Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Its Effects on the Brain
There are several vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to keep us in great physical and mental condition. When it comes to our brain’s health, vitamin B12 plays a large role in how well it functions. The lack of vitamin B12 can contribute to certain cognitive impairments that are rarely blamed on vitamin B12 deficiency, or rather, they are overlooked.
For example, you could feel depressed for no reason and a doctor may think that you need to be on a prescription for it for the rest of your life. There is always a chance that the depression is simply being caused by the lack of vitamin B12 in your daily diet.
What is B12?
This vitamin is responsible for maintaining various parts of our bodies such as, our brain functioning, our blood, and even our DNA. B12 is rather complex in that it requires certain acids within our stomachs to help this powerful vitamin absorb into our bodies.
What Happens if the Brain Does Not Get Enough B12?
There are many studies on how the lack of vitamin B12 can affect your blood and DNA, but what about the brain? Studies have shown that not getting enough B12 into your daily diet can have some consequences that can affect the way we think and feel.
Some symptoms of deficiency can include:
- Mental fatigue
- Memory loss
- Thoughts of suicide
What are the Causes of Vitamin Deficiency?
Vitamin deficiency happens when we are lacking a certain vitamin due to our eating habits, interactions with some medications, or even certain medical conditions. The side effects can be terrible and sometimes fatal. It is important to ensure that we are getting enough vitamins whether it be through the food we eat, supplement pills, or even injections.
Enjoying a Vegetarian or Vegan Lifestyle
To keep our minds strong, we need a healthy dose of vitamin B12 in our diet on a daily basis. Sadly, a person who does not eat animal-based products will have a difficult time absorbing vitamin B12 into their bodies than someone who enjoys eating meat and fish. That is because most B12 is found within foods such as:
That is not to say that if you are against consuming animal-based foods that you should go against your own beliefs for better health. There are supplements available to those who enjoy a non-animal product diet.
Low Stomach Acid Levels
If our bodies contain lower acid levels, the chance of breaking up the B12 within our stomachs becomes a slim. Because B12 can only be absorbed into our bodies through a process involving the helpful acids within the stomach, not having enough acids could easily result in deficiency.
Medications that reduce the acid levels within the stomach can keep our bodies from digesting vitamin B12.
Some other medications include:
- Certain heart medications
- Treatments for certain cancers
What You Can Do If You Suffer From B12 Deficiency
Speak to your physician on how you can get in more vitamin B12 into your diet, especially if you are feeling depressed. Since the lack of B12 within the body can result in a decline in our overall mood, a simple supplement or including more meat and fish into your diet could have a huge, impact on how your mind and body work.