Vitamin B12, known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin and is involved in the metabolism of every human body cell, especially DNA and red blood cell synthesis and regulation.
Vitamin B12 is a key nutrient that plays an important role in the effective functioning of the digestive system. One of the key roles of vitamin B12 in the digestive system is to help produce good healthy red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen to all body parts. Without enough vitamin B12, the body may produce abnormally large red blood cells, known as megaloblastic anemia. This type of anemia can cause various symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath, which can all impact digestion and lead to other digestive issues.
In addition to anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Vitamin B12 produces enzymes and digestive juices that aid in breaking down food in the stomach and intestines. Without enough vitamin B12, the digestive system may be unable to effectively break down and soak up nutrients from food, leading to various digestive issues.
Vitamin B12 insufficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of gastrointestinal infections, which can further exacerbate digestive issues. Vitamin B12 helps keep the health of the intestinal lining, which acts as a barrier to harmful bacteria and other pathogens.
Vegetarians and vegans who do not eat animal products, as well as older adults and individuals with digestive disorders, are at a higher risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency.
The short-term effect leads to symptoms such as Fatigue, Weakness, tiredness, Pale skin, Gastrointestinal issues, Heart palpitations and shortness of breath, Headache, Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness & Vision loss—mental problems like behavioral changes.
Depending on the person’s age, Long-term B12 deficiency may increase the risk of various health problems or conditions, such as depression, memory loss (dementia), cardiovascular disease, Neurological damage, nerve damage, damage to the spinal cord & neurological problems that affect mental health.
There are various vitamin B12 diagnostic tests, including serum B12, holotranscobalamin (holoTC), and methylmalonic acid (MMA) tests. The serum B12 test is the most commonly used, as it measures the total amount of vitamin B12 in the blood. HoloTC is a newer test that measures the amount of vitamin B12 available to the body’s cells. Finally, MMA testing measures the levels of methylmalonic acid in the blood, which indicates vitamin B12 deficiency.
Diagnostic testing for vitamin B12 deficiency is significant because symptoms of deficiency can take years to develop and hence can help identify lack early on, allowing for prompt treatment to prevent further health problems.
J. Mitra & Co. offers a diagnostic test kit for the Quantitative determination of Vitamin B12 levels in the Human Serum; Vitamin B12 Quanti Microlisa. The Elisa test kit is indigenously developed and has good precision, reliability, and accuracy in test results.
Early detection of Vitamin B12 levels in the blood through diagnosis is crucial as it can aid in avoiding long-term complications, based on the facts mentioned earlier.