Disease Banners - Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Lack of Vitamin B12 lowers red blood cells production which can lead to Anemia.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is the medical condition of low blood levels of Vitamin B12. A wide variety of signs and symptoms may occur including a decreased ability to think and behavioural and emotional changes such as depression, irritability, and psychosis.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If anemia is caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency, one may have symptoms like:

Yellow coloration of skin

Yellow coloration of skin

A sore and red tongue

A sore and red tongue (glossitis)

Ulcers inside mouth

Ulcers inside mouth

An altered sense of touch

An altered sense of touch

Disturbed vision

Disturbed vision

Irritability

Irritability

Depression

Depression

Psychosis

Psychosis

Dementia– a decline in mental abilities

Dementia – a decline in mental abilities

Folate deficiency As well as general symptoms of anemia, a folate deficiency may also cause:

Loss of sensation

Loss of sensation

Muscle weakness

Muscle weakness

Depression

Depression

Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

The exact cause is not known, but disease is associated with certain risks factors which include:

Age

Age

Gender

Gender

Family history

Family history

Gastrectomy

Gastrectomy

  • Age – Pernicious anemia is most common at later age
  • Gender – Pernicious anemia affects slightly more women than men
  • Family history – nearly a third of people with anemia also have a family member with the condition
  • Autoimmune condition, such as Addison’s disease or vitiligo – is also associated with anemia and other autoimmune conditions
  • Diet- The body generally stores vitamin B12 to last approximately two to four years. However, it is important to have vitamin B12 in the diet to ensure the store is kept at a healthy level
  • Conditions affecting the stomach- Some stomach conditions or stomach operations can also prevent the absorption of vitamin B12. For example, a gastrectomy(a surgical procedure where part of stomach is removed) also increases risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency anemia
  • Conditions affecting the intestines- Some conditions that affect intestines (part of the digestive system). For example, Crohn’s disease (a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system) can sometimes result in body not able to absorb enough vitamin B12

Folate deficiency anaemia

Folate is a water-soluble vitamin (it dissolves in water), as a result body is unable to store it for long periods of time. Body stores folate that last four months. This means one need folate in daily diet to ensure body has sufficient stores of the vitamin.

  • Diet- Not having enough folate in daily diet.
  • Malabsorption- Sometimes body is unable to absorb folate as effectively as it should. This is usually the result of an underlying condition affecting digestive system, such as Coeliac disease.
  • Excessive urination- Body may lose folate from body if one urinate frequently. This can be caused by an underlying condition that affects one of the organs, such as your kidneys or liver.
  • Pregnancy- If a woman is pregnant or planning to get pregnant, daily supplement of 0.4mg of folic acid should be taken for at least 12 weeks.

Management of Vitamin B12 Deficiency:

Treatment mainly depends upon the underlying conditions for the anemia:

Diet related
If vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by a lack of the vitamin in the diet, doctor may prescribe vitamin B12 tablets to take every day between meals. Alternatively, patient may have to take an injection of hydroxocobalamin twice a year.

Good sources of vitamin B12 include:

Eggs

Eggs

Milk

Milk

Meat

Meat

Salmon

Salmon

If a person is vegetarian, alternative food for meat and dairy products, that contains vitamin B12, such as:

Some fortified breakfast cereals

Some fortified breakfast cereals

Some soy products

Some soy products

Not diet related

If vitamin B12 deficiency is not caused by a lack of vitamin B12 in diet, patient may need to have an injection of hydroxocobalamin every three months for the rest of life.

Folate deficiency anaemia

To treat folate deficiency anaemia, doctor may prescribe daily folic acid tablets to build up patient’s folate levels.