Vitamin B12 is one of the most essential substances for the human body. What is the danger of a deficiency of this substance and how to deal with it? Look for the answer in our new article.
Vitamin B12 or folic acid is an essential substance that helps human cells produce nucleic acids (DNA). It is found only in foods of animal origin and its deficiency is often found not only in the elderly, but also in those who follow a vegan diet.
Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
In the elderly, the absorption of vitamin B12 is impaired due to atrophic gastritis, for example. B12 also ceases to be absorbed if a person needs amputation of the stomach, in which case lifelong therapy with this vitamin is required.
And, of course, the most obvious cause of vitamin B12 deficiency is inadequate intake.
The main sources of vitamin B12:
A normal diet contains a lot of vitamin B12, but if a person follows a vegan diet without supplementation, they may become deficient.
Folic acid deficiency
The human body cannot produce folic acid on its own, so it must be obtained from foods such as liver, green vegetables, and yeast.
The lack of folic acid in pregnant women increases the risk of closure of the neural tube of the fetus, it is the need for this substance during pregnancy and lactation that increases. Doctors recommend taking extra servings of vitamin B12.
A folic acid deficiency condition often appears in people who do not eat properly, in particular in people who abuse alcohol. Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) and other intestinal disorders that interfere with the absorption of substances by the intestines also lead to a lack of folic acid.
Some medications also cause folic acid deficiency. For example, drugs for epilepsy.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms:
- low number of platelets and leukocytes;
- muscle weakness;
- violations of sensitivity and memory;
- tongue inflammation;
- weight loss;
- yellowing of the skin.
Diagnosis of the disease
If you suspect a vitamin B12 deficiency, you need to go to a doctor’s consultation, who will prescribe the appropriate blood tests. Sometimes, in order to identify the disease, you need to take a sample of the bone marrow or perform an endoscopy of the stomach in order to identify atrophic inflammation in the body.
If hemoglobin is very low, the doctor recommends urgent tests, as this condition indicates a malignant blood disease.
Treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be corrected with a vitamin preparation. It is usually administered as an injection: at first more often, and then, after correcting the deficiency, it is pierced every 1–3 months to maintain the effect.
If there is a problem with vitamin absorption, a person needs treatment for a lifetime.
With a slight deficiency, tablet therapy is recommended. It is possible if a person does not consume enough vitamin B12 with food.
Prevention of vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies respond well to simple preventive measures:
- varied diet;
- lack of rigid mono-diets;
- adequate vitamin intake from dietary supplements.
In some cases, prevention is not possible. This applies to gastritis associated with autoimmune inflammation of the gastric mucosa. In this case, only the treatment of Helicobacter will save the situation.