Vitamin B12 deficiency is often overlooked
Vitamin B12 is one of the vitamins that many people lack. A vitamin B12 deficiency can manifest itself, for example, in symptoms such as pale skin, general weakness, easy fatigue and dizziness. Any suspicion of such a deficiency should be clarified by a doctor. Most of the time, the need can be covered by the right diet. For some people, taking supplements can make sense.
Vitamin B12 is essential for life. It is significantly involved in various metabolic processes in the human body, including the breakdown of fatty acids and amino acids. In addition, its central role in the metabolism of the vitamin folic acid makes it important for blood formation. However, many people are not adequately supplied with the vitamin. And often becomes a Vitamin B12 deficiency overlook.
Like the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE) in a current Message explains, the human organism has a certain amount of vitamin B12; namely, it is able to store around two to five milligrams.
Most of the stores are found in the liver (50 to 90 percent) and muscles (around 30 percent). According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE) the daily requirement for adolescents and adults is estimated at 4.0 micrograms, for pregnant and breastfeeding women it is 4.5 and 5.5 micrograms, respectively.
A possible deficiency develops insidiously and is often only noticeable after years of undersupply.
But: “At first glance, a vitamin B12 deficit often eludes the diagnosis, because it is not uncommon for those affected to complain of unspecific complaints such as tiredness, weakness, exhaustion and exhaustion”, is explained in a post on the website explained by Springer Medicine.
Food of animal origin remains the only source
Vitamin B12 is not a single active ingredient; rather, it is based on a number of vitamin-effective substances, the cobalamins, explains the BZfE. All cobalamins are synthesized exclusively by microorganisms, but animals and plants are unable to do so.
Animals that also need the vitamin meet their needs by eating food on which such microorganisms are found.
Although these microorganisms also occur in the human microbiome – the intestinal flora – the absorption of the vitamin does not take place in the large intestine, but in the small intestine. Therefore, our body cannot use the vitamin produced by these bacteria.
As a result, the only source left for humans is food of animal origin. Farm animal meat (especially liver) and fish are good sources, as are eggs, as well as milk and dairy products. Fruits, vegetables and grains are almost free of this vitamin.
Different risk groups
Older people in particular are risk groups for a vitamin B12 deficiency: a study at the Helmholtz Zentrum München found that a quarter of those over 65 years of age are not adequately supplied with vitamin B12.
In the age group of 85 to 93 year olds, over a third had too low vitamin B12 values. Resorption disorders are particularly responsible for this.
However, young people can also be affected. For people who follow a vegan diet and do not supplement vitamin B12, a deficiency is inevitable, according to the cited article.
And people who followed a vegetarian diet, followed a one-sided diet or a very restrictive diet would also have an increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Furthermore, diseases that impair absorption in the gastrointestinal tract and various drugs can lead to an undersupply.
Have blood values checked by a doctor
Vitamin B12 acts as a coenzyme in the human metabolism, which means that it is part of an enzyme that controls reactions in the human body. Among other things, it is involved in blood formation and in the formation of DNA, i.e. our genetic material, and thus in cell growth and cell division.
In the nervous system, B12 helps to regenerate and regenerate the sheaths of the nerve fibers and thus to maintain the functionality of the nervous system.
In addition to the unspecific symptoms described, a vitamin B12 deficit can lead to changes in the blood count and neuropsychiatric changes.
Anyone who belongs to a risk group and wants to be on the safe side should therefore have their own blood values checked by the doctor. Unspecific, long-term intake of high-dose vitamin B12 food supplements is not advisable without a medical reason. (ad)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.