During the last years the vital importance of vitamin B12 and folacin for our health has become more obvious. Perhaps you have heard that folacin is important during pregnancy. Deficiency can cause severe damages to the fetus. In the USA and other countries one has added synthetic folacin to prevent damages to the fetus.
Also B12 is of importance as both vitamins are interacting to have an effect. Both vitamins have great importance even in other cases. The risk of developing dementia are for example bigger if you suffer from a deficiency of one of these vitamins.
Vitamin B12 and folacin are important for every cell of the body. B12 and folacin interact in vital functions of all cells. For example they are necessary for the cells to divide and grow in a normal way. That is why they are of great importance for the growing foetus.
The first symptoms of deficiency can also come from the cells that divide too fast, for example blood cells and the cells of mucous membrane. The symptoms will result in a type of anemia often combined with a read tongue and shear mucous membranes in the mouth.
Both vitamins are also necessary for the nerve system to function well, for the nerve cells and for the signal substances that transmit the nerve impulses. If not treated this kind of deficiency can cause permanent damages of the nerves.
A deficiency may occur as a result of an inability to absorb B12 from food and in strict vegetarians who do not consume any animal foods. As a general rule, most individuals who develop a vitamin B12 deficiency have an underlying stomach or intestinal disorder that limits the absorption of vitamin B12. Sometimes the only symptom of these intestinal disorder is subtly reduced cognitive function resulting from early B12 deficiency. Anemia and dementia follow later.
Characteristic signs, symptoms and health problems associated with B12 deficiency include anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Deficiency can also lead to neurological changes such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Additional symptoms of B12 deficiency are difficulty in maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory and soreness of the mouth or tongue.
Many of these symptoms are very general and can result from a variety of medical conditions other than vitamin B12 deficiency. It is important to have a physician evaluate these symptoms so that appropriate medical care can be given.