What are the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency? (Released in 2018)

Q. What are the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency if left untreated?

A. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause neurological and psychiatric problems that “can progress if left untreated and can lead to irreversible damage.” Donald Hensrud, Director of the Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program. Fortunately, it can be remedied fairly easily with vitamins and injections.

Vitamin B12 is required for proper erythropoiesis, neural function, and DNA synthesis. It is naturally found in fish, meat, eggs and dairy products, as well as fortified breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast products.

Strict vegans who avoid animal foods can develop B12 deficiency over time if they do not take supplements. However, two-thirds of cases occur in the elderly. Older people are sensitive because they may not be able to absorb sufficient amounts of B12 from food, but they are not regularly tested. Henthrud said.

The consequences of B12 deficiency can cause a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Other symptoms include difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and pain in the mouth and tongue.

B12 deficiency can also cause a form of anemia called megaloblastic anemia. This can also result from a deficiency of another B vitamin, folic acid. If a blood test detects anemia, you should check the levels of both vitamins.

However, in the absence of anemia, neurological symptoms may occur. Early treatment is important to avoid potentially irreversible damage.

Elderly people have B12 deficiency because hydrochloric acid is secreted into the stomach and it is difficult to absorb B12.

Also, people with gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease are vulnerable to B12 deficiency. People who have had weight loss or other gastrointestinal surgery; people who are using certain acid reflux medications or diabetes medications metformin. People with pernicious anemia, which affects up to 2 percent of the elderly, are also susceptible.

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