In order for our body to function properly, we must consume a certain amount of vitamins and minerals that support various functions in our body. When we do not ingest these substances in the ideal amount, we can suffer from this deficiency through various symptoms, as in the case of Vitamin B12.
What is Vitamin B12?
Known as Cobalamin, Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in the production of red blood cells in our blood. Easily metabolized and absorbed by our body, it is taken up by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. In addition, it acts as a coenzyme, accelerating reactions through its role as a catalyst.
Like other B vitamins, a good part of the importance of B12 lies precisely in its direct action on the nervous system, protecting important structures for the functioning of our neurons.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms
When our body’s Vitamin B12 levels are not balanced, it is common for a number of symptoms to appear.
These symptoms may or may not be characterized by a lack of Vitamin B12, so see a doctor for reliable data about your health.
Because it is a vitamin linked to blood production, the first signs of its deficiency are confusion, weakness, and fatigue. A factor that must be watched carefully is alcohol consumption: Stomach acid can rise according to the amount of alcohol ingested, making it difficult for the blood to absorb vitamins.
What are the benefits of Vitamin B12?
When the body reaches the process of homeostasis, it means that it has reached equilibrium and all the functions talk to each other smoothly. Vitamin B12 is also part of this process, as it has numerous benefits within its functions:
Through its benefits, we can see the importance of adequate consumption of this vitamin. Because it is water-soluble, the vitamin does not pose risks if consumed in large quantities, as the body removes the unused amounts.
Overdoing it will be a problem for people with kidney problems – due to overloading the kidneys – or in case of allergies.
Main sources of Vitamin B12
Normally, it is recommended that the intake of this vitamin is about 3 micrograms per day.
The main sources of B12 are animal foods, so vegetarians are more likely to need supplementation.
It is important that the diet be as varied and healthy as possible, to avoid the symptoms and complications of nutritional deficiencies. Even when the right foods are consumed, malabsorption problems can occur – which also make it difficult for the body to function fully.
Vegetarianism and Vitamin B12
As we saw earlier, the main sources of vitamin B12 in nature are those from the animal kingdom, such as meat and dairy products.
Because of this, it is very common that vegetarians (and also vegans, those who do not consume any type of animal ingredients) are the most affected by B12 deficiency in the body.
There are many vegans who have excellent levels of this substance in their bloodstream, while countless people who frequently consume animal ingredients suffer from B12 deficiency.
For this, periodic examinations must be performed to ensure that levels are within what is considered adequate.
However, it is undeniable that vegetarians need to pay extra attention to this vitamin. For this, periodic checkups should be performed to ensure that levels are within what is considered adequate.
Because of this, it is always recommended that people who follow restrictive diets seek the help of really qualified professionals who know how to correctly interpret the laboratory tests and prescribe the best treatment for this problem.
Supplementation is usually done with B12 injections, especially in the most severe cases of deficiency. In adults, it is recommended that adults take 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 intramuscularly once a week until the deficiency is corrected (usually 6 to 8 weeks).