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Vitamin B12 Deficiency Signs Your Body Is WARNING You About

Did you know about 3% of the adult population in the U.S. have a vitamin B12 deficiency? And a little over 25% have low or borderline B12 levels. Unfortunately, most of those who are vitamin B12 deficient only realize that they are once it's too late. If you're feeling tired and sluggish or struggling with brain fog, you could be facing a B12 deficiency. This little vitamin packs a big punch when it comes to keeping your body functioning at its best.

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In today's post, let's discuss the tell-tale signs that your body is deficient. How can you get your B12 fix? What if you are a vegetarian or vegan? We're talking about all that and more. So buckle up!

What is vitamin B12, and Why is it so important?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin; Water-soluble vitamins are found in plant and animal products and should be consumed daily as the body cannot store it. This vitamin plays a crucial role in the production of red blood cells and the normal function of the brain and nervous system. It's also involved in the metabolism of every cell in the body, which helps turn the food you eat into energy.

You require more than 2 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily. A blood test can help determine if you are deficient in this nutrient. The average B12 serum is 300 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL) or higher. You are borderline deficient if your B12 levels range from 200 to 300 pg/mL. Once your levels drop below 200, you have a severe deficiency.


A severe deficiency will result in your experiencing a host of unpleasant symptoms like Heart Conditions. B12 is the cheerleader of the heart. It helps with the metabolism of homocysteine, an amino acid that can build up in the blood and increase the risk of heart disease. By breaking down homocysteine, B12 can help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Studies have indicated that those with high levels of homocysteine have two times the risk of developing coronary artery disease.


Fatigue could signify a drop in vitamin b12 levels as well. Vitamin B12 is an integral nutrient for producing red blood cells, or RBCs, which carry oxygen to all the cells in our body. Without enough B12, our red blood cells may not function properly, leading to anemia and fatigue. An early study suggested that B12 injections may be helpful for those with chronic fatigue syndrome.


Speaking of anemia, A lack of vitamin B12 can cause megaloblastic anemia. If you observe healthy red blood cells under a microscope, they appear small and round, but a severe B12 deficiency can elongate them and make them look prominent and oval. This unusual shape prevents them from traveling from your bone marrow to the bloodstream. When you have megaloblastic anemia, fewer red blood cells will carry oxygen to the vital organs. Anemia can even make your skin look pale or yellowish.


Vitamin B12 could also be the reason for your brain fog. Have you ever had a day where you can't seem to focus or think straight? Your thoughts feel all muddled and cloudy, as if you're walking through a thick fog. It could be that you're suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is vital for proper brain function and the production of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that help transmit signals between nerve cells in the brain. This has an immediate effect on how the brain and nervous system communicate. Without enough B12, your brain can't function at its best, leading to symptoms like brain fog, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating. Try upping your B12 intake and see if it helps clear the clouds. Happy thinking!


Have you ever experienced a prickly sensation in your hands and feet? B12 affects the nervous system in many ways. It helps to make the myelin sheath that covers nerves and protects them from damage. Without this cover, you'll experience tingling in your hands and feet. It can affect your daily activities like writing or buttoning a shirt.


Another condition brought on by B12 deficiency is macular degeneration. This is a common cause of vision loss in older adults. The health of your peepers is just as important as any other organ. According to a study, 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 and other B vitamins could help reduce blindness in old age. You can also have sharp eyesight in your old age if you have enough B12 during your youth because an ounce of prevention is worth more than finding a cure.


Want to prevent congenital disabilities in your little bundle of joy? Fetal development, especially during pregnancy's early stages, is critical. If your body lacks B12, it could hinder the development of the brain and spinal cord, which can cause severe congenital disabilities. Vitamin B9, known as folate or folic acid, and B12 often work in unison. So remember to get a bit of both. A little bit of B12 and B9 can go a long way in keeping your baby healthy and happy!


Furthermore, B12 affects your bones. Porous bone disease or osteoporosis can make your bones brittle as stale toast. This essential vitamin helps to rebuild your bone mineral density and keeps your bones as strong as a brick house. Bones devoid of minerals can become delicate and fragile and cause fractures. 


This vitamin may also take a toll on male fertility. Sadly, male infertility has become very common. 20-30 % of men globally have to live with fertility issues. Although there could be multiple reasons for these conditions, low vitamin, and mineral intake, especially B12, can trigger infertility. Studies have shown vitamin B12 to increase sperm count motility and reduce sperm DNA damage. So get a good dose of B12-rich foods to ensure everything runs smoothly. But this vitamin is not just for men.


It also helps women to reduce their chances of developing breast cancer. Nutrition plays a vital role in the development of cancer. Experimental research has shown a deficiency of B12 may contribute to breast cancer. Women with more folate and vitamin B12 had a lower risk of breast cancer. However, experts do not advise high-risk females to rely solely on food and nutritional supplements. Vitamins only act as a preventative measure. To avoid these scary symptoms, add vitamin b12 rich-foods to your everyday meals.



Start with clams! These little sea creatures pack an incredible source of B12, with a 3-ounce serving providing a whopping 84 micrograms (mcg) of the nutrient. They're also a good source of protein and minerals like iron and zinc. Try adding them to a chowder or pasta dish.


Add beef liver to your next batch of meatballs or meatloaf. Another animal protein with a high B12 content, one 3-ounce serving of beef liver, provides 16 mcg of B12. It's also a good source of protein and iron.


But the meaty marvels continue. Beef, lamb, and pork are good sources of vitamin B12. Three ounces of beef provides more than 2 micrograms of B12, Lamb provides 85 micrograms per 100-gram serving, and 3.5 ounces of pork contains almost one gram of vitamin B12. Enjoy these meats roasted, in stir-fries, or as grilled kebabs.


Get nutty for nutritional yeast. Deactivated yeast, known as nutritional yeast, is frequently used as a condiment or spice. 1 serving of 16 grams provides more than 24 micrograms. Nutritional yeast is fantastic for getting more protein and B vitamins. It has a nutty, cheesy flavor, usually used as a topping for popcorn, pasta dishes, or roasted vegetables.


If you're a vegan, have fun with fortified foods. Many fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, plant-based milk, and energy bars, are fortified with vitamin B12. These products often have added B12 to enhance their nutritional value. You can check the nutrition label to see how much B12 a particular product provides.


Even regular cow's milk is excellent for getting B12. A cup of milk contains around 1 mcg of B12. Milk gives protein and calcium that keeps your bones and teeth strong. To incorporate milk into your diet, try adding it to your morning fortified cereal or a smoothie.


Eggs are the following egg-ceptional energy boosters! Egg yolks contain vitamin B12, with one large egg providing about 1 microgram. Eggs are also a complete protein containing all essential amino acids. They can be a healthy addition to breakfast dishes like omelets, scrambled eggs, or protein-rich toppings for salads and grain bowls.


Need a color pop? Try spirulina. Spirulina, a type of blue-green algae, is sold in powdered or capsule form. It's a good source of vitamin B12, with one tablespoon of spirulina powder providing about 7.5 micrograms. You can add it to smoothies and energy bars for a nutrient boost.


Last on our list is the super delicious Salmon. Wild-caught salmon is an excellent source of vitamin B12, with 3 ounces providing more than 3 micrograms of B12. It also has omega-3 fatty acids, which can support heart health. Salmon is versatile and may be grilled, baked, or added to salads or sandwiches.

Remember that no single nutrient can look after all your body needs. That's why it is always a good idea to include various foods that contain lots of nutrients. Interested in learning more? Check out 24 High Protein Foods That You Should Eat Regularly or 5 Best Non-Dairy Substitutes For Milk You Should Try. Go ahead. Click one, or better yet, read both and learn how to improve your diet with healthy foods. What is your favorite way of eating B12-rich foods? Let us know in the comments below.

The information I provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. You should never use content in my writing as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified clinician. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if indicated for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. I am not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information in this blog. Thank you.

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