are fundamental steps for prevention. In confirmed deficiency cases, available treatments, whether through dietary supplements or injections, offer a significant opportunity to improve health substantially.

 

Author: Hala Hameedo, Biology Teacher at Masarat Initiative

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share Content:

Content

Educate Orphans in Syria

Be a bridge for a child to cross over, whose simplest dreams are to return to education and to create a blossoming future for himself and his family