Suboptimal levels of vitamin B12 can result from a multitude of factors, ranging from dietary deficiencies to depletion of stomach acids. However, it is important to address the disease quickly as it can slowly pave the way to poor health. A sign of a deficiency can be noticed in the feet when they are under a blanket.
Vitamin B12 is essential for nerve protection, which the body needs to prevent peripheral neuropathy.
If left untreated, neuropathy can have life-altering effects, so it’s important to address symptoms as soon as they appear.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a B12 deficiency can cause complications, including pain during activities that “shouldn’t cause pain.”
The health body explains that this can include “pain in the feet when you put weight on them or when they are under a blanket”.
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Other symptoms listed on the health body’s website include:
- Muscle weakness
- Feeling like you’re wearing gloves or socks when you’re not
- Paralysis if the motor nerves are affected
- Stinging, stabbing or burning pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch.
If these warning signs are not addressed when they appear, it can result in an inability to walk due to severe imbalance.
How does a vitamin B12 deficiency develop?
The body absorbs vitamin B12 in two separate stages; which involve separating the nutrient from the food source and then allowing the liver to absorb it.
This process requires a stomach acid known as intrinsic factor, which tends to deplete as the body ages.
Gastric surgery patients sometimes suffer from a deficiency of intrinsic factors if the operation has interfered with the production of acid in the lining of the stomach.
However, when the body manages to absorb vitamin B12, it is stored in the liver where it is able to meet the body’s needs for years.
This is why symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency can be slow to develop and get progressively worse.
READ MORE: Vitamin B12 deficiency: the warning sign that is also a symptom of Covid
Some good sources include animal feed products such as:
- red meat
- Dairy products.
Vegetarians and vegans, however, may need to rely on foods fortified with vitamin B12, which include some plant-based milk, some soy products, and some breakfast cereals.
Supplements may be recommended in some cases, but should never be taken without the supervision of a qualified physician.
Some of the risks associated with vitamin B12 deficiency can also occur when taking an overdose of supplements.
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