According to the research in the University of Oxford in Britain a deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to the brain shrinkage in the elderly people. Vitamin B12 guards the brain volume and prevents the decline in thinking and memory. Vitamin B12 also helps in the formation of red blood cells and it is also important for the maintenance of central nervous system.
Vitamin B12 is necessary to convert the carbohydrates, fats and proteins from the food into energy. It also keeps the immune system healthy and it also creates a protective covering of all nerve cells in the body. It also regulates the feeling of well being and also regulates the mood. This vitamin is also very important for the female reproductive health and pregnancy. Although the brain needs a very little amount of vitamin B12 but need it on regular basis.
Body cannot absorb vitamin B12 easily. To absorb the vitamin B12 stomach produces an intrinsic factor which enables it to absorb. Symptoms of the vitamin B12 deficiency include fatigue and tingling sensation in the hands and feet. Adults over 50 years are advised to consume 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 every day. B12 is obtained from the animal sources like fish, meat, milk and milk products and it can also be found in milk and milk products. 250 ml of skim milk provides 1.4 mg of vitamin B12.
In the vegetarian diet there are much more possibilities for developing B12 deficiencies. So they should be especially careful about the dietary intake of the vitamin B12. Today we can also get many vitamin B12 fortified meals. So you can also go for them as they can also be a great option for the vegetarians. If you are taking a vitamin B12 supplement then it is advisable to take the supplement which is made with methylcobalamin which is a natural kind of vitamin B12.
Causes of the vitamin B12 deficiency can be:
Age: As the age increases the intrinsic factor diminishes and this intrinsic factor is required for the absorption of vitamin B12. So one need supplement of vitamin B12 if getting older.
Use of certain Drugs: Use of metformin which is used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes may inhibit the absorption of the vitamin B12 especially when taken in higher amounts.
Coffee consumption: Four or more cups of coffee a day can also reduce the vitamin B12 stores.
Use of antacids: Excess use of antacids can also lower the stomach acid secretion and decreases the ability to absorb vitamin B12 as hydrochloric acid is a crucial ingredient for the absorption of vitamin B12. Gastric bypass surgery and the exposure to the nitrous oxide can also be the reason behind malabsorption of vitamin B12.
Food –cobalamin malabsorption syndrome: In this condition the stomach loses its ability to produce the intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is a protein made by your stomach. It grabs the B12 and together they move to small intestine. After reaching the small intestine the intrinsic factor is absorbed first, pulling the B12 with it into the cells of your large intestine, where they are absorbed for use by the rest of the body.