Vitamin B12 is an extremely vital nutrient which regulates body function, from the brain to the bones. However, it’s one vitamin which can be easily missed out on. Statistics also suggest that Vitamin B12 is one of the most common forms of deficiencies across the world, with over 15% people deficient in Vitamin B12 levels, and a whopping 40% + borderline.
What role does Vitamin B12 play ?
Vitamin B12 is a core nutrient which supports the body’s base level function, keeping the blood and nerve cells healthy and facilitating the production of DNA. Now, since our bodies don’t naturally produce Vitamin B12, it’s only possible to get it through certain foods, some of which are found in animal produce and seafood.
Thus, since it’s not naturally produced, it can become fairly easy for an individual , especially someone with a deficient diet to miss out on optimum Vitamin B12 levels, and incredibly easy for the deficiency to creep in. The benefits of this essential vitamin can be easily overlooked, until the levels get too low and be missed out in routine blood work as well. When Vitamin B12 levels get deficient, the body’s vital functioning can go for a toss, and over time, it can show up in some ways.
People who are at the most risk for a Vitamin B12 deficiency
With Vitamin B12, the best way to take in ample amounts is through natural sources like seafood, eggs, poultry and some forms of dairy, and had frequently (since the body doesn’t store Vitamin B12 for longer times). Thus, while few plant-based sources, veggies, fruits and legumes have Vitamin B12, vegetarians and vegans can be at a higher risk than non-vegetarians of developing this deficiency.
Another easy factor for the deficiency to creep in can be gut trouble. Chronic inflammation in the gut, and other digestive troubles, which are seemingly more common in women than men can limit the absorption of the powerful nutrient, and give rise to issues. Apart from this, it is also said that elderly population, diabetics using metformin, surgical complications or depending on long-use antacids can also be at risk for flare-ups and chronic symptoms.
What’s also confusing about the signs of a Vitamin B12 deficiency is that the early signs and symptoms can be very common with routine signs of stress, or low energy. The symptoms of a rising deficiency can also take a turn for the worse, become concerning and severe in less than six months after they stem up, if not treated. Thus, while it’s very important to be have a nutrient-rich diet, it’s also essential to notice the early warning signs of a deficiency, and take action accordingly.
Changes in the texture of the tongue
Looking for one of the most telltale signs of low Vitamin B12 levels? Take a look at how your tongue feels. If you are deficient in Vitamin B12 levels, you could lose out on papillae, which are the tiny taste bud bumps present on the surface of the tongue. If this happens, you are bound to experience a sore tongue, experience a change in your sense of taste or feel different telling tastes apart (spices may not feel spicy enough).
With an acute deficiency, the tongue can also feel swollen, inflamed. Experiencing other oral symptoms, such as mouth ulcers, prickly sensations or burning feelings in the mouth could also occur.
Feeling prickly, pins and needles-like sensations
One important function Vitamin B12 plays is controlling nerve function and facilitating production of RBCs. When you lack Vitamin B12 levels, you could experience a deterioration in the nerve cells, and be prone to nervous issues. As a result, a common symptom which could be experienced is a pins-and-needles-like painful sensation in the hands, legs and extremities of the body. The important nerves spreading out in the spinal cord can also go for a toss, and you may experience dizziness, wobbly, fatigue-like sensations more frequently, since the body’s sense of balance and coordination is at risk.
Trouble remembering things and unusual memory loss
A symptom of rising Vitamin B12 deficiency, which can be easily confused with mental ailments is patchy memory and forgetfulness. Since Vitamin B12 levels control nerve function, a deficiency could directly cause problems to brain health and functioning. Any damage or problems in the nerves present in the brain could cause problems like memory loss, confusion, disorientation or make it difficult for an individual to remember things well. It is also said that for people who have a severe deficiency, the symptoms could mimic dementia symptoms in cases and cause panic.
Feeling incredibly anxious, experience low mood problems
A lot of things can mess with our mental health and how we feel, on an everyday basis, but one of the most common factors could be a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Extremely low levels of Vitamin B12 levels can disturb mental balance, stem mood irritability, or eventually lead to depression or anxiety. It is said that Vitamin B12 levels regulate the production of important neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin. Thus, if you experience stress without related causes, it’s best to get yourself checked.
Elevated heart rate and breathing difficulties
If you are experiencing a deficiency, you might experience problems with your heart rate. When there is a deficiency, the heart has a harder time working, and has to beat faster to make up for the lost RBC levels. This response is the body’s way of trying to ensure that enough oxygen circulates through all of the body’s systems and reaches all the organs. As a result, you’ll also be at the risk of experiencing breathing difficulties.
5 amazing health benefits of sweet potato
The sweet potato (Ipomoea cantatas) is nutritious and delicious root vegetables. Sweet potatoes when cooked, it results in mild, starchy and sweet flavour when baked or boiled, it becomes soft and creamy and when it is fried or roasted at high heat, it becomes crisp and caramelized. Sweet potatoes are packed with many medicinal benefits. Sweet potatoes have cancer-fighting properties; it supports healthy vision while it enhances brain function.
Sweet potatoes can also help manage diabetes
The rich fiber and magnesium in sweet potato are beneficial for diabetes management because they can lower blood sugar levels. Around 10-15% of the fiber in sweet potato has soluble fibres such as pectin, it is effective in reducing food consumption and spikes in blood sugar. This is because it helps in promoting insulin sensitivity and then regulating the amount of sugar in the blood.
Sweet potatoes can help manage stress levels
Sweet potatoes are rich in magnesium. One of the most important advantages of magnesium is that it helps to reduce stress and anxiety. A study found that Magnesium can reduce insomnia in older individuals. Thus, sweet potatoes are one of the important foods to be included in our diet. Sweet potatoes can replenish the body’s magnesium levels and help lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety-related behaviours and insomnia in individuals.
Sweet potatoes can help prevent cancer
Sweet potatoes are packed with carotenoids such as beta-carotene, which plays a significant role in protecting men from becoming afflicted with prostate cancer. In addition, sweet potatoes have also been shown of limiting the growth of breast, gastric, colorectal cancers. Thus you should have sweet potatoes often.
Sweet potatoes can help improve hair and skin
The presence of Vitamin A, C, and E helps in the promotion of proper skin and hair health. Eating sweet potatoes will be enough to glow your skin and hence you will not need to spend huge money on effective products to make your skin glow. The vitamins in sweet potatoes are useful in repairing skin that is damaged due to exposure to UV light. The vitamins also help to slow down the cell ageing process in the skin and help to retain a youthful look for longer.
Sweet potatoes can help in weight management
As sweet potatoes are rich in fermentable fibres, they can help in reducing the overall weight of an individual. So, this is another reason to include sweet potatoes in your diet. It will result in an increase in fiber intake, which will, in turn, lead to lower body weight.
Top 5 vegan sources of omega-3 fats
Omega-3s have a positive impact on health when consumed in small quantities – 1.1 gram for women in a day and 1.6 grams for men – can be obtained easily if one enjoys fish very frequently. However, that does not mean vegetarians and vegan sets of people must be deprived of the omega-3s.
1. Walnuts: Nuts are some of the healthiest foods there are and nutritionists for long have recommended them as a healthy snack when hunger pangs strike between meals. Among nuts, walnuts are a rich source of omega-3s. In just one ounce, walnuts give you 2.7 grams of omega-3s and additionally help lower blood pressure, improve heart health and promote weight loss as well.
2. Kidney beans: Kidney beans or rajma are a versatile food that can be used in Indian curries or continental pies, and what makes them even better is the plant-based protein and omega-3 content. Although they offer only 10 per cent of your daily omega-3 requirement, kidney beans are a rich source of iron, folate, and fibre as well – making them ideal for all especially pregnant women.
3. Canola oil: And if you are wondering whether or not there is a variety of cooking oil with loads of omega-3s, we recommend canola oil. With 1.28 grams of omega-3s in just a tablespoon, this one is a must-have for all because of its nutrient profile. Canola oil is also a rich source of vitamin E, K content, and is low in saturated fats as well.
4. Flaxseeds: Weight watchers rely on flaxseeds a great deal owing to their healthy fats and fibre content – and turns out that this food with its nutty flavour delivers more omega-3s than any other edible on earth. In just one tablespoon, it delivers twice as many omega-3s as you need in a day. When consumed in oil form, one tablespoon can deliver seven times the recommended quantity. Additionally, flaxseeds are a rich source of magnesium, manganese, and vitamin A.
5. Chia seeds: Weight watchers often rely on chia seeds to shed stubborn fat. However, little do they realise how one ounce of chia seeds can load them with 5 grams of omega-3s. Also a rich source of fibre and protein, chia seeds are a vegan source of calcium as well.
Winter diet: Here’s why you should eat Vitamin B6 rich foods
Winter is here and so one should be prepared with the precautions to fight the health-related issues it brings. Experts advice to eat food items that are rich in vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine.
Vitamin B6 plays a key role in treating several conditions – it helps in mood regulation and may reduce symptoms of depression. It also helps the body break down and use proteins efficiently.
Here is the list of foods that are super rich in Vitamin B6. Take a look.
3. Chicken liver
7. Green peas
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