Vitamin B12 deficiency: Six B12-rich foods you should eat to keep symptoms at bay

B12 is a protein-bound vitamin and is one of the largest and most complex of all vitamins. It helps combat anemia known as megaloblastic anemia which assists in the makeup of red blood cells. B12 and folic acid (known as folate or vitamin B9) are nutrients that cannot be produced in the body and is supplied by the foods you eat. A rich diet of essential vitamin B12 and folic acid is crucial to keeping your healthy blood functioning and keeping symptoms of a deficiency at bay.

Here are six foods rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid:

  • Legumes including beans, peas and lentils
  • Asparagus which are rich in antioxidants
  • Eggs which provide a great source of folate acid and vitamin B12
  • Leafy greens including spinach and kale which provide a host of health benefits
  • Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes which are packed with vitamin C and high levels of folate
  • Broccoli which provides an array of essential vitamins and minerals

People who don’t consume enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs or are not absorbing enough of the vitamin will experience an array of symptoms. 

The deficiency will slowly develop over time and will gradually become more intense. It is relatively common to experience vitamin B12 deficiency especially among older people.

Anemia is the most common deficiency of vitamin B12 and effects the blood being carried  to red blood cells. 

As red blood cells carry oxygen to all tissues of the body, anemia will make it difficult for tissues to get the oxygen they need.

Symptoms include a strange sensation or tingling in your hands, legs or feet, fatigue, cognitive difficulties, a swollen tongue and difficulty walking. 

In extreme cases people have experienced severe joint pain, shortness of breath and a yellow tinge on the face.

If you experience any of these symptoms it is likely you are experiencing a vitamin B12 deficiency and should consult your GP.

According to the NHS, most causes of vitamin B12 deficiency can be treated with injections or tablets to replace the missing vitamins. 

It explains: “Vitamin B12 supplements are usually given by injection at first. Then, depending on whether your B12 deficiency is related to your diet, you’ll either require B12 tablets between meals or regular injections. These treatments may be needed for the rest of your life.”

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