Vitamin B12 deficiency is something that you might have heard of, but I bet you didn’t know it’s a common vitamin deficiency that can lead to serious health conditions. Although it’s not as widespread as the public thinks, it’s important we have a basic understanding of it.
What is it?
Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for the functioning of the nervous system, the formation of red blood cells, and the production of DNA and RNA. It is most often found in animal foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products, as well as in fortified breakfast cereals and soy products.
How much do you need?
Adults (aged 19 to 64) need about 1.5 micrograms a day of vitamin B12.
If you eat meat, fish or dairy foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet.
How do you get it?
There are a number of foods that contain Vitamin B12, including fish, meat, cheese, and eggs. One of the best sources is red meat, but even with meat sources, Vitamin B12 is sometimes hard to come by unless it’s in its natural form. That’s why some people take a Vitamin B12 supplement.
Does it help with your memory?
Vitamin B12 is not only important to the healthy functioning of your nervous system, but it’s also essential to the formation of new brain cells and the growth of brain tissue. People who suffer from cognitive decline as they age should consider adding vitamin B12 to a daily diet since it’s believed that low levels of vitamin B12 can slow down memory loss and cognitive decline.
What are the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin made by bacteria that is present in some foods, including animal products, meat, and dairy. One vitamin B12 deficiency disease is known as pernicious anaemia, which causes weakened red blood cells. Other symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, and dizziness.
Do you get Vitamin B12 from animal or plant sources?
Vitamin B12 is found in some foods, but for best absorption, you must get it from animal or plant sources. Vegetarians may get enough of this vitamin from fortified cereals and other foods. Vegans may have trouble finding a reliable source for vitamin B12 since they usually cannot get B12 from animal sources.
Sources of Vitamin B12
- Some fortified breakfast cereals