Health & Fitness

Running low on Vitamin B12? Rev up!

It’s the Vitamin B 12 playing bummer, if you are experiencing bouts of fatigue and listlessness. Cue into your booster guide to prop up

It's the Vitamin B 12 playing bummer, if you are experiencing bouts of fatigue and listlessness. Cue into your booster guide to prop up

It is not just the heat that could be sapping you of energy. It could be that sneaky, silent B 12, playing bummer by walking away from your body. While the non-vegetarians have always toasted their animal-kingdom intake to brag of higher levels of Vitamin B 12 as opposed to the vegetarian folks, the number of vegetarians, non-vegetarians, vegans…having low levels of B 12 is increasing by the day. Wondering why? Here is your peep into the B 12 guide:

The decoder

“The first sign of vitamin B12 deficiency may appear on your skin, bringing in symptoms including hyperpigmentation, loss of collagen — that affects nails and hair follicles, vitiligo — the loss of skin colour in patches,” says dermatologist Dr Madhuri Agarwal, founder and medical director- Yavana Aesthetics Clinic, Mumbai. The water-soluble vitamin is known to play a vital role in the functioning of the central nervous system, formation of red blood cells and hence in the formation of blood, in cellular metabolism, nerve function and in the DNA synthesis.

While foods from the animal kingdom come strapped with B 12, the plant kingdom does not offer B 12-rich foods. Yet the discrepancy can arise in the B 12 levels even if you are including eggs and meats into your daily intake. Since B 12 isn’t produced in our bodies, it needs to be absorbed from our intake. The average adult requires 2.4 micrograms daily.

Sometimes, the absorption on B 12 does not take place due to pre-existing conditions in our bodies. For instance, people who have undergone weight-loss surgery usually stand with an impaired body ability to absorb B 12 from food effectively. Should we test our kids (0-18 years) for Vitamin B 12 as well? “It is imperative to test kids for the deficiency, especially if you note any tell-tale signs in terms of weak muscles, numbness, trouble while walking, nausea, weight loss, irritability, and fatigue. These are common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency observed in children,” says Dr Mohit Garg, consultant and head, accident & emergency, Global Hospitals, Parel, Mumbai. “A diet lacking vitamin B12 foods such as fish, eggs, and dairy; sometimes even gastritis, digestive problems such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease can affect the digestive system leading to vitamin B12 deficiency.”

Shilpi Madan for

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