It will be a grave mistake if you forget about the most important vitamin-B12, since our body needs it on a daily basis. We often don’t even think about this essential nutrient because humans have the tendency to go for one vitamin at a time.
For instance, when we insist consuming vitamin C we consume only this vitamin and we forget about the rest, like vitamin E, beta carotene, Vitamin K, lycopene, vitamin D, etc.
An interesting pun about vitamin B12 and its role is the following: you may forget about vitamin B12 because you are unable to remember, since a vitamin B12 deficiency limits your ability to think clearly!
What are the benefits of B12?
Like most vitamins, this one plays an integral role, but the sad thing is that it is very scarce in foods. Vitamin B12 is vital for our metabolic function and health.
Vitamin B12 helps:
- in DNA replication
- in the production of red blood cells
- in the function of the nerve cells and production of myelin that accelerates neural transmissions
B12 deficiency can lead to anemia (which you can treat with folate), the brain function may be impaired and the process of aging will be fastened, because our body cannot generate new healthy cells.
Manifestations of B12 Deficiency
In general, B12 deficiency usually occurs mostly in patients aged over 50. Some of the main symptoms of B12 deficiency are dizziness, fatigue, tingling, numbness, irritability, anemia, swelling and irritation of the mouth and tongue.
The most serious symptom is impaired brain function, since your nerve cells can’t work properly, which can lead to dementia that resembles Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, you can reverse this kind of dementia if you supply your body with B12.
There is another factor, a protein, which determines the efficiency of B12 absorption into the bloodstream, called intrinsic factor.
If you have gastritis or other stomach ailment it may be harder for your system to absorb B12, since the intrinsic protein is produced by the stomach. So, make sure to avoid medications that affect the stomach.
However, if you have pernicious anemia, it is best that you avoid oral consumption, and treat it with B12 injections. This is because of the intrinsic factor which will prevent absorption.
There are cases when the absorption of this vitamin can be limited by genetic mutations.
This condition is treated by consumption of B12 in its active form, which is called methylcobalamin.