Did you know that a woman’s ability to absorb the vitamin B12 gradually decreases with age? In fact, research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims that 4-percent of females between the ages of 40 to 60-years old suffer from a B12 deficiency. Combine age with certain prescription medications (i.e., for heartburn) and a lack of meat in your diet (i.e., especially for vegetarians or vegans) and you could find yourself sorely lacking vitamin B12.
Thankfully, there are a number of steps that you can take to deal with a diagnosed vitamin B12 deficiency.
The following symptoms can indicate a B12 deficiency and should be brought to your doctor’s immediate attention.
Stomach Discomfort/Infrequent Bowl Movements
Having an upset stomach or constipation issues, may not be the result of something you ate. Vitamin B-12 is important for the function of red blood cells and assists in the production of hemoglobin which carries oxygen in the blood.
With a deficiency, this could lead to pernicious anemia in which your blood isn’t able to carry oxygen to your tissues, causing symptoms of nausea, diarrhea or difficult bowel movements.
Vitamin B-12 is very important to mental health and may affect an individual’s mood in the state of a deficiency, causing anxiety or even depression. The reason being is that B-12 is required in the production of the “feel good” chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine which keeps our brain functioning properly. Without enough serotonin and dopamine, depression may occur.
Additionally, B-12 deficiencies are known to reduce the amount of oxygen available for the neurons in the brain. If there isn’t a sufficient amount of oxygen in the brain, the neurons won’t be able to transmit signals through your body properly which may result in mood changes or depression.
A Smooth Tongue
Interestingly, 50% of people who have a B-12 deficiency lose the little bumps on their tongue! These little bumps – called papillae, contain taste buds. Oftentimes, for those suffering from a B-12 deficiency, food will seem to have lost its taste.
For women, many have been known to lose weight because they don’t enjoy the food they are eating and eat less as a result.