Dr Zoe reveals which supplements to take
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The NHS warns that it is important for vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, as though many of the symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the condition can be irreversible if left untreated. The Cleveland Clinic says: “Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia can cause a wide range of symptoms. These usually develop gradually, but can worsen if the condition goes untreated.”
The Cleveland Clinic says that there are several neurological symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can include:
- Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet.
- Vision problems.
- Having a hard time remembering things or getting confused easily.
- Having a difficult time walking or speaking like you usually do.
If neurological problems develop from vitamin B12 deficiency “they may not be reversible” according to the organisation.
It adds: “It can be difficult to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency because symptoms are not always present or the symptoms can be similar to other nutritional deficiencies.”
The NHS says other general symptoms of anaemia may include:
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- Lack of energy (lethargy)
- Feeling faint
- Pale skin
- Noticeable heartbeats (palpitations)
- Hearing sounds coming from inside the body, rather than from an outside source (tinnitus)
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
The health body says you should see a GP if you’re experiencing symptoms of vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia.
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The NHS says: “These conditions can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of a blood test.
“It’s important for vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.”
The health body says although many of the symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the condition can be irreversible if left untreated.
Vitamin B12 is naturally present in foods of animal origin, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products and some fortified foods.
The Mayo Clinic says: “Most people get enough vitamin B12 from a balanced diet.
“However, older adults, vegetarians, vegans and people who have conditions that affect their ability to absorb vitamin B12 from foods might benefit from the use of oral supplements.”
The organisation says when taken at appropriate doses, vitamin B12 supplements are generally considered safe.
It states: “While the recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms, higher doses have been found to be safe.Your body absorbs only as much as it needs, and any excess passes through your urine.”
It says high doses of vitamin B12, such as those used to treat a deficiency, might cause:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue or weakness
- Tingling sensation in hands and feet
The NHS adds that taking doses of folic acid higher than 1mg can mask the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can eventually damage the nervous system if it’s not spotted and treated.
The health body says this is particularly a concern for older people because it becomes more difficult to absorb vitamin B12 as you get older.
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