Fatigue is the most common symptom of people who have low levels of vitamin B12. But fatigue by itself can be a sign of almost any health condition — or just that you haven’t been sleeping enough! Other signs of B12 deficiency include confusion, cognitive impairment, unsteady gait, numbness, tingling and fatigue.
Most people with vitamin B12 deficiencies have a mild problem. But in some cases, vitamin B12 deficiency can have serious consequences. You can develop mental problems, including confused thinking, memory loss, and dementia, which in some serious cases can be irreversible. Low levels of B12 can also cause nerve damage and anemia and weaken your bones.
What Can Bring on B 12 Deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiencies may happen when you aren’t getting the right nutrients in your diet, when your body can’t absorb nutrients properly, and when you have various other problems of the digestive system. It can also be brought on by becoming vegan, Crohn’s, Celiac disease, weight loss surgery, and chronic alcoholism. all interfere with a person’s ability to absorb enough of the nutrients they need. If have more problems with nutrient absorption and malnutrition as well. Vegans are more likely to have B 12 deficiency because the most B12 in our diets comes from animal products, vegans are at risk for B12 deficiency. Crohn’s and celiac disease, weight loss surgery, and chronic alcoholism can all interfere with a person’s ability to absorb enough of the nutrients they need. We can also develop B 12 deficiency as we age. When we are advanced in years we can have more problems with nutrient absorption and can become malnourished.
Sometimes B12 deficiency is caused by conditions other than diet. If your body can’t absorb B12 properly, you’ll need a doctor’s help to boost your B12 to safe levels.
Foods with B 12
Animal products like meat, poultry, and seafood, and dairy foods like milk, eggs, yogurt, and cheese are the best sources of vitamin B12. Honey, vegetables, and fruits are not really sources of vitamin B12, which is why people who follow a vegan diet may not get enough of it. If you’re a vegan, think about eating a breakfast cereal fortified with B12. You can also take a B12 supplement, which is recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers who are vegans or even strict vegetarians.
If you are concerned that you may have a B 12 deficiency you should see your Doctor. Describing your symptoms to your doctor may give them a clue that you could have low levels of vitamin B12. But you’ll need blood tests to confirm it. Some people can easily fix low levels of B12 by simply changing their diet, while others will need a doctor’s help.