Vitamin B12 (one of the 8 B vitamins) plays a vital role in the functioning of brain and nervous system. It also actively participates in the metabolism of cells. B12 is one of the most complicated vitamins, as no plant or animal can produce it; only bacteria and archaea have the enzymes required for its synthesis. This is one of the major reasons of B12’s deficiency. Poor food habits clubbed with lack of awareness leads to lack of B12 in the body, which further causes other problems. Another factor that can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency is stomach stapling or other form of weight loss surgery. This phenomenon affects body’s natural ability to extract Vitamin B12 from the food.
Our body needs Vitamin B12-the water-soluble vitamin to make red blood cells, nerves and DNA. Its deficiency often leads to fatigue, lethargy, depression, poor memory, breathlessness, headaches, and pale skin. Arthritis, one of the leading causes of joint pain can also be worsened due to deficiency of Vitamin B12. Osteoarthritis is a condition wherein the cartilage cushioning the bones, is damaged and so the bones get rubbed against each other and nerves experience more pressure due to the same. Here, Vitamin B12 can provide relief from constant knee pain. Bursitis is also one of the most painful knee conditions. Inflammation of the bursae- the meeting point of bones, tendons and muscles in joints causes Bursitis. Here the friction between bones increases hence, swelling and pain are experienced. Here too Vitamin B12 injections or oral consumption is helpful in getting relief from pain. Next in the list is anemia. People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or RA often face the problem of anemia. People with RA are given non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to cure their condition. These drugs lead to gastrointestinal bleeding and that causes anemia. Vitamin B12 can prevent this condition by encouraging bone marrow to produce more of red blood cells. People with deficiency of Vitamin B12 often experience loss of appetite, numbness, constipation, poor memory and problem maintaining balance too. Untreated deficiency can lead to permanent nerve damage and problem in walking. Talking about joint pain in particular, people with arthritis experience swelling of joints, redness and reduced mobility due to stiffness of joints. These criteria can be made less painful with the intake of Vitamin B12 on a regular basis. An average adult should get 2.4 micrograms of Vitamin B12 per day to lead a healthy life. Also it is important to note that our body doesn’t store Vitamin B12 hence, regular consumption becomes altogether more necessary. The major suppliers of Vitamin B12 are egg, fish, poultry, meat and milk. No plant makes this Vitamin however, fortified cereals are available to address this need of people who don’t eat non-vegetarian food. All in all, in order to avoid any dangerous condition, Vitamin B12’s regular intake is advisable.