Even though it is one of the most overlooked vitamins in the world, B12 is also one of the most essential vitamins for our body. This vitamin is very important for the metabolism of each of our body cells.
You may start to experience long-term diseases and neurological conditions if you have insufficient amounts of B12 for a longer period of time.
In order to treat it on time and prevent numerous health problems you have to get informed about the first warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
You definitely need to know more about the first signs of vitamin B12 deficiency and why it is so important to your overall health. We also provided you with a list of foods that contain the highest amounts of vitamin B12.
7 Warning Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Frequent bouts of vertigo and light headedness (dizziness) are some of the first warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. You might experience dizziness when walking upstairs or downstairs, or wobble when standing up too fast from a chair.
Even though you may think that this is normal, these situations can sometimes be very dangerous. It is best to consult your doctor in order to receive the proper treatment for vitamin deficiency if you experience symptoms of chronic vertigo.
If you have hard time remembering ordinary things like where you left your keys or what’s the name of your friend we have some bad news for you. This type of uncharacteristic forgetfulness does not indicate early dementia.
On the other hand, this indicates that you experience a vitamin B12 deficiency. When older people have a vitamin B12 deficiency they think that they have Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you want to be sure about the problem do a simple blood test. You will be able to improve your memory with a supplemental regimen.
- Muscle Weakness
Your muscles may be deprived of the proper amount of oxygen from erythrocytes if they feel weak. You know that you have a problem when your grocery bags feel like they weight thousand pounds.
Uncharacteristic muscle weakness and sluggishness can be caused by the improper oxygenation to muscle cells and vitamin B12 deficiency. If you are no longer able to carry your gym bag or heavy purse, you will have to include foods that are rich in vitamin B12 in your diet.
- Pale Skin
If you are pale with a yellow cast but you used to have those rosy cheeks that revealed your perfect health, you may experience vitamin B12 deficiency. This means that you lack of erythrocytes. As a result your body starts producing more bilirubin which replaces that rosy complexion with a pale visage.
- Pins and Needles
Paraesthesia or pins and needles is caused by the insufficient amounts of vitamin B12. Because of the nerve damage caused by the lack of vitamin B12 you will have a feeling of electric shock waves.
You will also start experiencing tingling, prickling or a numbing sensation throughout the body, especially in the hands and feet.
You will experience reduced production of erythrocytes which in turn results in low oxygen levels in the nerve tissues. This indicates that you are deficient in this vitamin.
- Unexplained Fatigue
If you still have that constant fatigue but you are regularly getting a good night of sleep, you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency. The reduced production of erythrocytes in your body can cause this unexplained fatigue. This happens because insufficient amounts of oxygen are transported to your organs.
- Eye Problems
Your vision may be damaged or you may experience vision changes if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Although these are rare cases, you may experience an optic neuropathy due to the lack of this vitamin.
When you have a damaged optic nerve you may experience reduced central vision, blurred or double vision, light sensitivity, shadows or tracers. However, do not worry too much because supplements can help you restore your vision.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
Here are some of the most significant health benefits so you can better understand the importance of this vitamin:
- Prevents Heart Disease and Stroke
Nowadays, the leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease. You need to be careful and do everything you can in order to protect the health of your heart.
According to some new research, increased levels of homocysteine can cause a higher risk factor for heart disease than cholesterol.
If there is a lack of vitamin B12, this non-protein amino acid can create inflammation. However, if you have a sufficient amount of this extremely essential vitamin, you are going to reduce the chances of getting heart disease or experiencing stoke.
- Prevents Nerve Damage
Myelin sheath is a fatty white substance that surrounds the axon of some nerve cells. Myelin has the function to protect the nerves from toxins and free radical damage.
You will experience nerve related disorders if the myelin does not protect the nerves. If you have damaged nerves, they will interrupt the transmission of signals to and from the brain.
- Supports Energy
Since the vitamin B12 stimulates the production of energy, you will be able to keep your cells healthy and strong. If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, you will starve your cells. This is going to make you feel weak and tired.
In order to convert carbs into usable glucose, the metabolism needs the vitamin B12. It is important to mention that glucose is an extremely essential participant in the production of energy. You will have increased risk of suffering from fatigue if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Helps Digestion
If you want to help the process of breaking down of foods in the stomach and support a healthy metabolism, you will have to include foods that are rich in vitamin B12 in your diet since it aids in the production of digestive enzymes.
Besides removing the harmful bacteria in the digestive tract, this vitamin will also help you foster healthy gut bacteria. If you do not have a vitamin B12 deficiency, you will be able to prevent candida, inflammatory bowel disease and other digestive related issues.
- Helps Produce Erythrocytes and Prevents Anemia
Vitamin B12 is able to prevent megaloblastic anemia, which is manifested by weakness and chronic fatigue, since it helps the production of erythrocytes.
- Protects the Bones
As we mentioned before, vitamin B12 is able to reduce the levels of homocysteine. People who suffer from bone conditions have higher levels of homocysteine than people with healthy bones. That is the main reason why vitamin B12 is recommended to those people who suffer from osteoporosis or another bone related disorder.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B12
The following foods are a rich and natural source of this extremely beneficial vitamin:
Beef and chicken liver – 81 milligrams in 3 ounces
Salmon – 19.5 milligrams in 108 grams (1 filet)
Herring – 18.7 milligrams in 143 grams (1 filet)
Mackerel – 15.3 milligrams in 3 ounces
Sardines – 13.3 milligrams in 1 cup
Tuna -- 9.3 milligrams in 3 ounces
Trout – 9.1 milligrams in 1 filet
Organic yogurt – 1.3 mg in 1 container of plain Greek yogurt
Turkey – 1.1 milligrams in 3 ounces
Raw milk – 1 milligram in 1 cup
Beef tenderloin – 0.9 milligrams in 3 ounces
Lamb – 0.8 milligrams in 3 ounces
Cereals, cheese, nutritional yeasts, plant-based milk (soymilk, almond milk and coconut milk) are some other non-vegan sources of the vitamin B12.
It is important to notice the early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. If you want to protect your overall health, you will have to treat it as soon as possible. Various health problems and diseases can be prevented if your body has the sufficient amount of vitamin B12.