There is an increasingly large number of people that have chosen to follow the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. It is becoming one of the fastest upward-trending diets in the health industry due to the numerous health benefits from consuming a strictly plant-based diet. However, there are always potentially negative aspects that you must educate yourself about before making this transition. There are some drawbacks to this lifestyle choice because there are essential nutrients that your body requires which are usually be obtained through eating meat products. One of these common deficiency’s is vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means you must obtain it on a daily basis. Once your body uses the vitamin B12 it requires, the remainder is expelled from your body through urination. Because vitamin B12 is, for the most part, only found in animal products, vegans and vegetarians must find an alternative source from which to obtain the recommended daily allowance of this essential vitamin. Here is a list of 10 things vegans and vegetarians should know about vitamin B12 deficiency.
1. Swelling – One of the most common issues with this deficiency is swelling. A swollen tongue is sure sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
2. Anemia – Anemia is a the most common problem associated with a vitamin B12 deficiency. Anemia is when you have fewer red blood cells than normal, restricting oxygen to tissue or you have less hemoglobin than normal in each red blood cell. Anemia can cause you to: feel sleepy or fatigued, look pale , shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and cause heart problems.
3. Fatigue – Not consuming enough vitamin B12, through either diet or supplementation, can cause you to feel tired and have no energy. Since vitamin B12 is one of the main factors in the production of energy, not having enough will cause fatigue.
4. Weakness – Weakness is another one of the more common signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Since your muscle’s need B12 to function properly, not enough will cause your strength to decline.
5. Cognitive Impairment – When you are deficient in vitamin B12, your cognitive function is reduced and rapid cognitive decline. This effects your ability to think, reason, and your motor skills and reactions can be delayed.
6. Jaundice – Jaundice is a condition were your liver does not function properly, causing your body to stop processing bilirubin. With a buildup of this your skin begins to turn yellow. Without treatment, jaudice can be deadly.
7. Parkinson’s Disease – Parkinson’s is a disease which effects your brain and motor skills. According to a University of Maryland study, individuals with Parkinson’s disease had significantly lower blood levels of vitamin B12.
8. Alzheimer’s Disease – One of the most serious health issues that can occur from a vitamin B12 deficiency is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Dementia interferes with your memory and social skills. It drastically effects your daily life and generally leaves you to rely on other for assistance. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
- chriskresser.com – b12-deficiency-a-silent-epidemic-with-serious-consequences
- livestrong – 102727-b12-parkinsons-disease/
- harvard.edu – vitamin-b12-deficiency-can-be-sneaky-harmful
- patient.co.uk – health/vitamin-b12-deficiency-and-pernicious-anaemia