Vitamin B12 deficiency ensues if the patient is not consuming enough of this nutrient in the diet. Alternatively,the deficiency can occur if the body is unable to absorb the vitamin. Vitamin B12deficiency leads to psychological, physical and neurological symptoms as enlisted on oladoc.com. Needless to say, the condition is treated with vitamin B12 supplementation. Read on to know more about the effect of vitamin B-12 on the body:
What is vitamin B-12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient that makes DNA and keeps the nervous system functioning optimally.Vitamin B12 is an essential micronutrient, which means the body does not synthesize it on its own, rather it has to be consumed through the diet. Several forms of vitamin B12 exist, the most common ones being cyan cobalamin and cobalamin.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms (mcg) and this amount is higher in women who are pregnant or breast feeding. The nutritional sources of vitamin B12 include: eggs, dairy, organ meats, sea food like clams, trout, salmon, sardines, tuna, beef, fortified cereal and fortified yeast.
In the body, vitamin B12 is first removed from the food by the hydrochloric acid in the stomach and thereafter, this B12 then joins with intrinsic factor to be absorbed in the ileum.
The prevalence of vitamin B12based on the age groups is:
3 percent in people between the ages of 20 to 39 years
4 percent in people between the ages of 40 and 59 years
6 percent in people over the age of 60 years
What are the symptoms of vitamin B-12?
The symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Tiredness and weakness
Weight loss and not feeling hungry
Sores in the mouth or tongue
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
Irreversible neurological problems
Numbness and tingling of arms and legs
Difficulty in walking
Difficulty in speaking
What are the causes of vitamin B-12 deficiency?
The causes of vitamin B12 include:
Insufficient vitamin b12 in the diet: lack of vitamin B12 in the diet is the leading cause.
Diseases of the GI:gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease and Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), make absorption of vitamin B12 difficult. As mentioned before, vitamin B12 needs hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor for absorption.
Gastritis:in case of inflammation of the stomach lining—gastritis, there is underproduction of hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor, both of which are necessary for vitamin B12 absorption. Gastritis, therefore, causes vitamin B12 deficiency.
In individuals with disorders like pernicious anemia, there is severe vitamin B12 deficiency. This medical condition is characterized by deficiency of intrinsic factor present in the stomach that helps to absorb vitamin B12.
Neurological manifestations of vitamin B-12 deficiency
When it comes to the neurological welfare, all the B-vitamins play an important role, but vitamin B-12 in particular is important. It functions by maintaining and synthesizing the myelin sheath and protecting the nerves of both the spinal and the peripheral nervous system. This ensures that the nerve pathways are effective and fast.
One-carbon cycle is an important biochemical reaction that is crucial for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, myelin, DNA and RNA. These neurotransmitters include serotonin, acetylcholine,dopamine and norepinephrineand are crucial for the maintenanceof intellectual function of the brain. Vitamin B12 is the vital cofactor of the one-carbon cycleand therefore, is important for the cognitive function of the brain.
Stabilization of myelin
In the absence of vitamin B12, certain biochemical reactions forming myelin destabilizers occur. If these destabilizers are formed, there is synthesis of abnormal fatty acids, which when incorporated into myelin result in poor myelin sheath, causing severe dysfunction of the central and peripheral nervous system.
Research data also shows a correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and epilepsy. In fact, animal studies suggest that vitamin B12 supplementation by Best Neurologist in Lahore can successfully treat conditions like infantile spasms.