VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY
I AM PUTTING THIS ARTICLE BECAUSE RECENTLY ONE OF MY FRIENDS TESTED 32 DOCTORS WITH VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY IN HIS LAB. THINK ABOUT MANY OF US WHO MIGHT BE HAVING THIS DEFICIENCY.
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT MEANT TO CREATE FEAR AMONGST READERS. THIS IS JUST FOR INFORMATION WHICH I WISH SHOULD BE SHARED. NON VEG CONSUMERS USUALLY DO NOT HAVE THIS PROBLEM UNLESS THEY HAVE PROBLEM OF ABSORPTION.
B12 deficiency is a reduction in vitamin B12 from inadequate dietary intake or impaired absorption
Early and even fairly pronounced deficiency does not always cause distinct or specific symptoms. Common early symptoms are tiredness or a decreased mental work capacity, decreased concentration and decreased memory, irritability and depression. Sometimes it causes aches and pains in the body.
All the above symptoms are often neglected as tiredness or overwork or psychological problems (esp in cases of women) Pronounced deficiency of the vitamin can often lead to problems of neurological origin like tingling and numbness, difficulty in walking (ataxic gait), paralysis.
Sleep disturbances may occur, because B12 may be involved in the regulation of the sleep wake cycle
SOURCES OF B12.
Vitamin B12 is found in foods that come from animals, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products and fortified breakfast cereals. It is also made by yeasts and microorganisms in the intestine.
CAUSES OF DEFICIENCY
Inadequate dietary intake of vitamin B12. As the vitamin B12 occurs naturally only in animal products (eggs, meat, milk); a vegan diet can produce a deficiency unless one uses supplements or eats enriched food. Amongst vegetarian foods, only milk contains vitamin B12.
And I have frequently observed that people usually do not take sufficient amount of milk or even do not consume it at all.
Impaired absorption of B12 occurs in conditions like pernicious anemia wherein the individual is predisposed . Here one will required lifelong replacement treatment of injections of B12.
NOWADAYS DOCTORS ARE SEEING A LOT OF B12 DEFICIENCY IN PATIENTS REASONS FOR WHICH COULD BE
1. BETTER DIAGNOSTIC FACILITIES
2. ONE THEORY PUT FORWARD IS THAT DUE TO PRESENCE OF WATER PURIFIERS IN ALMOST ALL OUR HOMES, WE DO NOT GET CONTAMINATED WATER WHICH CONTAINS BACTERIA WHICH SYNTHESIZES B12 IN INTESTINE.
3. POOR DIETARY HABITS----JUNK FOOD ETC, MAYBE EVEN QUALITY OF MILK (like quality of promoters) IS SUSPECT
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
SERUM VITAMIN B12 LEVEL ESTIMATION CAN BE DONE WHICH PROVIDES CLUE TO THE DEFICIENCY-----THE TEST COSTS AROUND 500-800 Rs
GIVING AN INJECTION COSTING 10-20 Rs AND IMPROVEMENT IN SYMPTOMS IS A LESS COSTLY AND PRACTICAL APPROACH. INJECTIONS ARE OF METHYL COBALAMIN AND ARE AVAILABLE AS BRANDS LIKE NUROKIND, HOSIT, NEUROMET ETC. THESE ARE WATER BASED AND RELATIVELY PAINLESS.
OTHER INJECTIONS LIKE VITCOFOL, ELDERVIT ETC CONTAIN OTHER VITAMINS BESIDES VIT B12. SOME OF THESE ARE OIL BASED AND SOMEWHAT PAINFUL BUT USUALLY MORE EFFECTIVE BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN A COMBINATION OF VITAMINS BESIDES B12.
LIVER STORES VITAMIN B12 AND EFFECT OF INJECTION LASTS FOR 1-2 WEEKS TO 1 MONTH DEPENDING UPON TYPE OF INJECTION AND INDIVIDUAL VARIATION.
ORAL TABLETS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE THOUGH INITIALLY INJECTIONS ARE PREFERRED.