Vitamin B12 deficiency is the world’s most occurring deficiency. This fact has raised a lot of speculation as to what is B12, what does it do, what are the symptoms, how to administer it, etc. This article sums up basically everything you need to know about Vitamin B12.
What does vitamin B12 do exactly?
B12, when found in abundance in a body, carries out 100 functions. Some of which are listed below:
- It helps in forming red blood cells
- It plays a role in DNA/RNA synthesis
- It helps in the synthesis of methionine and hemoglobin
- It facilitates metabolic conversion of both – protein and fats
- It carries out the functions of a neurotransmitter and helps with production of hormones
- It converts amino acids into creatine
- It produces myelin sheath to cover nerve cells.
- It plays a significant role during pregnancy in fetal development
What are the signs and symptoms?
Signs and symptoms that suggest you might be suffering from B12 deficiency vary large and wide. They can include:
- chronic fatigue
- muscle aches
- joint pain
- trouble exercising
- poor memory
- inability to concentrate
- cognitive problems
- mood changes
- signs of nervousness like palpitations
- poor dental health (bleeding gums and mouth sores among other things)
- Shortness of breath and feeling dizzy
- Poor appetite
- digestive problems (constipation, nausea, diarrhea or cramping)
- cardiovascular complications
How to know for sure you have the deficiency?
It is best to be sure that you actually have this deficiency before seeing a doctor. The best way to be sure is by getting you Vitamin B12 levels tested with a blood serum test. If the reading gives values below approximately 170–250 picogram per milliliter in adults, it means you are deficient. Even then remember that it’s common for blood tests to reveal inaccurate information.
How is it administered?
If you are deficient, don’t worry, it is not that hard to get your Vitamin B12 levels back up. The shots are one way to go about it. They are normally available by prescription only and can be administered into a patient’s muscle tissue about once every month. Dosage varies depending on age and medical history so it is recommended you don’t follow someone else’s prescription.
What are the benefits of B12 injections?
There are many benefits to these injections for the people who are okay with the needles. These include:
- a chance to overcome depression
- reduces chances of cognitive decline as well
- chances to get dementia reduces too
- it helps in lowering the fatigue
- it can improve metabolism
- it protects the heart
- it can improve sperm count
The biggest drawback has to be that even if someone receives high doses of vitamin B12, it doesn’t really mean that his or her body will properly absorb and use the whole dose to help the person get better. This is mainly because of utilization of vitamin B12, especially when it is from supplements, heavily relates and depends on other metabolic co-factors and acids levels present in the body.
Another risk that people face is that Vitamin B12 has the potential to interact with certain medications and leave them with unwanted results. Such medications including diabetic prescriptions, metformin, proton pump inhibitors, antagonists and even antibiotics.
Moreover, if a person’s intake is high, then there might be a chance that it may also interfere with other vitamins levels, intrude in enzymatic activities and mess with minerals levels. This is always considered as a potential problem and should be taken seriously.