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Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Importance of Vitamin B12

The human body needs B12 in order to make red blood cells, which are needed to carry oxygen through the body. If the body does not have enough red blood cells, as condition called anemia will develop.

Anemia causes you to feel weak and tired. B12 deficiency can be caused by not eating enough foods containing B12, such as eggs, milk, meat and cheese. B12 deficiency may also occur if the vitamin is not able to be absorbed by the stomach or intestines.

Other causes could be from the result of taking heartburn or ulcer medication over an extended period of time. Other conditions that block the body's ability to absorb B12 are Crohn's disease, bacteria growth in the small intestine, a parasite or celiac disease.

Taking a daily supplement of B12 may be needed for many people lacking the vitamin. Some may require B12 injections in order to get the vitamin into the system faster.

Some of the symptoms related to B12 deficiency are:

  • feeling weak or tired
  • light headedness
  • bleeding gums
  • sore tongue
  • pale skin
  • weight lose
  • upset stomach
  • diarrhea/constipation
  • nerve damage
Nerve damage can result if B12 deficiency is allowed to go unchecked for prolonged periods of time.

Some symptoms of nerve damage are poor sense of balance, numbness or tingling sensation in fingers and toes, depression, or loss of mental abilities.

A simple blood test can be done to determine if a person is low on B12, as well as, folic acid, which is another B vitamin that may also be low as well and can cause similar symptoms.

Treatment for B12 deficiency anemia is usually a B12 shot once a month or daily B12 pills. If you are experiencing the previous mentioned symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor and get tested.

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