Dubbed the “energy vitamin,” it promotes healthy nerve function, plays a major role in the production of DNA, and helps to keep your body filled with the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body.
However, this critical vitamin is only available in food and supplements. Meats, dairy, and fortified grains are among the best surces, so, if you're vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free, you may be unknowingly upping your risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
One of the early vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms includes tiredness. That's because, when your supply of B12 runs low, your body isn’t able to produce the red blood cells needed to deliver oxygen throughout your body. The result? Anemia.
This can cause you to feel unusually weak and run-down. Trouble is, tiredness is such a vague, general symptom that could easily be attributed to other causes (stress, lack of sleep). If the fatigue keeps getting worse and you can’t pinpoint an obvious cause, visit your doctor.
Running from your brain and along your spinal cord all the way to your hands and feet, there's a long nerve tract called the posterior tract, which is coated in a fatty white substance known as myelin. Myelin not only insulates and protects the nerves, but it also speeds up the nerve impulses, making it possible for your hands and feet to sense.
Thing is, you need B12 in order to produce myelin. So, when you run low on this essential vitamin, your myelin breaks down and nerve impulses can’t travel as fast. The result? Tingling sensations in your hands and feet
Unless you’re wearing sky-high stiletto shoes, falling or teetering around is definitely not normal. If you often lose your balance, make an appointment for a blood test. A breakdown of myelin in your posterior tract can cause you to lose your sense of touch, it can also affect your proprioception, or your sense of where you are in space. Proprioception is key for your balance.
Sure, occasionally misplacing your phone or blanking on a co-worker’s name is no big deal, but if you find you’re increasingly off your game, take it seriously and get yourself tested. If you don't, your vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms can mimic dementia in just a year’s time.
That protective white substance known as myelin coats the nerve cells in your brain, which can leave you feeling more forgetful than usual if it deteriorates.
Feeling unusually down lately? If there are no obvious reasons why (think: bad breakup, fewer daylight hours, family drama) then low B12 levels may be to blame. One thought as to why this occurs is that B12 plays a key role in brain function and myelin production - so your body might be needing more Vitamin B12.
NB: Be attentive to your body, it will help you identify any symptoms early thus preventing major illnesses.