Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods, including mets, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy. It can also be found in products fortified with B12, such as some varieties of bread and plant-based milk. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerves and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA which is the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 helps prevent a the of anaemia called megaloblastic anaemia that makes people tired and weak.
A person needs vitamin B12 for many important body processes, particularly for making red blood cells and keeping nerves healthy.
When there is a short supply of the vitamin, the body won’t make as many red blood cells, they will be abnormally large and won’t last for as long as they should, according to Bupa.
When a person does not have enough red blood cells, their tissues and organs may not get enough oxygen.
This leads to symptoms of anaemia which is a condition that develops when the the blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells or haemoglobin.
Symptoms that a person may be lacking in vitamin B12 include a weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness, experiencing heart palpitations, having pale skin, and having a smooth tongue.
There is another symptom that the body may be lacking in vitamin B12 and that lies in one’s sleep patterns.
According to a study by US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, vitamin B12 deficiency may affect a person’s sleep-wake rhythm.
The study involved two patients who have been suffering for many years from different sleep-wake rhythm disorders.
The patients were both administered vitamin B12 and were monitored over a period of time. The study concluded that vitamin B12 improved their sleep-wake rhythm disorder.
The study noted that being deficient in vitamin B12 might hinder one’s sleeping pattern.
Your GP will monitor you to check that your treatment is working
If you suspect you may be deficient in vitamin B12 it’s important to speak with your GP.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is usually treated with vitamin B12 supplementation.
Bupa said: “This could include a course of injections which are administered once a week for six weeks.
“After this, you may need repeated doses every three months or so.
“Your GP will monitor you to check that your treatment is working. Shortly after you start, you’ll be asked to have a blood test after about eight weeks to confirm that your haemoglobin and red blood cell levels have returned to normal.”
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