Vitamin and mineral deficiencies should not exist, all of which today have an abundant and diverse diet, but the modern and stressful life, the accelerated rhythms in which we live, the industrialized foods, denatured, refined and devoid of everything necessary to cover the needs, they make that without realizing us we fall into deficiencies and lack of nutrients that can have disastrous consequences for the health.
Statistics show that one adult in four is deficient in vitamin B12, also called cobalamin.
Vitamin B12 is essential for our health. It is a vitamin that our body is not capable of producing by itself and that is why it is essential to incorporate it regularly into food.
People who enjoy good health can endure for a long time a deficit of this vitamin because our body has reserves that are concentrated in the liver. However, the gradual exhaustion of these reserves leads to a lack that has serious and different consequences.
The process of depleting reserves may extend for years during which the symptoms of deficiency continually worsen.
On the other hand, we know that the symptoms can appear before the reserves are exhausted because many of these symptoms are not taken into account or are misdiagnosed.
We are going to bring some light to this issue in order to be able to clearly identify the appearance of precursor symptoms and be able to remedy the situation before more serious consequences arise.
CAUSES OF LACK OF VITAMIN B12:
Although the lack of vitamin B12 is a long process and the appearance of the symptoms is more or less serious it is not surprising that this takes even years. The body begins to manifest certain symptoms that are often not detected but that occur as a result of certain factors.
1) Lack of intrinsic factor.
The intrinsic factor is a molecule secreted in the stomach that allows the absorption of vitamin B12 in the large intestine. For this binding between the intrinsic factor and vitamin B12 to occur, there must be a normal degree of acidity in the stomach. When anemia is caused by a lack of intrinsic factor, it is called pernicious anemia.
2) Low acidity in the stomach.
In the elderly, 65% of deficiencies in vitamin B12 have to do with the lack of gastric acidity. With age, stomach cells secrete less gastric acid and, at the same time, less intrinsic factor. The habitual and prolonged intake of antacid medicines but in particular of the class of proton pump inhibitors, increase the risk.
3) Metformin treatment. People who take treatments that include Metformin, usually to treat diabetes, have more risks of vitamin B12 deficiency.
4) Autoimmune disease. In these cases, the antibodies will bind to the intrinsic factor making it unable to synthesize vitamin B12. This is the case of diseases such as Graves disease, thyroid, vitiligo, etcetera.
5) Chronic intestinal disease. A chronic intestinal disease prevents the passage of vitamin B12 through the intestinal walls, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or celiac disease. The intake of vitamin supplements is what is usually proposed in order to prevent deficiencies. In the case of celiac disease, absorption of vitamin B12 becomes normal once a gluten-free diet is adopted. Any other disease that leads to malabsorption, such as chronic pancreatitis or very rarely an infestation of parasites, can also cause vitamin B12 deficiency.
6) Certain surgeries of the stomach or large intestine. Patients receive preventive vitamin B12 supplements.
7) Anemia. Anemia can also be attributed to a lack of vitamin B12 in the diet. But this situation is quite uncommon since small amounts of the vitamin are necessary to cover the needs of the organism. On the other hand, vitamin B12 has the capacity to generate important reserves that may be sufficient and cover the needs for three or four years.
Adherents to the strict vegetarian regime, who do not consume animal proteins, may suffer from long-term anemia if they do not otherwise cover their needs for vitamin B12.
A study showed that 92% of vegetarians or vegans have a vitamin B12 deficiency if they do not take supplements, in relation to the 11% that exists among omnivores. Consequences of vitamin B12 deficiency.
As we have said, anemia due to lack of vitamin B12 is installed very slowly and insidiously. However, this anemia is treated easily and quickly. In the first days of treatment, the symptoms are attenuated and in a few weeks, the lack can be corrected.
It is important, however, to treat this type of anemia, since over the years the neurological symptoms may appear (numbness and tingling in the extremities, disorders at the time of walking, mood swings, pressure, psychosis, dementia symptoms). These symptoms disappear after six months, but once they have appeared they can leave sequels.
People reached with this pernicious anemia have a higher risk of developing stomach tumors in relation to the rest of the population. Foods with vitamins B12.
The great advantage is that with a balanced diet we can quickly meet the needs of this vitamin. So, beyond maintaining a balanced diet for the general benefit of our body, we can add some foods that contain high doses of vitamin B12 and thus always have the necessary amounts covered.
– Liver of pork, veal, and lamb.
– Fish and seafood: crab, clams, mackerel, sardines, herring, and salmon.
– Cheese and egg: parmesan cheese and Swiss cheese.
– Chicken breast and veal.
Always cover your vitamin B12 needs with these foods that in turn contain high doses of protein and Omega3.