Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 plays a big role in the formation of red blood cells. It also helps to maintain the body’s central nervous system. B12 was initially discovered as a treatment for pernicious anemia.

Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Pernicious anemia and thinning stomach lining can both make it difficult for the body to absorb B12. In addition, weight-loss surgery or other surgeries performed on the small intestine can make absorption difficult. Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause a number of negative consequences for the body.

Anemia, a loss of balance, fatigue, general weakness and tingling sensations are all signs of a deficiency in vitamin B12. A deficiency over a prolonged span of time can result in deafness, blindness and the onset of dementia. People who follow vegetarian or vegan diets are at greater risk for B12 deficiencies. In addition, people who have had surgeries for weight loss are also at risk for having difficulties absorbing B12.

Vitamin B12 Excess

Liver disease, kidney failure and blood cancers can cause the body to retain too much B12. Having too much vitamin B12 may have some negative effects. It has been reported that some people with excess B12 have experienced numbness and tingling in the limbs, extremities and face. Other people may experience headaches, swelling or anxiety.

More serious side effects of having too much vitamin B12 include blood clots and reduced potassium levels in the blood.

The amount of vitamin B12 each person needs daily depends on age.

  • Newborns up to six months of age require 0.4 micrograms per day.
  • Infants seven months to one year of age require 0.5 micrograms.
  • Children between one and three years of age require 0.9 micrograms.
  • Children between four and eight years of age require 1.2 micrograms.
  • Children between nine and 13 years of age require 1.8 micrograms.
  • People above the age of 14 should take in 2.4 micrograms per day.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women require between 2.6 micrograms and 2.8 micrograms.