Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin which takes a role in helping the brain and nervous system functioning correctly. This vitamin is responsible for creating DNA, which is a genetic material present in all cells. Along with iron, a deficiency in B12 can mean that a person may suffer anemia. This can cause a person to feel tired and weak. This is not the only problem that can occur with not getting enough vitamin b12 though, and some of the most shocking and important symptoms of a B12 deficiency are listed below.
Where does B12 come from?
The vitamin B12 is quite hard to find naturally in food. This can be especially hard for vegans. Typically the only vegan foods with vitamin B12 in it are foods which are fortified with thể vitamin. Some vegan foods where you might find this are:
- Plant milks
- Soy foods
It is worth mentioning that not all soy foods and not all cereals or plant milk have B12, but these are products that are sometimes fortified with the vitamin.
Vitamin B12 will not last more than one year in other foods which are not particularly vegan-friendly. Some foods that are high in the vitamin B12 are;
- Shellfish and other fish
- Red meat
- Low-fat dairy
As you can see from the list it is far more difficult for vegans and vegetarians to get their supply of B12. Often this means they need to take a supplement to keep their B12 levels safe. These can be purchased in many health stores but the best versions of these also include some Aloe Vera, a little known B12 hub. Aloe Vera naturally has B12 in it and is an option for carnivores and vegetarians and vegans alike to enjoy as an alternative B12 source.
What is a vitamin B12 deficiency?
Many people may be low on B12, but it is such an uncommon thing that it is barely tested for. The truth, and the science, both show that a low level of B12 in the body can have some very severe results. You can find out by asking the doctor for a B12 test, but make sure you ask to know how much active B12 is in your body for the true results.
As you age, or with certain health complaints like a thin stomach lining, it can become harder to absorb vitamins like B12. It is also more likely that vegans will have a low level of B12.
A mild B12 deficiency can cause almost no symptoms.
Symptoms of a B12 deficiency
The symptoms of being deficient of B12 can vary a lot from person to person. Some of the symptoms are eerily similar to those of other conditions so go unnoticed for a really long time. A typical B12 deficiency may leave you with these symptoms;
- Weakness and tiredness.
- Dizziness or light-headedness.
- Shortness of breath.
- Heart palpitations.
- A paleness to the skin.
- A smooth tongue that seems to lack the feel of taste-buds.
- A change in digestive movements – constipation, diarrhea, gas.
- A loss of appetite.
- Numbness or tingling anywhere on the body.
- Weak muscles.
- Vision loss.
- Memory loss.
- Behavioural changes.
As you can see, and as was mentioned above, many of the symptoms are very similar to those of other, more or less serious conditions. Sometimes you can be diagnosed with something totally different for a number of years before you are tested for a B12 deficiency. In the UK it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get properly tested for a B12 deficiency and there are many conspiracy theories and stories about why this is. Many people believe that the pharmaceutical companies make too much of a profit by putting us on expensive medications to give out cheap and effective B12 shots.
How you can treat yourself
If you are finding it hard to get seen by a doctor about B12, then don’t stress, you can safely get the vitamins yourself to take. The shot is much quicker and perhaps easier than taking a daily vitamin, but the vitamin is less intrusive and you can buy it yourself without having to see the doctor and fight for a prescription.
Natasha is a health and wellness blogger at Aloe Vera Guide. She writes about everything Aloe Vera and how it can be used to improve daily life.