Surprised to see a post about vitamin B12 on an iron deficiency blog? Don’t be! Vitamin B12 actually has quite a lot to do with your blood and iron levels and I’m going to explain just what the relationship is in plain English without all the medical jargon and mumbo jumbo you might find in health articles.
Let’s get down to it with a quick rundown of the basics of vitamin B12.
B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that can be found in much of what we eat, with the highest amounts being found in red meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and fortified cereal and bread. Because it is water-soluble, your body doesn’t store it in large amounts, so getting it onto your daily diet is a must.
So, What Does it Have to Do With Your Blood?
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the formation of hemoglobin. To refresh your memory; hemoglobin is a key protein in red blood cells, whose function is to carry oxygen from your lungs to your body’s other organs and tissues. Without enough vitamin B12 your body can’t make functional red blood cells that are able to do their job.
Not getting enough vitamin B12, either because of diet or due to other medical conditions that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the vitamin properly can lead to a type of anemia called “macrocytic anemia”, also known as “vitamin B12 deficiency anemia”.
The symptoms and signs of B12 deficiency anemia include:
- Red and swollen tongue;
- Bleeding gums;
- Loss of appetite;
- Pale skin;
What You Can Do About It?
Preventing a vitamin B12 deficiency begins with eating foods rich in B12. The National Institutes of Health recommend the following amounts of B12 each day:
|Teens and Adults Aged 14 and Older
|2.4 mcg (micrograms)
|2.6 mcg (micrograms)
|2.8 mcg (micrograms)
You can also supplement B12 with an oral supplement or with monthly B12 injections depending on the extent of your deficiency. If your deficiency is caused by a medical condition such as celiac disease, Crohn’s, or alcoholism, addressing the cause will usually resolve the deficiency. Speak to your doctor right away if you’re experiencing any symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia and before starting a new supplement.
Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individual’s unique health care needs