You may not be thinking about the importance of vitamin B12 simply because you concentrate more on other vitamins or you can’t think about it. This is because a lack of this vitamin can affect your ability to think clearly about many things.
Your body does not produce this water-soluble vitamin, so you have to provide the recommended dose with supplements. Along with other B vitamins, vitamin B12 helps the body convert carbs into glucose and produce energy.
Vitamin B12 promotes the production of RNA and DNA as well as works with folate to produce S-adenosyl methionine and red blood cells.
As we have mentioned, Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in the central nervous system since it conducts the nerve impulses as well as it produces myelin sheath which protects the nerves.
However, a lack of this vitamin can be difficult to detect. Unfortunately, it can cause different health conditions including nerve damage. You should be careful in case you take metformin, a diabetes drug since it can cause vitamin B12 deficiency.
Metformin and Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The effects of metformin on vitamin B12 were analyzed by the researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NY. They have used the data from the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study and the Diabetes Prevention Program.
Also, there were included data from people taking a placebo and metformin twice a day. After 5 and 13 years, their levels of Vitamin B12 were once again measured.
This analysis showed significant differences in the levels of Vitamin B12. Those who used to take metformin had lower levels of vitamin B12 in comparison to those who took the placebo. Also, many people from the metformin group were anemic, another characteristic of the vitamin B12 deficiency.
Unfortunately, neither the American Diabetes Association nor the U.S Food and Drug Association recommends monitoring of the levels of vitamin B12 in people who take metformin. However, the researchers suggest that the patients themselves should ask their doctors to do so.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
According to the studies from the U.S Framingham trial, about 40% of the Americans have low levels of vitamin B12 which in turn cause neurological symptoms. Other 9% percent experienced Vitamin B12 deficiency while 16% were near deficient.
It is important to point out that older people are more prone to vitamin B12 deficiency. This is because as people grow older, their stomach acid decreases. With low stomach acid, the body is not able to absorb the vitamin B12.
The Framingham trial also found that vitamin B12 deficiency is common in both young and old people.
Also, some of the symptoms typically attributed to older people are probably the results of vitamin B12 deficiency. These symptoms include cognitive decline, memory loss, muscle weakness and many others.
Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Unexplained anemia
- Neuropsychiatric disorders
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Muscle weakness
- Memory troubles
- Mental fogginess