Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms and treatment

Cyanocobalamin provides normal blood formation, participates in protein metabolism, enzymatic reactions, is a catalyst for the conversion of amino acids, prevents fatty liver, increases oxygen consumption at the cellular level.

With a lack of vitamin B12, symptoms in adults and in children can manifest as a decrease in immunity. For example, AIDS patients always have low B12 levels, which is what provokes and accelerates the development of the disease.

If we take a deeper look at the regulation of hematopoietic function, it is necessary to highlight the participation of B12 in the synthesis of purine and pyrimidine bases, as well as in the processing of nucleic acids. In addition, he is involved in the formation of red blood cells.

Another important function of cyanocobalamin is the effect on the nervous system. The substance is auxiliary in the formation of the myelin sheath of the nerve. In addition, it is involved in the conversion of carotene to retinol.

A small amount of cyanocobalamin is produced by intestinal microflora. This happens in the large intestine, but the body cannot receive the substance, since it is not able to absorb through the walls of the intestine. In the process of absorption of this vitamin involved mucoprotein, which is produced by the gastric glands. Thus, the body needs to receive vitamin B12 with food, this process is called Castle’s external factor. And the effect of the fundus of the stomach on the “food” cyanocobalamin is called Castle’s internal factor.

In nature, there is no vitamin that, when ingested, does not affect humans. B12 is required by every woman. The body can independently synthesize this component, but only in small quantities. For the full work of all organs, an additive in the form of food or medicine is required.

Important! The daily rate of B12 for a woman increases during pregnancy.

This is explained by the fact that this component is required for the proper course of various chemical reactions. The benefits of vitamin B12 for women are as follows:

  1. Creating DNA links. With insufficient concentration of this compound, the process of information transfer between chromosomes suffers.
  2. The component is involved in brain development. Without B12, cells will not be able to divide, which will provoke a violation of all body systems.
  3. To stimulate the synthesis of red blood cells that are involved in the transport of oxygen. With impaired blood circulation, tissues do not receive enough energy.
  4. B12 protects liver cells from toxic substances. These include drug components, alcohol, drugs, and viruses. It also reduces the risk of biliary calculi.
  5. To protect the walls of vascular tissues, reduce the likelihood of clogging.
  6. B12 helps to normalize the rhythm of the heart, and also strengthens muscle tissue.
  7. The component stimulates the regeneration of bone marrow cells. The compound helps form osteoblasts. For women during menopause, B12 reduces the risk of fractures. This is explained by the fact that an insufficient number of osteoblasts provokes the formation of cavities in the bones.
  8. Vitamin A helps women to fight diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
  9. To eliminate allergy symptoms.
  10. The component enhances the protection of the mucous membranes.
  11. Helps fight wrinkles, pallor and dry skin. Prevents the appearance of age spots.

The daily norm of vitamin b12 for women is determined by age, as well as the individual characteristics of the body. In the period up to 13 years, the recommended dosage is not more than 2,2 mcg. At the age of 15 years, the need for B12 increases to 2,4 mcg daily. The daily dosage after reaching the age of twenty-five reaches 2,6 mcg.

In the process of carrying a child, the daily dose of vitamin B12 for women increases to 2,8 mcg.

Inadequate concentration of this component is the most common deficiency. It often develops in old age or in vegetarians who do not consume animal products.

The main causes of component deficiency are insufficient vitamin concentration in foods or problems with assimilation. The following categories of people are at risk:

  • patients after surgical treatment of the intestinal tract, during which it was necessary to remove part of the intestine;
  • the elderly;
  • Vegetarians
  • taking medications, for example, metamorphine with an excessive concentration of sugar in the body, antacid drugs.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency in women may appear after several years. Also, the diagnostic problem lies in the fact that there is no universal symptom by which it will be possible to determine the lack of B12. Blood cell analysis also does not guarantee an accurate diagnosis.

Doctors distinguish the following signs of a lack of vitamin B12 in a woman’s body.

  1. Pale skin with a yellowish tint. Jaundice is also present on the cornea of ​​the organs of vision. This is explained by a decrease in the synthesis of red blood cells. An insufficient concentration of vitamin in a woman’s body leads to the formation of unnaturally large blood cells that cannot penetrate the circulatory system. As a result, the skin loses its pink tint.
  2. Fast fatiguability . It develops due to anemia. With a decrease in the number of red blood cells, the functionality of most body systems suffers. When playing sports, the effectiveness of training decreases. Lack of oxygen in muscle tissue does not allow to realize the full potential. Oxygen is required to get energy from food. In case of lack of it, the woman’s body is not able to get enough resources from food.
  3. Tingling sensation. It occurs as a result of damage to bone marrow cells. B12 is involved in the protection of nerve cells.
  4. Impaired coordination of movement. It is explained by damage to the nervous system, which leads to motor dysfunction. This symptom often manifests itself in old age or in vegetarians.
  5. The inflammatory process in the field of language. The affected organ changes color, discomfort when moving. Tongue swells, turns red. Small tubercles with taste buds disappear, the surface of the organ becomes smooth. One of the early symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency in women.
  6. Dizziness attacks often occur during physical exertion. It is explained by insufficient oxygen in the tissues. For a similar reason, shortness of breath occurs periodically. However, not in all cases, these symptoms indicate problems with vitamin B12. Dizziness and shortness of breath are a concomitant symptom of many diseases.
  7. Visual impairment. It is explained by damage to the optical nerve tissue. This symptom can be completely eliminated if timely treatment is started.
  8. Depression, depressive syndrome. It is characterized by an increase in homocysteine ​​in the body, which damages the brain, negatively affects the distribution of nerve impulses. Depressive syndrome appears with many other diseases. To establish an accurate diagnosis, it is strongly recommended to visit a doctor.
  9. A rare symptom is fever. Doctors cannot explain how this is associated with a reduced concentration of vitamin B12.

Component deficiency is a serious disease that requires timely detection and treatment. Ignoring the disease or the wrong course of therapy can provoke complex consequences:

  • malignant neoplasms;
  • the development of hepatitis and cirrhosis, which will not be completely eliminated:
  • in childhood, with a low concentration of B12, the risk of cerebral palsy increases;
  • dermatitis;
  • the progression of diseases of bone and articular tissues;
  • radiculitis.

This component is found in foods of animal origin. This, for example, red fish, chicken, duck, eggs, as well as dairy products. Women are prescribed sports nutrition, various protein shakes, breakfast cereals.

Replenishment of the deficit primarily implies a balanced diet. It is required to add the following foods to the standard menu:

  1. Beef kidneys up to 80 g daily.
  2. Mackerel.
  3. Two eggs.
  4. Trout.
  5. 200 ml whole milk.

Important! Vegetarian women can enjoy breakfast cereals with a high vitamin content and vegetable types of milk.

Also, the patient is prescribed intramuscular injections. This technique allows you to eliminate symptoms in a short period of time and make up for the lack of B12 in the body. There is a low risk of an allergic reaction.

Women are prescribed vitamins with a high content of this component. For vegetarians, doctors prescribe up to 2000 micrograms every 7 days. When consuming vitamins, probiotics are additionally required, which support the microflora in the intestinal tract. If you follow the diet in combination with injections, you can make up for B12 deficiency in a short time.

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Increased concentration is no less dangerous than the lack of a component in the body of women. In the absence of timely treatment, ignoring the symptoms, serious consequences are possible. It occurs mainly with the wrong course of treatment.

1 3 1 - Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms and treatment

Randomly, an increased concentration of vitamin B12 does not occur. If detected, a woman is sent for a comprehensive examination of the body. With a large excess of the norm, the probable cause is the progression of liver cancer.

Doctors identify several possible causes of high B12 levels in women:

  • hepatitis of various origin;
  • increased concentration of sugar in the body;
  • alcohol abuse;
  • leukemia;
  • the chronic nature of myeloid leukemia;
  • digestive system deficiency;
  • cirrhosis of the liver.

Important! It is impossible to ignore the increased concentration of B12 in the body of a woman. It is required to determine the cause of the syndrome.

With a small excess of this component, symptoms rarely appear. More often the disease is diagnosed randomly during a preventive examination. Doctors with an overdose of vitamin B12 in women distinguish the following symptoms:

  • frequent bouts of vertigo;
  • high blood pressure;
  • frequent insomnia;
  • fast physical fatigue;
  • high heart rate;
  • convulsive contractions of muscle tissue in the legs;
  • bouts of nausea, in severe cases vomiting is possible;
  • symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as itching, redness of the skin.

Endogenous failure

Now, let’s take a closer look at the symptoms and causes of vitamin B12 deficiency.

In medicine, several main directions have been identified in relation to the lack of B vitamins. They were divided into exogenous and endogenous groups. In the first group, it is believed that the main causes of vitamin B12 deficiency are its lack of food when refusing animal food or an improperly prepared diet.

This problem is often faced by vegetarians, especially those who follow a strict diet. They have to replenish vitamin B12 with medication or with the help of dietary supplements.

It has been proven that if a vegetarian mother is breastfeeding, the child also suffers from a lack of vitamin B12. His body cannot create a supply of cyanocobalamin, and rapid growth increases the need for this substance.

Endogenous insufficiency is associated with a violation of the process of absorption of a substance from the intestine. In this case, vitamin B12 deficiency also occurs, and the symptoms in this case are most actively manifested in the elderly. This process is called malabsorption syndrome, it is associated with a decrease in the acidity of gastric secretions.

In many patients, absorption problems begin due to blind loop syndrome, where bacteria grow. Pathogenic bacteria feed on vitamin B12 entering the intestines.

Inflammation of the ileum affects the absorption of the right substances. The body will not get the right amount of cyanocobalamin if the ileum is partially removed.

If Vitamin B12 Deficiency Causes – Tapeworm

Helminthiasis, in this case, a tapeworm, can also cause vitamin B12 deficiency. Symptoms in adults will manifest as nausea, weakness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. Children react to the presence of this parasite much more acutely. In addition to general malaise, their physical and emotional development may be inhibited.

For clarity, we say that tapeworm is called a large tape parasite, the body length of which can reach 10-15 m. The parasite is fixed in the intestine and lives off the host’s nutrients and vitamins. As a result, a person has very few vital substances left. Most of all, there is a lack of vitamin B12. Symptoms in adults will appear somewhat differently than in children. In more detail, the difference in symptoms is described above.

There are several other causes of vitamin B12 deficiency. These causes are pancreatitis, surgery on the stomach, the appointment of antacid and metformin, AIDS, a genetic disease – Imerslund-Grosberg syndrome.

A deficiency in this important vitamin may be due to a diet that contains a very small amount of cobalamin. Vegans or vegetarians often do not get it properly, as it is usually found in animal products.

Another common cause of vitamin deficiency is an autoimmune disease – malignant anemia, which occurs due to the loss of protein in the stomach cells that helps the body absorb vitamin B12 in the intestines. This leads to a low content of cobalamin in the body.

Higher risk in the following groups of people:

  • people aged 50 or older
  • vegans or vegetarians
  • exclusively breastfed vegan mothers
  • people suffering from diseases that affect digestion, such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease
  • chronic alcoholics

Recommendations of doctors

To reduce the risk of increased vitamin concentration, doctors recommend that you follow these tips.

  1. Take medications strictly according to the instructions and prescription of a doctor. Violation of dosages is unacceptable.
  2. Keep medicines out of the reach of children.
  3. Before using vitamin supplements, carefully study their composition. This will avoid taking several dietary supplements with B12.
  4. If this component is deficient, make up for it by adjusting the diet.

The consequences of untreated excess or lack of vitamins can cause serious damage to the body. In some cases, even fatal. For this reason, they do not recommend postponing a visit to the doctor, as well as trying to eliminate the disease on their own.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, the female body needs vitamin B12, however, an excess or insufficient concentration is unacceptable, this has its own reasons. Before starting treatment, it is required to establish a provoking factor and only after that start therapy. If you find symptoms of an impaired level of B12 in the body, you should consult a doctor and undergo a comprehensive examination of the body. This will allow you to start treatment in a timely manner and prevent serious consequences for the body.

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Symptoms and signs

Fatigue and low power consumption. This vitamin plays an important role in energy metabolism, therefore, its deficiency has a direct effect on our well-being. Vitamin B12 enhances our body’s ability to create DNA for new cells to provide energy. It is also necessary for the formation of healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.

Numbness and tingling. B12 plays a key role in keeping our nervous system healthy. Thus, neurological symptoms, such as numbness or tingling in the arms and legs, may indicate a deficiency. Cobalamin helps in the normal functioning of nerves, and in addition, it plays a key role in transporting oxygen to various parts of the body.

Poor oxygen supply is one of the main causes of numbness and tingling sensations. A deficiency of B12 can also cause balance problems. A 1991 study emphasizes that the effect of cobalamin deficiency in the nervous system leads to a loss of skin sensitivity, muscle weakness, decreased or hyperactive reflexes, spasticity, and incontinence.

Low blood pressure A lack of folic acid, as well as B12, leads to anemia, which causes low blood pressure. Cobalamin helps the body produce red blood cells in such a way that enough oxygen reaches every part of our body, including the heart.

In a 2012 study published at the Texas Heart Institute, vitamin B12 deficiency is well known among neurologists, but cardiologists often forget about it when treating low blood pressure. If you suffer from this disease, it is worth passing the appropriate tests that will reveal the level of the substance in the body. Even mild forms of low blood pressure can cause shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, fainting, and the risk of injury from falls.

Skin lesions. Low levels of vitamin B12 cause skin lesions and thinning hair. In a 2008 study in Canada, B12 deficiency was associated with skin lesions. Inexplicable skin lesions can signal this, therefore, in this case, you must consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Depression. This specific vitamin from complex B is also important for mental health. Its role in the formation of red blood cells, in turn, helps maintain a healthy nervous system. In addition, it helps lower homocysteine, a by-product of protein metabolism.

Cognitive impairment. Low B12 levels can cause poor memory and cognitive impairment. It allows brain cells to form new connections, which is necessary for the formation of memory. In addition, cobalamin is an important component of myelin, a coating that protects many brain cells. That is why its deficiency can lead to serious damage to nerves and impaired brain function.

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A 2005 study published in the journal Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology suggests that a lack of substance can lead to reversible dementia in elderly patients. This type of dementia is different from Alzheimer’s disease, therefore, it must be differentiated using a thorough neuropsychological assessment.

Hypothyroidism B12 deficiency is associated with the thyroid gland, also known as hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland needs various nutrients to produce hormones that regulate many body functions. B12 is one of those nutrients. In 2008, a study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Pakistan reported that cobalamin deficiency is characteristic of primary hypothyroidism. Proper treatment leads to the disappearance of symptoms.

Infertility. Vitamin deficiency can affect both male and female fertility. A 2001 study published in the journal of reproductive medicine reports that B12 deficiency is associated with infertility and recurrent miscarriages. The study explains that hypercoagulation due to high homocysteine ​​levels can lead to fetal death during the initial stage of the disease.

Hypovitaminosis affects the functioning of many body systems. First of all, the blood-forming, reproductive and nervous systems, and organs of vision suffer. A lack of vitamin B12 causes symptoms in adults of various kinds:

  • neurological disorders – sleep problems, deterioration in cognitive abilities, failures in the emotional background;
  • anemia – a violation of the function of blood formation;
  • vision problems – reduced quality, blurred images;
  • damage to the skin – a pale or yellowish complexion, the appearance of age spots.

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First signs

Symptoms of B12 deficiency may not occur immediately, for example, occur 2-3 years after a complete rejection of food of animal origin. The first thing you should pay attention to is:

  • severe weakness, lethargy, fatigue, even with minor physical exertion;
  • decreased appetite;
  • disruptions in the menstrual cycle;
  • frequent mood swings, mild depression;
  • redness of the papillae on the tongue;
  • frequent respiratory viral diseases;
  • drowsiness during the day and sleeplessness at night;
  • dyspnea.

Lack of b12 negatively affects a person’s ability to navigate in space, reduces mental abilities, learning ability, and can cause speech problems. Along with iron, this element is needed to maintain the emotional background. Typical neurological signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are:

  • dizziness;
  • noise in ears;
  • numbness or tingling sensation in the limbs;
  • sleep disturbance;
  • frequent headaches;
  • increased anxiety, irritability;
  • convulsions.

Anemia

With a lack of b12 in the body, the skin becomes pale, and the cornea of ​​the eye acquires a yellowish tint. The appearance of these symptoms in adults is directly related to a decrease in the production of red blood cells (red blood cells), which are responsible for the transport of oxygen to the soft tissues of internal organs. This condition is called anemia or anemia in medicine.

Due to b12 deficiency, the bone marrow synthesizes large (immature) red blood cells, which, due to their size, cannot go beyond it and enter the bloodstream. Such blood elements are rapidly destroyed, which leads to an increase in the level of bilirubin (bile pigment produced by liver cells). It stains the mucous membranes and skin in yellow, negatively affects the functioning of the central nervous system and brain.

A lack of vitamin B12 can impair the functioning of the reproductive system in women. Hypovitaminosis is becoming a common cause of menstrual irregularities and serious problems such as infertility or spontaneous abortion. For men, a deficiency of this element is fraught with a decrease in potency and problems with fertility (the ability to conceive healthy offspring).

The generalized signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are diverse, which makes it difficult to correctly diagnose. In addition to problems with reproductive function, adults may be disturbed by symptoms such as:

  • Glossitis is an inflammation of the tongue. Pathology is manifested in a change in the color and shape of the organ. The tongue turns red, increases in size, which is why small tubercles containing taste buds disappear from its surface.
  • Visual impairment, the appearance of flies in front of the eyes, resulting from damage to the optic nerve. This symptom, although terrible for an adult, is quite reversible if you start taking multivitamins on time.
  • Hyperpigmentation of the skin. It occurs due to excessive synthesis of melanin. The appearance of age spots can be caused by: pregnancy, excessive exposure to the sun, lack of vitamin B12. Hyperpigmentation with hypovitaminosis is often manifested by the appearance of brown spots on the hands.

Vitamin B12 deficiency appears as a complex disease syndrome. Causes mental and neurological symptoms. He is responsible for constant fatigue, lethargy, apathy, general weakness, excessive nervousness, irritability, memory problems and severe headaches.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with depression.

Sometimes a sign of B12 deficiency is an aphthous cavity and spots on the tongue. The mucous membranes dry out and disappear, especially around the throat and nose. Painful sores appear in the corners of the mouth.

Hypovitaminosis B12 predisposes to Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and cancer. Increases homocysteine ​​levels, which contributes to the development of atherosclerosis and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Inadequate supply of cobalamin increases the susceptibility of DNA to damage and contributes to neurological diseases (ataxia, paralysis of the limbs, polyneuritis, lethargy).

Protein yellowing, paresthesia of the hands and feet, tingling of the toes, loss of sensitivity to vibrations, damage to the lateral and posterior ligaments, gait instability, poor eyesight, increased or weakened tendon reflexes, dementia, mood disorders and hallucinations – all this may be due to vitamin B12 deficiency .

Due to B12 hypovitaminosis, the skin loses its luster and color, and hair and nails become weak and brittle. An insufficient amount of this vitamin causes excessive shortness of breath (even after a little effort) and a lack of appetite.

Vitamin B12 deficiency in children can lead to growth and puberty problems. Often this problem is noted in children aged 5-6 years, as this is the period when B12 resources accumulated in the liver during fetal development are depleted. This situation should not occur when meat, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products are included in the child’s diet.

Pernicious anemia

A disease caused by impaired hematopoiesis is called pernicious anemia with a lack of vitamin B12. How dangerous this condition is confirms that the bone marrow and nervous system are primarily affected. Today this process is called Addison’s disease, and earlier it was called malignant anemia.

In the absence of timely treatment, irreversible degeneration of nerves and bone marrow is possible.

Vitamin B12 deficiency often leads to anemia: megaloblastic anemia and pernicious anemia.

Vitamin B12, in addition to folic acid and iron, is necessary for the production of red blood cells. When it is not enough, red blood cells do not mature properly. Symptoms of anemia include a burning tongue, loss of taste sensitivity, constipation or diarrhea, paresthesia of the arms and legs, Lermitis symptom, numbness of the limbs, impaired gait, urinary incontinence and memory impairment.

How to treat

The treatment is based on the compensation of a lack of vitamin B12. This may be a correction of nutrition and taking medications. But self-medication is unacceptable, since not all vitamin complexes are able to cope with the task. B1 and folic acid are often added to the vitamin complex. With reduced absorption, drugs are prescribed in the form of injections.

When correcting nutrition, it is recommended to eat eggs, cheese, dairy products, kidneys and liver.

In case of problems of the gastrointestinal tract, treatment is additionally prescribed by a gastroenterologist and tests for intestinal parasites.

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.

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