Vitamin B12 is often nicknamed the ‘energy vitamin’ and is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anaemia. It is an essential nutrient that your body can’t produce on it’s own. For most people, sticking to a diet rich in vitamin B12 should keep the body sufficiently topped up. The risk is discernibly higher in an ageing population, as Harvard Health explained: “As we age, our stomachs produce less gastric acid. This condition is called atrophic gastritis. It reduces the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 that’s bound to protein in foods.”
Unfortunately, B12 deficiency is common, especially in the elderly and vegans or vegetarians.
You’re at risk of deficiency if you don’t get enough from your diet or aren’t able to absorb enough from the food you eat.
Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can sometimes be mistaken for a folate deficiency. Low levels of B12 cause the folate levels to drop.
However, if you have a B12 deficiency, correcting low folate levels may simply mask the deficiency and fail to fix the underlying problem.
Having disturbed vision is a warning sign and could mean you are experiencing vitamin B12 deficiency.
Blurred vision can occur when an untreated B12 deficiency results in nervous system damage to the optic nerve that leads to your eyes.
The damage can disrupt the nervous signal that travels from your eye to your brain, impairing your vision.
This condition is known as optic neuropathy. In rare cases, the nervous system damage caused by a B12 deficiency can affect the optic nerve.
This can result in blurred or disturbed vision.
How much B12 you need depends on your age, medical conditions you may have, or your eating habits. For adults, a recommended amount of 2.4 mg per day is recommended.
The B vitamins are essential for depression and are involved with the production of neurotransmitters which control mood and behaviour
Doctor Marilyn Glenville
When it comes to the foods you eat that are rich in the vitamin, eating more beef, liver, chicken, fish and fortified breakfast cereals will ensure you are eating your required amount of vitamin B12
Doctor Marilyn Glenville said: “The B vitamins are essential for depression and are involved with the production of neurotransmitters which control mood and behaviour.
“It’s required as a co-enzyme in the production of serotonin. Many antidepressants are formulated to keep serotonin in the brain for longer so, it we have more of this brain chemical to start with, we have more chance of a better mental state.
“Also low levels of both serum folate and B12 are associated with a greater risk of depression.”
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