What Causes Vitamin B12 Anemia?
Vitamin B12 is needed by the body to make red blood cells, and these are the cells that transport oxygen around your body. But many people have a Vitamin B12 deficiency and this can mean that the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to be able to carry the oxygen. This in turn can lead to B12 anemia, a condition that can leave you feeling tired and weak. This is why Vitamin B12 is often called the energy vitamin, as it is vital for energy production.
So what cause B12 Anemia?
There are many things that can cause B12 anemia and these include:
Not getting enough B12 in your diet. This is often the case with vegetarians, vegans and raw foodists.
Not being able to absorb the B12 you do get, due to gastric surgery. This can often be the case with people who have had stomach surgery to help with weight loss.
Not being able to absorb B12 due to lack of intrinsic factor. Some people don’t have enough intrinsic factor, so are unable to make use of the B12 in their diet. Intrinsic factor is thought to decrease as we get older, so seniors may be at particular you are only mildly B12 deficient you may not notice any symptoms, but as the deficiency progresses, you may notice some mild, or some more severe symptoms. One of the problems is that older people can mistake mild symptoms as being just the result of getting older. A healthy person should have enough energy for their needs even when they are in their 80s. So if you find your energy levels decreasing, get your doctor to test your B12 levels.
Some signs of B12 anemia include pale skin, feeling weak or tired, constipation or diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, a sore tongue or bleeding gums. If your deficiency isn’t corrected, the symptoms can get more serious. These include numbness in your extremities, depression, a poor sense of balance and dementia. If left untreated, B12 deficiency can lead to you being bedridden and can even cause death in extreme cases.
It is estimated that between 10% and 40% of the US population has some form of B12 deficiency. Many people are living with uncomfortable symptoms because they don’t realize that they have a simple vitamin deficiency. It’s therefore important to get yourself tested if you have any of the above symptoms. Correcting a B12 deficiency is very easy if caught in the early stages. But leaving it too late can cause irreversible damage.