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Vitamin B12 deficiency, a silent killer

Vitamin b12 is spoken about in many health and nutrition books however b12 deficiency remains an invisible epidemic. A deficiency of Vitamin b12 in many instances can be difficult spot, as its symptoms imitate other serious ailments such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, depression, aggressive weight loss, dementia and many other degenerative diseases. Vitamin B12 deficiency does not only affect the elderly, but is also a very common ailment among many in their early 20’s and 30’s.

You may ask yourself, what exactly is b12 deficiency, why is it needed and why is it so often missed? To answer such a question we will first discuss the importance of b12 and its main source as to where it can be found.

Vitamin B12 is a vital nutrient needed to produce our DNA, red blood cells and nerves. Like most vitamins, this cannot be produced by the body and is received from supplements and food. Plants are not the source of such vitamins and it is only found in food such as fish, beef, clams, eggs, cheese, mutton, crab, lobster, liver and from other animals. This makes many strict vegans and vegetarians susceptible to such deficiency as supplements are the only option for b12.

Many who also take commonly prescribed heartburn medicine or have done weight loss surgery or stomach stapling are also likely to have low vitamin b12. Surgery disrupts the body’s ability to extract vitamin b12 from the food we eat and many heartburn drugs reduce the acid production in the stomach needed to absorb vitamin b12.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be slow to develop but at times it can develop rapidly over a short period of time. Our goal is to be proactive and to recognise its symptoms before it progresses. It’s symptoms are many and can be mistaken for other illnesses however, it’s wise to know what they are in order to take preventative steps.
Some of these are:
Weakness
Anaemia
Swollen Tongue
Yellow skin
Numbness or tingling in the feet, legs and hands
Strange sensations in the feet, legs and hands
Balance problems

This is a serious problem that can go unnoticed until it’s too late thus as a preventative measure, have your b12 level checked at intervals.

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