Vitamin B12 is one of the essential B vitamins involves in various functions in our body including making red blood cells, DNA, nerves, metabolism and energy production. B12 deficiency is underestimated and its prevalence increases especially with age. Many risk factors contribute to b12 deficiency. Check out if you’ve got any of the followings:
- Strict vegetarian or vegan diet - vegetables do not produce b12
- People who underwent stomach stapling or bypass surgery – the surgery can affect the absorption of b12 or extraction of b12 from food
- People who suffer from chronic illnesses such as Celiac disease or Crohn’s disease which can interfere with b12 and other nutrients absorption
- Chronic excessive alcohol intake
Many medications can also reduce vitamin b12 level:
- Drugs for stomach acid suppression or heartburn (e.g. lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole, ranitidine, famotidine)
- Metformin – a diabetic medication
Symptoms of b12 deficiency are easily overlooked as b12 deficiency develops gradually.
- Tingling and numbness sensation at hands and feet
- Difficulty thinking
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Mood disturbances
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin)
- Glossitis (swollen tongue)
- Difficult to balance or loss of balance
- Joint pain
- stomach acid production is reduced and therefore affecting the absorption of b12
For many people, it is not easy to obtain enough b12 and other B vitamins from their diet especially older people. Supplementation with sublingual form or active oral form with highly absorbable rate would be a solution.
Injectable forms of b12 and other b vitamin injection are also a solution for those who have absorption problem.