Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in Indians, findings of a few studies suggest. Did you you know that a staggering 47% of Indians may be vitamin B12 deficient while just 26% may be vitamin B12 sufficient, as per a 2019 study published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the synthesis of red blood cells and DNA and the health of neurons. Various bodily processes require vitamin B12, which is essential for human metabolism.
A vitamin B12 level of <200 pg/ml (150 pmol/L) is globally considered the marker of deficiency. Going by this criteria, individuals with levels between 200 and 300 pg/ml are regarded as borderline deficient. Going by this definition, the 2019 study found that 74.90% of the Indian population in tier 3 cities would be potentially deficient in vitamin B12.
You must be thinking, what harm might a vitamin B12 deficiency cause? Well, a case study published by Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital in The New England Journal of Medicine stated a 62-year-old guy started to feel numb and "pins and needles" in his hands, had problems walking, had excruciating joint pain, started to become yellow, and got increasingly short of breath for two months. Well on investigating, the cause found was a deficiency of vitamin B12 in his system. It could have been worse because a severe vitamin B12 shortage can cause serious depression, hallucinations, incontinence, loss of taste and smell, and other symptoms.
What is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy blood and nerve cells, and helps form DNA in your body. Since your body cannot produce it naturally, you must obtain it from the foods and dairy you consume. Vitamin B12 sources include animal-derived products like meat, dairy, and eggs, as well as fortified foods like certain cereals, bread, and nutritional yeast.
For adults, the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is approximately 2.2-2.5 micrograms (mcg), with higher requirements for pregnant or breastfeeding individuals. The specific amount of vitamin B12 needed by infants and children varies based on their age.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a vital nutrient crucial for DNA synthesis, brain and nervous system nourishment, and the formation of healthy red blood cells. Some major health benefits of vitamin B12 include:
May Help Prevent Depression
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter connected to mood modulation, is produced as a result of vitamin B12 consumption. Clinical depression and vitamin B12 deficiency may be connected. A 2020 study published by NCBI to review the link between vitamin B12 and depression found decreased levels of Vitamin B12 in the body is linked to an increased risk of developing depression.
Furthermore, increased vitamin B12 levels have also been associated with better chances of recovering from a major depressive disorder.
Promotes Healthy Pregnancy
The NCBI study found expectant mothers residing in regions with limited resources face the threat of lacking essential micronutrients. Low levels of vitamin B12 during pregnancy have been linked to unfavourable outcomes such as anaemia, low birth weight, and intrauterine growth retardation.
Early in pregnancy, vitamin B12 deficiency increases the risk of neural tube birth abnormalities and low birth weight in the foetus. A mother may may be at the risk of miscarriage or premature birth, if her B12 levels are low. Birth abnormalities are three times more likely to occur in children of women with low vitamin B12 levels. Therefore, it is recommended to keep a close check on Vitamin B12 consumption as it directly promotes pregnancy health.
Boosts Cognitive Functioning
Every stage of life benefits from vitamin B12's critical contributions to brain health. This vital micronutrient significantly contributes to preventing conditions that affect the development of the central nervous system (CNS), mood disorders, and different dementias, such as Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia in the elderly. Increased levels of total homocysteine and methylmalonic acid are regarded as sensitive metabolic indications of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Furthermore, for healthy brain neurons, vitamin B12 is essential. Memory loss and dementia are associated with brain atrophy, which is a decrease in the brain's neuronal population.
Decreases Risk of Macular Degeneration
A randomised 2022 group study on older adults published by the NCBI found folic acid (B9) and vitamins B6 and B12, when taken regularly, lowered the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 40 percent. Other reports suggested robust links between an increased risk of AMD and decreased plasma folate concentrations. This indicates that folate and vitamin B-12 may help to reduce the risk of AMD.
And do you know? The major cause of blindness and impaired vision in older persons is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Therefore Vitamin B12 indirectly plays a major role in decreasing the risk of macular degeneration.
Vitamin B12: Recommended Intake
Cobalamin, often known as vitamin B12, supports critical biochemical processes in the body. One of these transforms homocysteine into methionine, an essential component of proteins. L-methylmalonyl-coenzyme (CoA) is catalysed to succinyl-CoA (in the presence of vitamin B12), which is used as an energy source.
Even though the quantity of vitamin B12 you require depends on what's required to maintain appropriate vitamin B12 levels in your blood, the RDA for adult men is 2.2 μg/day and for adult women is 2.5 μg/day. The values might vary with pregnant and lactating women.
Vitamin B12 cannot be produced by the body like other vitamins. It must instead be obtained through meals or vitamin B12 supplements.
And therein lies the issue: While some people can't absorb enough vitamin B12 no matter how much they ingest, others don't consume enough to meet their needs. As a result, vitamin B12 insufficiency is rather typical, especially in elderly individuals.
Food Sources of Vitamin B12
Animal Food Sources
-Meat (lamb, pork, and beef)
-Poultry (turkey and chicken)
-Fish (trout, sardines, salmon, tuna), other Sea Food (Crabs, oysters, and clams)
-Eggs (particularly the yolk)
-Plant-based milk substitutes fortified with vitamin B12 include soy, almond, and coconut milk
-Enriched nutritional yeast with vitamin B12
Supplements for Vitamin B12
Since vitamin B12 is mostly found in animal products and fortified foods, vitamin B12 supplements are crucial for people who adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet to ensure appropriate intake.
However, your daily requirement for vitamin B12 can be satisfied with the MULTIVITAMIN supplement from Steadfast Nutrition. The adequate dose of vitamin B12 in each serving of this dietary supplement satisfies the adult daily requirement of 2.4 mcg by 45.15%. The presence of cyanocobalamin, a widely available form of vitamin B12, in Steadfast's supplement guarantees optimal absorption and utilisation by the body. This supplement is a reliable option because it was carefully created while taking into account the highest quality and safety standards. It also has a balanced mix of other necessary vitamins and minerals to support general health and well-being in addition to vitamin B12.
You can trust Steadfast Nutrition’s MULTIVITAMIN to fill in any nutritional gaps and maintain your energy levels, immunity and overall health because of our dedication to manufacturing high-quality supplements.
Common Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
A lack of vitamin B12 can show up as several different indications and symptoms. Here are some common signs of vitamin B12 insufficiency that are typically present:
1. Pale or jaundiced skin
2. Fatigue and weakness
3. Breathlessness and lightheadedness
4. Feeling tingly or numb
5. Difficulty with balance and walking
6. A sore tongue or mouth
7. Changes in cognition
8. Anxiety or mood shifts
9. Vision alterations
10. Digestive problems
It's crucial to see a doctor if you think you might have a vitamin B12 deficiency so they can properly diagnose you and recommend the best course of action.
Who is at risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Individuals who follow a strict vegetarian and vegan diet run a high risk of having a B12 deficiency if they don't consume fortified grains or take a vitamin B12 supplement. Due to the procedure's interference with the body's capacity to absorb vitamin B12 from food, individuals who undergo weight-loss surgery are also more likely to have low levels of the vitamin.
Individuals with illnesses like celiac disease or Crohn's disease, which prevent nutrients from being absorbed are also at a high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. The usage of routinely recommended heartburn medications, which decrease stomach acid production (acid is required for vitamin B12 absorption), can also cause deficiency. Because ageing frequently results in a decrease in stomach acid production, vitamin B12 deficiency is more likely to affect elderly persons.
Side Effects of Vitamin B12 Overdose
Vitamin B12 is a necessary vitamin for everyone, and most individuals obtain enough from diet or supplements. However, it’s crucial to understand the negative repercussions of taking too much.
Water-soluble vitamin B-12 is absorbed in the intestines. It is utilised to create DNA and healthy red blood cells after it has been ingested. Unused vitamin B12 is stored in the liver for later use. However, overdosing on Vitamin B12 supplements could result in you taking in more than your body requires, harming your body.
In conclusion, it can be dangerous to overestimate the importance of vitamin B12 for the body. This essential nutrient is crucial for maintaining general health. It is necessary for the creation of healthy red blood cells, promotes the health of the nervous system, and helps in DNA synthesis. Anaemia, neurological disorders, and exhaustion are just a few of the health problems that can result from a vitamin B12 shortage. It's essential to consume foods high in B12 or, if necessary, think about taking supplements to protect your health. Understanding the value of vitamin B12 is essential to prevent vitality and avoiding a variety of health issues. Anyone can be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, therefore, it is recommended to get your levels tested to avoid deficiency of this essential vitamin in your body.