HealthEradicating animal products from your diet? Know the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency

Eradicating animal products from your diet? Know the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency

You will see this deficiency on your face.
You will see this deficiency on your face.
Images source: © Getty Images | Peter Cade

6:16 AM EST, January 14, 2024

Functions of Vitamin B12 and Symptoms of its Deficiency

Vitamin B12 bolsters the nervous system, plays a vital role in red blood cell production and DNA synthesis, and regulates the metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. It also influences memory, concentration, mood, and the quality of hair, skin, nails, and bones.

Groups at High Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

These include:

- Vegans and vegetarians,

- Users of Metformin, Aspirin, Sulfasalazine or proton-pump inhibitors (used for treating reflux),

- People aged 50 years and above,

- Alcohol abusers,

- Those suffering from gastrointestinal diseases,

- Individuals who have undergone stomach or intestinal surgeries,

- Pregnant women, especially given that vitamin B12 deficiency can increase the risk of birth defects in fetuses.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can exhibit symptoms such as lack of energy, problems with concentration and memory, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, movement difficulties, tingling or pricking sensations in the limbs, tinnitus, vision problems, trouble breathing, irregular heartbeat, diarrhea, mood changes, irritability, depression, and oral issues such as tongue inflammation, ulcers, and a persistent burning sensation.

Facial Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Some of the deficiency's signs can be visible on your face, including twitching of the eyelid (or areas near the eye), a yellowing of the whites of the eye, pallor (or yellowing) of the skin, and cracking at the corners of the mouth.

If you recognize any of these symptoms, a medical consultation is strongly advised. A simple blood test can confirm or refute suspicion of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

The standard range for Vitamin B12 lies between 211 and 911 pg/ml. A value below 200 pg/ml indicates a deficiency. Readings between 200 and 400 pg/ml are in the borderline to insufficient range, and only a reading above 400 pg/ml is considered satisfactory.

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