Vitamin B12 deficiency: Three foods you should include in your diet to stave off condition
Vitamin B12 is important when it comes to healthy function of the body, as it helps make red blood cells and keeps the nervous system in check. A lack of the vitamin causes red blood cells to become abnormally large and slashes red blood cells’ lifespan, depriving tissues and organs of oxygen. This can lead to symptoms of vitamin B12 anaemia developing.
Vitamin B12 can be found in a number of foods, some of the most well known being meat and salmon.
While these are some of the best sources of the vitamin, vegetarians and vegans have to look to other sources of B12 to get their intake.
Three B12-rich foods everyone can include in their diet, recommended by Net Doctor, are:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Fortified cereal
- Yeast extract (Marmite)
Harvard Health Publishing, part of Harvard Medical School, lists some of the best dietary sources of B12 and the quantities contained.
- Clams – three ounces contains 85mcg of B12
- Liver – three ounces contains 70.7mcg of B12
- Salmon – three ounces contains 4.9mcg of B12
- Nonfat plain Greek yoghurt – six ounces contains 1.3mcg of B12
- Low-fat milk – one cup contains 1.2mcg of B12
- Egg – one large contains 0.6mcg of B12
What are the symptoms of vitamin b12 deficiency anaemia?
Some of the most notable symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia are feeling very tired, breathlessness even after little exercise, a sore mouth and tongue and heart palpitations.
But another symptom can also affect a person’s bowel habits.
Having a vitamin B12 deficiency can play havoc on your digestive tract, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and this can cause diarrhoea.
Diarrhoea is identified as faeces being discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid form.
But it should also be noted that diarrhoea and constipation can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, a food intolerance or a change in diet.
The best way to find out the cause is to see your GP.
How is vitamin B12 deficiency treated?
In many cases, particularly in more serious cases, vitamin B12 is treated with injections or tables to replace the missing vitamins.
The NHS explains: “Vitamin B12 supplements are usually given by injection at first. Then, depending on whether your B12 deficiency is related to your diet, you’ll either require B12 tablets between meals or regular injections.
“These treatments may be needed for the rest of your life.”
Another symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency to note is bad breath, according to Dr Craig Maxwell from the Integrative Medical Center in the US.