Vitamin B12 deficiency: Three symptoms that can lead to nerve damage – what to look for

Doctor lists symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

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If you have anaemia caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency, you may have other symptoms, such as a pale yellow tinge on your tongue, a decline in your mental ability such as memory and mouth ulcers. Now, a recent study has found that vitamin B12 deficiency can also have an impact on nerve health.

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is essential for nerve tissue health, brain function, and the production of red blood cells.

However, many people are not getting enough of this nutrient.

A survey, by Heal Health and Hansa Research, has revealed that vitamin B12 deficiency is extremely common worldwide.

The Procter and Gamble Health supported paper found that deficiency of B12 vitamins can lead to nerve damage, but more than over 60 percent of people are not aware of this issue and ignore early signs of poor nerve health that include dizziness, muscle weakness and feeling of pins in limbs, according to the study.

Experts warned that the nerve damage caused by Vitamin B12 deficiency may become permanently debilitating.

“Besides other factors, people with Vitamin-B deficiencies have a higher probability for nerve impairments. Special nutritional habits or malnutrition can lead to deficiencies in certain essential vitamins, like the neurotropic-B vitamins, which play a very important role in keeping your nerves healthy and protected,” said doctor Satish Khadilkar, Dean and HOD Neurology at Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences.

Doctor Khadilkar continued: “Like most vitamins, B12 can’t be made by the body. Instead, it must be garnered from food and supplements. Therein lies the problem, as while some people don’t consume enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs, others can’t absorb enough, no matter how much they take in. As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency is found to be relatively common, especially among older people.”

The survey was conducted towards gauging the awareness levels and perceptions about nerve health and to understand if people can identify nerve related discomforts.

Results revealed limited knowledge amongst the masses about nerve health. While people had experienced symptoms related to nerve damage, only 50 percent related it to nerve health.

Doctor Mangesh Tiwaskar, Honorary General Secretary at the Association of Physicians explained the study showed that: “Vitamin B12 deficiency may be one of the main reasons leading to nerve problems. Good nutrition is often the first line of defence to avoid many diseases, including nerve health. The food you eat can improve your nervous system’s functioning.

“Knowing which nutrients nourish your nervous system can help you lead a healthier life and reduce your chances of nerve-related problems.”

Due to a lack of information, people do not usually select the perfect diet to improve vitamin B12 circulation. If people’s diets continue to serve a lack of B12, the nerve damage may become permanently debilitating, according to the study.

Animal liver and kidneys, especially from lamb, veal and beef, are very high in vitamin B12. 100-gram serving of lamb, beef, or veal liver can provide up to 3,500 percent of the daily value for vitamin B12, while the same serving of kidneys provides up to 3,000 percent of the daily value.

Fish is also a super nutritious food as it is a great source of nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals. Sardines, Tuna, Salmon and Trout contain high concentrations of vitamin B12. Fish is also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart. Fish oil as a supplement is also available from most health food shops.

Milk and dairy products such yogurt and cheese are great sources of protein and several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12.

One cup of whole milk contains about 46 percent of the DV for vitamin B12 and one large slice of Swiss cheese can provide about 28 percent of the daily value.

Another recent study has shown that eating whole eggs instead of just their whites is the best way to gain B12 as egg yolks contain higher levels of vitamin B12 than egg whites.

Furthermore, researchers say vitamin B12 in egg yolks is easier to absorb by the body.

Vegetarians and vegans can go for cereals and non-dairy milk fortified with vitamin B12.

Fortified nutritional yeast is another good option to increase your vitamin B12 intake in order to lower the chance of nerve damage.

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