Vitamin B12 deficiency is a condition caused by low levels of cobalamin. Vitamin B12 also known as cobalamin is a nutrient that is required for optimum health. It can be found in most people’s diets if they eat a diversified diet that includes meat products. People who consume a plant-based diet, on the other hand, can only receive vitamin B12 via fortified dietary supplements. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for the creation of red blood cells, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. Anaemia, as well as neurological and mental problems, can result from a vitamin B12 shortage. Older folks, vegans, and people with higher vitamin B12 requirements due to specific health issues are all at risk of vitamin B12 insufficiency.
Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to a variety of dietary, environmental, and genetic factors. According to an analysis published in the journal Gene and Nutrition in 2018, there is a substantial link between Vitamin B12 and 59 B12-related gene variants from 19 genes. Five of these genes were regulators for vitamin B12 transport (FUT2, FUT6, MMACHC, TCN1 and TCN2); three were membrane transporters actively enabling vitamin B12 to cross cell membranes (ABCD4, CUBN, and CD320); three were involved in enzymatic reactions (CBS, MTHFR, and MTRR); one was involved in cell cycle regulation (MS4A3), and some genes have unknown functions. Get your myPreciseDNA kit now to see if you are at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency, we test for the function of FUT2 and FUT6.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms
Unfortunately, the clinical manifestations of a vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to show, and identifying it can be difficult. A B12 deficiency might be confused with a folate deficiency. Low amounts of B12 cause a reduction in folate levels. Correcting low folate levels, on the other hand, may only disguise a B12 shortage and fail to address the underlying problem.
Foods and beverages to limit
Vitamin B12 absorption might be hampered by certain foods and beverages. If you know you are predisposed to the deficit, it is better to limit, if not avoid, these foods.
Folic acid-fortified foods
Folate (vitamin B9) is an important nutrient before and during pregnancy. Women of reproductive age require 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid (synthetic folate) every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Too much folic acid, on the other hand, can hide a vitamin B12 deficiency. According to research, elevated folate levels might exacerbate the anaemia and cognitive impairments associated with a vitamin B12 deficiency. As a result, in people with good overall health, folic acid intake from fortified foods should not exceed 1,000 mcg per day.
Alcohol use has been shown to lower vitamin B12 levels in studies. According to an older study, moderate alcohol consumption reduced vitamin B12 levels by 5% in “healthy, well-nourished, postmenopausal women.” Vitamin B12 test results may be artificially elevated due to alcohol-related liver damage. Vitamin B12 deficiency and anaemia may be treated with supplements in people with alcohol use disorders.
Other Foods that are deficient in vitamin B12
Certain plant-based meals are thought to be good providers of vitamin B12. Some of these foods are barley weed, spirulina, nori and seaweed
Many researchers, however, believe that these meals are insufficient to remedy a vitamin B12 shortage. Vitamin B12 in cyanobacteria like spirulina, for example, is not readily absorbed by the body. While the above foods can be part of a healthy diet, they should not be relied upon as a source of vitamin B12.
What is the best source of Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is found in variable levels in animal products such as meat, fish, and eggs. Particularly, salmon, canned tuna, clams, liver and trout.
Vegans on the other hand must rely on fortified food and supplements because vitamin B12 is not found in plant foods. Breakfast cereals, tofu, fruit juices, vegan milk, and nutritional yeast are examples of foods that are sometimes fortified and may include vitamin B12 in varying amounts.
Supplements for vitamin B12 are present in the form of capsules or liquids that can be taken under the tongue. People who eat a plant-based diet may require vitamin B12 supplements, especially if they are pregnant or breastfeeding. Supplements may also be required for older persons, people with gastrointestinal disorders, and those using specific medications, such as proton pump inhibitors and metformin. Vitamin B12 absorption ranges from 56% of a 1-microgram dose to 0.5% of a 1,000-microgram dose. As a result, if someone eats vitamin B12 infrequently, they will require a larger total dose to obtain an adequate absorption level. Vitamin B12 should be supplemented with 50–100 mcg daily or 2,000 mcg weekly, according to research.
To enhance absorption, people should chew the pills or allow them to melt in their mouths. If a patient has a serious vitamin B12 shortage, a doctor may recommend that they receive injections to improve their levels.
Vitamin B12 injection is injected into a muscle or injected beneath the skin. Dosage is determined by your medical condition and treatment response. When you first begin treatment, injections may be given regularly. Certain medical disorders, such as pernicious anaemia, may need you to continue to receive injections monthly.
Learn more about how our DNA test can help you. It’s considered the most advanced DNA test in Malaysia that we can provide, so we’d like to offer you our premium DNA test. You can take advantage of this offer and reap the benefits of getting a DNA test.