Vitamin B12 is a supplement that works to support healthy nerve and blood cells. This nutrient also aids in prevention of megaloblastic anemia that causes people to feel weak and tired. Vitamin B12 is found in foods such as clams, beef liver, eggs, milk, poultry, meat, and fish, but many individuals decide to take an added dose of B12 to support a fast metabolism and gain an increase of energy. The B12 nutrient also counters dementia, improves athletic performance, and heart disease and has not shown any signs of harmful effects.
If a person is to have a vitamin B12 deficiency, it can mean a number of different things. Though it is extremely rare for a person to have a low count of B12, it is seen more in the elderly, HIV-infected individuals, and vegetarians. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
? Difficulty walking
? Memory loss, dementia and disorientation
? Tingling or numbness in toes and fingers
? Depression or mood changes
Pregnant women who are vitamin B12 deficient run the risk of giving birth to a baby with birth defects. A study shows that B12 deficiency in early pregnancy increased the risk for delivering a baby with a birth defect up to five times. Spina bifida is a common birth defect to babies who are born with a deficiency of vitamin B12. Women who are pregnant are advised to eat foods that are rich in vitamin B12 or take supplements that will provide them with the nourishment they need to reduce the risk of birth defects.
Spina bifida, meaning split spine is the most common birth defect caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency. This occurs when the baby is in the womb and the spinal cord does not close all of the way. This defect may cause paralysis and anencephaly which is a fatal condition that includes underdevelopment in the brain and the skull. To treat the defect, surgery is performed two to three days after surgery. To prevent any defects, folic acid, and B12 consumption are strongly recommended.