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What You Should Know About B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12: It’s become a more prevalent topic in recent years as more people have decided to eliminate animal products from their diets. Vitamin B12 comes from foods derived from animals, making it difficult for vegans and vegetarians to get enough of the vitamin to stay healthy. That said, there are supplements and fortified foods that can be used to add vitamin B12 to a plant-based diet. 

Understanding the causes, symptoms, and risks of vitamin B12 deficiency can help prevent it. So, let’s discuss deficiencies in this essential vitamin and what you can do to get enough of it in your diet. 

Vitamin B12 Basics

Vitamin B12 aids in the production of DNA, blood cells, and nerve cells. It also plays a critical role in the body’s metabolic, immune, and brain functions. Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in animal products, including meat, shellfish, eggs, and dairy. So, vegans and vegetarians are at an increased risk of developing a B12 deficiency. 

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause many different symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in mood
  • Glossitis, which is an inflamed tongue

Risks of Long-Term B12 Deficiency

If left untreated, B12 deficiency can have serious complications, including nerve damage, mobility changes, anemia, depression, and dementia. This is why it’s important to recognize the earlier symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and visit your doctor to determine the best course of action. 

Vitamin B12 For Vegans and Vegetarians

Vegans and vegetarians can reduce their risk of B12 deficiency by ensuring that they consume enough of the vitamin from sources that fit the confines of their diets. Vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs can aim to get B12 from one of these sources every day. For vegans, supplements of B12-fortified foods can help them avoid deficiency. 

Florida Wellness Medical Group provides expert medical care for concerns including vitamin B12 deficiency. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.