Vitamin B12 is responsible for much in the body and never is that more
apparent than when you become B12 deficient. It is vitally important in the process of DNA synthesis and even has a role in neurological function. In order for the body to process B12 properly, you need to have several organs functioning in perfect harmony including the pancreas, stomach, small intestine and intrinsic factor.
In fact, the most common result of such a deficiency is a form of anemia that is specifically caused by a lack of B12. The number of red blood cells in the body drop because of the deficient B12 levels.
B12 deficiency can be caused by several things including:
- A lack of meat, eggs and dairy in the diet
- Crohn’s Disease
- An inability to absorb nutrients properly
- Tape worm
- A lack of intrinsic factor
While a vitamin deficiency does not sound all that serious, it really can be. The signs and symptoms along can be cause for alarm. Some common signs of this problem include:
- Numbness of the extremities
- Sore mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Cessation of menstruation
- Memory loss
- Behavioral changes
- Enlarged mucus membranes
Yes, those are a lot of signs and symptoms. If you have a combination of the above, you should really see your doctor right away. Studies have shown that B12 deficiency can even cause nerve damage.
It can be a scary thought to one day learn that you are seriously lacking this vitamin to the point where it is adversely affecting your health. If it turns out that you are suffering from anemia caused by a lack of B12, you will most likely be treated with B12 injections and then later on weaned off of these shots to be replaced by a balance diet. If, however, you have something called pernicious anemia, you will more than likely need B12 injections for the rest of your life.
A lack of vitamin B12 can reek havoc on your body, not to mention your mind. However, with an acute awareness of your own body and proper treatment, you should be just fine.