Why Vegetarians Are Prone To Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
- Vitamin B12 is prominently found in animal based foods
- Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to anaemia
- B12 deficiency can lead to nerve changes such as numbness
Research and studies suggest that a strict vegetarian diet — one that excludes all animal products — can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency, and possibly heart disease. Now, new research shows that even those who follow a more lenient vegetarian diet, and consume milk and dairy products, are at risk.
Vitamin B12 is prominently found in animal based foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Most Indians who are vegetarians are deficient in Vitamin B12. While it is fairly easy to correct a Vitamin B12 deficiency through supplements, most of us are ignorant of our condition and do not get a diagnosis. People who consume antacids are also at a risk of vitamin B12 deficiency since it interferes with absorption.
Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy nerves and red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA, which is why it is especially important for pregnant and nursing women.
Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to anaemia. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, which usually come on gradually, include fatigue, weakness, nausea, and constipation. Long-term and severe vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve changes such as numbness, tingling in the hands and feet, balance and memory problems, and depression.
A blood test is the best way to test for vitamin B12 deficiency, and it is recommended that all vegetarians get tested every year.