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All About Vitamin B12- Vitamin B12 Sources , Functions, Deficiency and Supplementation -Wellness Love.

Introduction :

Mrs. Kriti, aged 38 years is experiencing unexplained tiredness since 2 months associated with tingling sensation in her extremities. She consulted doctor and as per her blood investigations she was deficient in Vitamin B12.

Brown Eggs, Breakfast, Nutrition, Food

In this article, I have discussed about, What is Vitamin B12? What are its functions? Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, Sources  and supplementation of Vitamin B12. Let us go into the details.

Vitamin  B 12 otherwise called Cobalmin is water soluble vitamin.

Functions of Vitamin B12 :
  • It is necessary for production of RBC( Red blood Cells).
  • Prevents anemia specially megaloblastic anemia.
  • Prevents birth defects .
  • Helps to make genetic material in cells.
  • Helps in absorption of folic acid which gives you energy .
  • Necessary for healthy nervous system.

RDA ( Recommended Dietary Allowance) :

2. 4 mcg per day for adults.
2.6 mcg for pregnant mothers.
2.8 mcg for lactating mothers.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency :
  • Fatigue
  • Sore mouth
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Tingling and numbness sensation in hands and legs.
  • Anemia specially megaloblastic anemia results in extreme level of tiredness, difficulty in breathing, irregular heart beat,menstrual problems in women.
  • Severe deficiency may result in depression, confusion, delirium which may even lead to dementia. It may also cause permanent nerve damage.

Sources of Vitamin B12 :

Vitamin B12 is mainly found in non vegetarian foods and dairy products.

Eggs :

Eggs contain vitamin B12 along with its antioxidants, vitamin D. Two large eggs can provide 1.2 mcg of vitamin B12.

Salmon :

Salmon, Dish, Food, Meal, Fish, Seafood

Along with its helpful omega 3 fatty acids and rich protein it also harbours a great level of vitamin B12.

Meat :

Barbecue, Meat, Grill, Flame, Bbq

Chicken and mutton provides a good amount of vitamin B12 . Mutton provides higher levels of vitamin B12 than chicken.

Along with it Crabs , lobster, oyster too has vitamin B12 content.

For vegetarians here is a list of foods with vitamin B12 content:

Milk :

Milk, Glass, Fresh, Healthy, Drink

Milk is an excellent source of vitamin B12 for vegetarians.
A cup of milk provides 1.1 microgram of vitamin B12.

Yogurt :

Yogurt, Fruit, Vanilla, Strawberries

100 grams of yogurt can provide 0.8 mcg of vitamin B12 along with it's  probiotic properties.

Cheese :

Cheese, Food, Fresh, Dinner, French

100gm of cheese has 0.8 mcg of vitamin B12 in it along with calcium necessary for bone health. 

Depending upon your age, physical activity, underlying health condition you can include cheese in your diet.

Along with these foods, foods fortified with vitamin B12 provides with some of the vitamin B12 levels for vegetarians like almond And soy milk fortified with vitamin B12.  There are also breakfast cereals fortified but when you are buying this breakfast cereals read for contents as some contain high levels of sugar which are not good for health.

Normal range of Vitamin B12 in blood :
200- 900 ng/mL.
Below 200 ng/mL is considered low.

Cost of the test in India :
700 Rs to 1200 Rs varies according to the place .

Who are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency  :

Vitamin B12 cannot be synthesised by our body and so we have to depend on the sources . Excess of vitamin B12 is stored in the liver and used when the stores are depleted.

 Therefore, deficiency either means you are not taking adequate amount of food source containing vitamin B12 or the vitamin B12 is not getting absorbed even though you are taking proper sources due to certain factors.

The factors that hinder the absorption of vitamin B12 are :

  • Atropic Gastritis : Vitamin B12 gets binded to protein called intrinsic factor released by parietal cells in the stomach. In gastritis there is inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach wall leading to insufficient secretion of this intrinsic factor leading to improper binding of vitamin B12 causing lack of absorption of this vitamin.
  • Surgeries related to stomach.
  • Digestive disorders like Crohn's disease or celiac disease.

Note :

If you are vegan , who include only plant based foods and not even dairy foods you are at risk of  vitamin B12 deficiency. Get yourself tested and take supplementation as per doctors advice. If you are pregnant and following vegan diet , consult doctor  as the requirements of this vitamin increases during this phase of life and is important for normal physical and mental development of fetus.

Supplementation :

Supplementation is done in oral or Injectable forms. If the deficiency is severe injectables is opted. Consult doctor for supplementation if your blood levels are low.

Conclusion  :

After reading this article, I am sure you know that Vitamin B12 is vital for carrying out important functions of the body. Well,  above are the sources of vitamin  B12,include them according to your needs and lifestyle.  If you found this article, informative please do share it with your loved ones.
Thank you..


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