There are negative consequences that can result when it comes to having a deficiency of vitamin B12. The effects can manifest both physically and emotionally, from chronic fatigue to anemia and depression. The following explains vitamin B12 deficiency, getting it diagnosed, and how B12 absorption actually occurs within the body.
Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Various symptoms tend to appear as a result of a vitamin B12 deficiency, including fatigue, anemia, and depression. Early detection of vitamin B12 deficiency is a little difficult because of its non-specific symptoms and signs. Hence, for the correct diagnosis, it is highly advised to connect the symptoms to this deficiency rather to see their connection with any other disease. Only diagnostic tests are the means by which occurrence of deficiency of vitamin B12 can be tested. However, even after this, there is no surety of results.
Lab Test Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Some infants tend to show the presence of Banbinski reflex with the development of the brain. It poses serious damage to the brain if the reflex persists beyond a limited amount of time. Information about various conditions of blood can be successfully diagnosed by CBC (complete blood count) and reticulocyte count. A reticulocyte count helps in indicating that new blood cells are been generated in the bone marrow. Also, various tests like that of homocysteine test and methylmalonic test help in estimating the reason behind the low B12 levels in the blood. These substances have the indirect proportionality with the level of the vitamin. The levels of B12 and anemia can be easily determined by the serum vitamin B12 level and serum folate levels.
Anemia Due To B12 Deficiency
Anemia due to vitamin B-12 deficiency, Megaloblastic anemia and Pernicious anemia can be diagnosed by a serum LDH (Lactate Dehydrogenase) test. B12 being produced by the body can be easily detected by a Schilling test as it yields definite results. There are various stages to confirm the condition. Stage I tests the ability of the body to absorb the vitamin in a normal process. Whenever the results of this stage turns out to be rather peculiar than is required, the patient will have to proceed with the next stage test, as well. Stage II is used to test whether the B12 which is not absorbed normally can be digested by introducing a radioactive along with intrinsic factor.
Getting A Diagnosis Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The patient then moves up to Stage III in case the results of Stage II are not satisfactory. In Stage III, the patient is given a treatment of antibiotics to understand if infection might be the reason for the deficiency. Stage IV helps in determining if the root cause of the deficiency is pancreatic enzymes . If in all the above stages the results are affirmative in B12 deficiency, then the patient should consult a physician immediately to prevent further damages to the body.
Enjoying A Balanced Diet For Better Health
Our taste buds give us the ability to enjoy different tastes and cuisines, but eating is more that just an enjoyable part of life. It is easy to disregard the chemical processes that take place in our bodies as we absorb food to help us grow and to empower our metabolisms. A balanced diet gives us the energy we need for living and also provides nutrients to keep us healthy. It is not always easy to ensure we are getting the nutrients we need, as some are difficult to find in a typical diet.
Problems With Vitamin B12 Absorption
Problems such as B12 absorption make this even more difficult. Even if we get enough of the vitaminin our diets, digestive processes sometimes result in us not getting the benefits from this important material. A poor diet may not be the only reason for a B12 deficiency. The process could also be hindered by physiological problems. Any health related problems that interfere with the vitamin B12 absorption in the small intestine may lead to this deficiency.
Vitamin B12-R Complex
When B12 gets freed from the proteins that come from food that has been deposited in the stomach, it combines with R-proteins and the resulting complex is known as B12-R complex. In other words, the food and the gastric acids in the stomach provide stimulation for the stomach cells (parietal cells) to make the intrinsic factors (IF) that is necessary. When the protease, which are the enzymes that work on the proteins, break down the B12-R complex, the B12 is freed to mingle with the IF. This together will form the B12-IF complex.
Allowing Vitamin B12 Absorption
This complex will move toward the ileum, the farthest portion of the small intestine, and B12 absorption is recognized in this complex. From now on, normal gastric and intestinal conditions must be present to allow vitamin B12 absorption to take place. The B12-R complex may fail to form due to reasons such as a drop in stomach acid levels associated with some diseases, use of antacids, infections or geriatric reasons. As receptors in the ileum only identifies B12IF, this second complex must be available in order for absorption to occur. An unbroken, healthy stomach, small intestine and healthy pancreas make the vitamin B12 absorption take place.