What Happens When Your Vitamin B12 Levels Are Low?

What Happens When Your Vitamin B12 Levels Are Low?

Food is a vital part of your life because you need the nutrients you get from it to live. Food fuels your cells, gives you energy, and helps numerous functions throughout your body. Among the nutrients we take in are minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, and vitamins. We need them all, but we also want to be sure not to get too much or too little of any of them.

Vitamin deficiencies aren’t uncommon. Up to 15% of people struggle with a lack of B12 in their diet. Several factors can lead to this deficiency, and not correcting it can make health problems worse over time. 

If you live in the Beverly Hills, California, area and you’re struggling with a vitamin deficiency or other health problems, Dr. Shawn Veiseh and his dedicated staff at Shawn Veiseh, M.D. are here to help.

Let’s look at the importance of vitamins to your health, the effects of a B12 deficiency, and how a deficiency can be prevented and treated.

The importance of vitamins to your health

Vitamins are a form of micronutrient that help with a variety of functions in your body, such as boosting your immune system, helping prevent conditions like cancer, strengthening your teeth and bones, helping with brain and nervous system function, and metabolizing other nutrients. 

There are 13 essential vitamins your body needs that break down into fat-soluble or water-soluble nutrients. Vitamin B12 is a form of water-soluble nutrient that helps with nerve tissue health, producing red blood cells, and aiding brain function.

The effects of a vitamin B12 deficiency

This deficiency is often either the result of not eating enough foods with B12 (beef, pork, ham, poultry, fish, eggs, nutritional yeast) or an inability to absorb the vitamin from these or other foods. A lack of this nutrient can also be caused by digestive diseases (celiac disease, Crohn’s disease), pernicious anemia, gastritis, and alcohol abuse. 

A B12 deficiency can cause symptoms such as:

Not treating this deficiency can lead to:

Prevention and treatment for a B12 deficiency

Getting more vitamin B12 in your diet is the most important priority, and that can be accomplished by dietary changes, supplements, and treatments. Aside from the foods listed above, you can also get B12 from dairy products and fortified foods (foods with added vitamins and minerals). 

Supplements are available in the form of pills and nasal sprays, and you can get injections under your skin. Avoiding alcohol can help you better absorb B12, as extended abuse can make absorption more difficult as well as damage your digestive system.

Vitamins are important for good health, and B12 is important to many bodily functions. If you’re struggling with deficiencies with this or other nutrients, make an appointment with Dr. Veiseh today to get your health under control. Call our office or schedule a visit online.

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