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When we are sick, we so often ignore the underlying causes of the sickness, all we do is treat the symptoms. This way of treatment at the most suppresses your symptoms for some time but fails to cure it. Vitamin deficiencies are one such problem. We are so caught up with life, that we ignore the signals or signs our body give us. So if we suffer from a pain in the legs, we take a pain killer but forget about the fact that we need to cater to our vitamin deficiencies.
So what is the importance of vitamin B12 deficiency and what are the repercussions of this particular deficiency? That’s what we are going to discuss in this article.
The Importance of Vitamin B12
The importance of vitamin B12 cannot be stressed enough. It not only makes healthy DNA, nerve and blood cells but is also very essential for a healthy immune system and healthy brain. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal based products like dairy, shellfish, eggs, meat and so on.
Vegetarians are more likely to suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. Besides vegetarians, the other people who are likely to suffer from vitamin B12 deficiencies are people with celiac disease, digestion problems or those over 50 years old. So what are the signs and symptoms of suffering from vitamin B12 deficiencies?
Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The symptoms are rather mild at first and you tend to ignore the small symptoms like forgetfulness and tiredness, and put it down as more candles on your cake. But that is not the only reason that you have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Check out the symptoms which you need to be more aware of.
If lately, you have been falling asleep in the afternoons, despite the fact that you have had a good night’s sleep, you need to wake up to the fact, that there must be something wrong with your health and you need to go and check with your doctor about the underlying cause.
The reason you suffer from fatigue when you are deficient in vitamin B12 is because your body utilizes this very vitamin to make red blood cells, which on the other hand helps carry the oxygen to your cells. So, if your cells are deprived of the requisite oxygen you are much likely to feel tired and listless.
But here, another important thing which you need to be aware of, is that chronic tiredness can have other implications. So get to the bottom of things, and get that test done to find out the real reason behind your fatigue.
Weakness and sluggishness
Your body does not seem to be as sprightly as before. You feel slow and run down. Your muscles feel weak. That heavy grocery bag, which you used to carry with so much abandon before, seems like a ton of bricks now.
If all these symptoms sound similar, you must be suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Again, you need to do the right investigations to find out the reason.
Pins and needles sensation
That does sound weird, but it is true, some people do feel an electric current running through the body or sudden bouts of pins and needles.
These strange sensations are actually because of nerve damage, which is caused because of the lack of enough oxygen in the cells.
Wooly-headedness or forgetfulness
You start to forget both the consequential and inconsequential details. For example, you enter the kitchen and forgot why you came to the kitchen in the first place.
Or you try in vain to find your glasses and find that they are perched pretty on your head. Though it may all seem to lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s, in all actuality it may actually be a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Your complexion becomes shallow
You may suddenly notice that your once rosy complexion has suddenly turned yellowish. What could be the reason? Well, it is one more of the vitamin B12 symptoms.
When you are deficient in this particular vitamin, the red blood cells that you have are easily broken. This causes a release of the bilirubin, which changes your complexion from rosy-hued to yellow.
The texture of your tongue changes
People lose the tiny red bumps on their tongue, known as papillae, when they are deficient in vitamin B12.This makes them lose the sense of taste, as most of the papillae there contain taste buds. Losing the sense of taste can cause you to even lose weight.
Moody and irritable
When you are deficient in an essential vitamin like B12, your emotions tend to run riot. You may feel weepy and depressed, just not up to facing the day with your usual spunk.
This is because two brain chemicals, dopamine and serotonin, get synthesized by vitamin B12, and a deficiency will fail to regulate mood.
If you are suffering from blurry vision, sensitivity to light or double vision, chances are that you may be deficient in vitamin B12.
The reason you have vision problems is that the lack of B12 can affect the optic nerve or block the blood vessels in the retina.
You suffer from pernicious anemia
Vitamin B12 deficiency caused anemia, of which pernicious anemia is a type of disease, in which the required number of red blood cells are not present due to a lack of vitamin B12.
Treatment for Vitamin B12 Deficiency
If you have pernicious anemia or a problem with B12 absorption, you’ll need to replace vitamin B12 by injection initially and then continue with injections, oral medicines, or nasal spray.
If you do not eat animal products, you can make changes in your diet plan and include vitamin B12-fortified grains or supplementations.
If you fall in the elderly bracket then you need to supplement daily with a multivitamin that contains B12.
Prevent Deficiency Problems
Most people can prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency by taking care of their diet like eating an adequate amount of meat, poultry, dairy products, seafood, and eggs.
If you do not consume adequate amount of animal products, consult your doctor about supplementation.
A well balanced diet can stave off any nutritional imbalances, because the food is considered as the best medicine. That is why we think that the following recipes can provide you with the right nourishment and rule out any deficiencies whatsoever, provided of course you do not suffer from any chronic health problems.
Recipes Chock-a-block with Vitamin B12 and other Important Minerals
You already know the foods which are rich in vitamin B12, now it is time to make them part of your daily lives. These recipes are easy to cook and the ingredients are super easy to procure. Just flatter your taste buds in these four delicious ways.
1. Spicy Egg Chaat
Eggs are a very good source of high-quality protein. Besides being a good quality of protein, it is also a terrific source of selenium, zinc, iron copper, vitamin D, B6, and of course B12. But remember one thing, you need to eat the yolk as well. Egg yolks contain vitamins A, D, E and K along with omega-3 fats.
- 3 boiled eggs
- 1 Tbsp. tomato ketchup
- 1 tsp. tomato chili sauce
- 3 tsp. tamarind extract
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. roasted cumin
- Salt to taste
- 1 green chilly
- 1 spring onion, chopped finely
- 2-3 Tbsp. boondi
- In a bowl, blend tomato ketchup, tomato chili sauce, tamarind extract, lemon juice, roasted cumin, green chili, and salt
- In a plate, divide the boiled egg into two and spread the chutney over the boiled egg.
- Sprinkle some chopped spring onion, some garam masala, and boondi over the eggs. Serve it right away.
2. Pineapple Cooler
This is a vitamin B12 enriched meal. Besides that, it also provides several other nutrients found in dairy foods, like calcium, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium. Also, it is packed with probiotics, which help your gut bacteria work at an optimum level. The raita also contains pineapple, which is a storehouse of huge health benefits due to it being a source of wonderful nutrients; vitamins like potassium, copper, calcium, manganese, magnesium, thiamine, vitamin C, beta-carotene, B6, and folate; and a rich source of fiber.
This recipe is a must have during the summers.
- 25 gram of pineapple
- 60 gram of hung curd
- 1 green chili chopped
- 2 sprigs of mint leaves
- Rock salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 2 gram of black pepper powder
- Cut the pineapple into 2″ cubes.
- Put them on a skewer and cook in a tandoor till they become soft, but not mushy.
- Whisk the yogurt briskly in a bowl till it is smooth and add cooled and chopped pineapple, keep aside a little bit for garnish.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
- Top it off with chopped pineapple and a mint sprig.
3. Baked Creamy Eggs
Since eggs are full of vitamin B12 and other nutrients, we simply cannot think of a more delicious and healthy recipe. The fact that you add spinach to this recipe makes it an absolute powerhouse of nutrients. Low in fat and even lower in cholesterol, spinach is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. In other words, it’s full of the healthiest things imaginable.
- 8 eggs
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup of spinach, chopped
- Parsley for garnishing
- Basil leaves for garnishing
- 2 Tbsp. of butter
- Crack the eggs add salt and pepper to it.
- Pour some cream into it and whisk it well.
- In a pan, heat the butter and add the finely chopped onions into it.
- Then add the spinach, cherry tomato, and top it off with basil leaves.
- Add the required amount of salt and pepper.
- Take a mold and put the vegetable mix in it. Then add the whisked egg mixture into the mold.
- Bake them in the oven for at least 5-6 minutes at 170-180 degrees.
- Top it off well with some parsley and basil leaves, and serve hot.
4. Crab Curry
Crab meat is full of essential fats, nutrients, and minerals that the human body requires to function normally. Right from selenium to omega-3 fatty acids, and protein to vitamin B12, crab meat is indeed very nutritious.
- 6 crabs
- 1 teaspoon scraped coconut
- 2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 cup grated coconut
- 1/2 cup cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 7-8 curry leaves
- 3 dry red chillis
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tomatoes
- 4 green chili
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- Start by cleaning the crab and cutting it into pieces. In a non-stick pan, cook the crab with half a teaspoon of red chili powder, one teaspoon of coriander powder, and one-fourth teaspoon of turmeric powder, salt, and water.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan and add the grated coconut, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, curry leaves, dry red chili, remaining coriander powder and turmeric powder and sauté until fragrant. Grind this mixture to a coarse paste.
- Heat the remaining oil in a pan. Add the sliced onion, tomato and green chili, sauté well.
- Add the ginger and garlic paste and sauté again for a good two minutes. Combine the ground mixture and sauté for a minute or so. Now add the cooked crab pieces with one cup of water and bring to a boil.
- When the water boils and the gravy thickens considerably, remove it from the flame. Serve it hot with rice.
Do not ignore vitamin B12 deficiencies, get yourself checked and then follow up with a treatment plan. After all, your health is in your hands, so go ahead make a positive impact on your health and reap the benefits!