Dr Oscar Duke issues warning over ‘fizzy’ vitamins
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Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia is a condition in which your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells, due to a lack of vitamin B12. A study published in the National Library of Medicine says vitamin B12 is one of the important nutritional components that affect oral health.
It says: “Individuals with decreased levels of vitamin B12 have been reported to exhibit various oral manifestations such as glossitis, glossodynia, recurrent ulcers, cheilitis, dysgeusia, lingual paresthesia, burning sensations, and pruritus.”
The researchers also say that more than 60 percent of vitamin B12 deficiency patients with oral signs and symptoms were non-anemic and normocytic, “suggesting the importance of more detailed blood screening in this patient group”.
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 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 longer the condition goes untreated, the higher the chance of permanent damage,” the health body explains.
The NHS says general symptoms of anaemia may include extreme tiredness, breathlessness, feeling faint and headaches.
You may also notice that you have pale skin, noticeable heartbeats, are hearing sounds coming from inside the body, rather than from an outside source, as well as noticing a loss of appetite and weight loss.
If you have anaemia caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency, you may have other symptoms that affect your behaviour.
The NHS says you may notice irritability, depression, changes in the way you think, feel and behave, and a decline in your mental abilities, such as memory, understanding and judgement.
All types of anaemia, regardless of the cause, can lead to heart and lung complications as the heart struggles to pump oxygen to the vital organs.
A lack of vitamin B12 can cause neurological problems, which affect your nervous system.
The Mayo Clinic says high doses of vitamin B12, such as those used to treat a deficiency, might cause tingling sensation in hands and feet, headache, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea or fatigue or weakness.
The NHS says there’s not enough evidence to show what the effects may be of taking high doses of vitamin B12 supplements each day.
Nonetheless, it warns: “If you take vitamin B12 supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful. Taking 2mg or less a day of vitamin B12 in supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.”
It 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.
The NHS says good sources of vitamin B12 include:
- Some fortified breakfast cereals
The Department of Health and Social Care advises you should be able to get all the vitamin B12 you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.
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