Vitamin B12 deficiency develops when a person doesn’t get enough of the vitamin from their diet. Having a lack of vitamin B12 in the body can result in failure of enough red blood cells being produced. A lack of red blood cells can result in the body’s tissues and organs being deprived of oxygen, which in turn can trigger anaemia. Anaemia can lead to heart and lung problems because the heart struggles to pump oxygen to other vital organs.
The B vitamin is best gained through diet, but some food sources are better than others.
If you want to avoid the development of symptoms, the NHS recommends you eat the following seven foods:
- Some fortified breakfast cereals
It further advises: “Adults (aged 19 to 64) need about 1.5 microgram a day of vitamin B12.
“If you eat meat, fish or dairy foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet.
Secondly turkey is another good source of vitamin B12 along with other poultry, such as chicken, goose and duck.
Finally fans of a cheeseboard will have been keeping their vitamin B12 levels topped up, perhaps without realising.
Mozzarella, feta and brie usually hold high quantities of the vitamin.
Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can be mistaken for less serious health conditions.
But Bupa lists six to watch out for:
- Feeling very tired
- Breathlessness even after little exercise
- Heart palpitations
- A reduced appetite
- A sore mouth and tongue
Another three signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency can be spotted when you go to the toilet.