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In addition to its important function in blood formation, vitamin B12 also protects our nerve cells. Vitamin B12 is involved in the formation of the nerve sheath, the so-called myelin sheath. This forms a sort of insulating layer around the nerve fibers and thus ensures that sensory perceptions and stimuli are transmitted quickly.
The body suffers from a Vitamin B12 deficiency, this myelin layer can no longer be sufficiently preserved and is gradually destroyed. As a result, the transmission function of the nerves is impaired and slowed down. But the protective layer around the nerve fibers is also missing, which causes further damage.
Nerve damage can occur
Nerve damage manifests itself as follows:
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- Tingling in the hands and feet
- Numbness or pain in the limbs up to paralysis
- muscle weakness
- Problems with coordination and unstable walking
- sensory disturbances
- reflex disorders
- visual disturbances
Here, the deficiency may already have led to chronic nerve damage. Some people with vitamin B12 deficiency complain of depression and other mental health problems.
These foods contain the vitamin
For one, the cause of a Vitamin B12 deficiency attributed to reduced recruitment. Vitamins are essential fabrics. So they cannot be produced by the body itself, but must be provided regularly through food. The main suppliers for this are animal products such as eggs and milk. Seafood, salmon and meat, that’s why vegetarians and especially vegans must take care to absorb this vitamin in a different way.
According to the German Society for Nutrition (DGE), the daily requirement for vitamin B12 is four micrograms for young people aged 13 and older and adults. For comparison: 100 grams of mountain cheese contains about 0.81 micrograms of vitamin B12. Meat and fish have a particularly high percentage of the vitamin. In the salmon they are about between two and three micrograms of vitamin B12 per 100 grams to contain. A special protein is needed for the body to be able to absorb vitamin B12 from food. It is the so-called intrinsic factor, which is formed in the stomach. For chronic Gastric and intestinal diseases or after surgical interventions This mechanism can be disturbed and deficiency symptoms can occur.
In the pregnancy or with growing age increases the need for vitamin B12. This and the long one too Taking diabetes medications and Imorbid long-term alcohol consumption they can also be causes of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Particular caution is needed when taking drugs with increased stomach acid production for a longer period of time. Vegans are also particularly at risk: with a vegan diet, animal foods are completely avoided. This also applies to the intake of vitamin B12. According to the DGE, it is not possible to meet the demand with plant-based foods.
Preventing Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Here’s How It Works
As soon as the first signs of nerve damage appear, Vitamin B12 deficiency usually still reversible, that is, remediable. However, after months or years, the damage can also be irreversible. That’s why you should see a doctor at the first symptoms that indicate nerve damage, who can do a vitamin B12 test, for example.
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Consult your doctor on how to prevent nerve damage with an adequate intake of vitamin B12. He will tell you if and which B12 supplements you should take. Dietary supplements should never be consumed simply out of suspicion. Instead, the dosage must be previously clarified with a doctor and accompanied therapeutically.
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