All About Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin to stay healthy and fit in the long run. If you don’t get enough B12, it can affect many important functions of your body. It helps make your red blood cells and DNA. But the problem is, your body doesn’t produce vitamin B12. Hence, you should be getting this essential nutrient from animal food sources and supplements. Since the body doesn’t store B12 for long, you should be getting vitamin B12 on a regular basis from one of these sources.
The Recommended Daily Allowance
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12 depends on many factors such as your age, medications you take, medical history, and your eating habits. Here is the daily recommended allowance of vitamin B12 for different age groups of individuals:
. Infants Upto 6 Months – 0.4 micrograms (mcg)
. Babies aged 7-12 Months – 0.5 mcg
. Kids 1-3 Years – 0.9 mcg
. Kids 4-8 Years – 1.2 mcg
. Children 9-13 Years – 1.8 mcg
. Teens 14-18 Years – 2.4 mcg
. Adults – 2.4 mcg
. Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers should take 2.6 mcg and 2.8 mcg respectively.
Vitamin B12 Food Sources
There are so many animal food sources that will give you your daily intake of vitamin B12. In fact, some of these food sources naturally contain vitamin B12 while some sources are fortified with the vitamin. Dairy products such as fish, milk, poultry, eggs, and meat are the main sources of B12. There are also food sources that are fortified with the vitamin. You can easily find some of these foods by checking the Nutrition Label of the product. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to many conditions. You can easily prevent such situations by adding some of these food sources to your regular diet plan.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Most of the population in the United States lack this essential vitamin in their diet plan. You can speak to the doctor and get a blood test to check your levels of B12. There are many instances where your body finds it harder to absorb this essential vitamin. Aging is one reason. On the other hand, heavy drinking, weight loss surgery, and removing part of the stomach are some other reasons for the slow absorption of this vitamin. You shouldn’t take acid-reducing medications for long since it can affect how your body absorbs B12. There are many other conditions that can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency. Some of them include:
. Pernicious anemia – your body finds it hard to absorb the nutrient.
. Atrophic gastritis – where the stomach lining becomes thinner.
. Immune disorders such as Graves’ disease and lupus
. Small intestine conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, parasite or bacterial growth.
. Being on a vegan diet – you may add fortified foods to prevent B12 deficiency in the long run.
You become anemic when you are deficient in B12. Although a mild deficiency may not have any symptoms, untreated conditions may result in symptoms such as:
. Shortness of breath and heart palpitations
. Pale skin, weakness, tiredness, and lightheadedness
. Gas, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation
. Vision loss and a smooth tongue
. Depression, memory loss, and behavioral changes
B12 Deficiency Treatments
You may require shots of B12 at first. You will have to continue with these B12 shots and take high doses of B12 supplements after that. If you are on a vegan diet, you should change your diet to include B12 fortified cereals and grains.
During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
If you are a pregnant woman on a vegetarian diet, you should speak to your doctor before having the baby. Your doctor will get you a plan in place for getting the required B12 in order to keep the baby healthy. Your baby may experience developmental delays and not grow properly due to B12 deficiency.
How To Prevent B12 Deficiency?
Eat enough dairy foods or B12 fortified foods for this purpose. A B12 supplement can also do the trick. If you are currently taking any other medications, let your doctor know before choosing a suitable B12 supplement. He or she will make sure that the supplement won’t affect the other medications you take.