Statistics say that approximately 15% of the world’s population suffers from B12 deficiency, due to our lifestyles. Even among my clients I have often noticed that they don’t know enough about this important nutrient. B12 is important for replication of our DNA. It is vital for the formation of Rd blood cells and for the proper working of our central nervous system.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency are wide ranging. Some of the common symptoms are weakness, apathy, memory loss, acidity, loss of weight, nausea and vomiting, anaemia, mental confusion, delusions, paranoia, respiratory symptoms, allergies. Long-term deficiency can even lead to heart attacks or stroke and irreversible damage to brain and nervous system.
What is interesting to know is that B12 in fact is not a vitamin at all. It is a bacteria produced by soil microbes that live in symbiotic relationship with plant roots. In a more natural world, vitamin B12 would be naturally available in organic fruits and vegetables straight off the farm and water in natural sources such as ponds and rivers. We would never find an outdoor person such as a farmer working in the soil to be deficient in B12, because they would absorb it directly from the soil. However most of us living in the city do not have enough contact with soil and hence are always short on B12.
We tend to look B12 in animal foods such as milk and meat, as these animals are getting the B12 from the soil. However these days, vegetarians and non-vegetarians may be deficient in B 12 for a number of reasons. There is not enough B12 in the animal foods, because animals are being farmed and they don’t feed from the soil any more. Their food is inorganic, and hence lacks the bacteria. Secondly, B12 may not be getting absorbed if our gut flora is destroyed.
Use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers in the soil, and injection of chemicals into food, use of preservatives chlorine in the water, chemical toothpastes which destroy oral bacteria, all end up destroying the naturally existing and available B12.
The best way to get B12 naturally would be to eat as much organic produce as possible and get out in the soil. However, if you’re suffering any symptoms, do get your levels checked and consult a doctor for supplementation!