B12 plays a huge variety of essential metabolic roles in our bodies, and not getting enough can cause a host of health problems. From poor digestion to reduced nerve growth, inhibited circulation to reproduction issues, the effects of B12 deficiency are complex and serious. In fact, recent studies have shown that babies whose mothers were deficient in B12 during pregnancy were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in later life, a condition which poses a vast range of complex health problems.

B12 DeficiencyEven those who don’t experience major health problems as a result of B12 deficiency would certainly notice if they increased their intake of the vitamin, because it offers a huge range of wonderful benefits that make us feel in excellent health.

B12 benefits include:

  • Improved nerve cell health and thus cognitive function
  • Better digestion and thus more efficient absorption of nutrients from food
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Boosted mood, energy levels and memory and reduced risk of chronic stress and depression
  • Improved skin and hair health
  • Increase in various metabolic functions, such as enzyme production, hormone balance and DNA synthesis.

With all of these benefits, its clear to see why we should be making sure that we consume enough B12. The NIH recommends that we supplement to ensure we really get enough of the vitamin; adults should take 2.4 micrograms of B12 daily, pregnant women 2.6 micrograms, and breastfeeding women 2.8 micrograms.

Signs of B12 deficiency

If you’re unsure whether you should be supplementing your diet, make a quick self-assessment of your health. If you are deficient in B12, you’ll notice a few of the following signs:

  • Memory loss or ‘brain fog’
  • Dizziness or feeling unstable or wobbly
  • A smooth tongue which has few bumps
  • Yellowing skin
  • Pins and needles sensations in the hands, feet or legs
  • Blurred or double vision, or shadows in the field of vision
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Inexplicable feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Delusions, hallucinations and paranoia

If you’ve noticed a few of these symptoms, be sure to arrange an appointment with your doctor who will be able to perform blood checks to assess your B12 levels. Even if you haven’t experienced any noticeable symptoms, it’s a great idea to have your B12 levels checked from time to time to ensure you’re getting enough, as this can prevent more serious problems from developing in the future as a result of an unknown deficiency.