Vitamin B12: Myths and Misconceptions

Vitamin B12 is water-soluble and is needed for metabolism, just like the other B vitamins. Besides that, however, it plays an important role in DNA synthesis, red blood cells production, and central nervous system maintenance. That is why you cannot afford to not have enough levels of it. However, despite its vital role in keeping overall health, many people still misunderstand it or worse, do not know its importance. Here are some of the myths and misconceptions that surround the vitamin.

1. Deficiency of the vitamin is rare.

No, it is not. In fact, many people over the age of 50 lose the ability to absorb it. Furthermore, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, about 6% of people who are over 60 years old in the United Kingdom and United States are deficient of it. One reason for this is that the elderly may not have enough acid in their stomachs, which is needed in the absorption of the vitamin. Also, people may not notice the signs of deficiency of the vitamin because these signs may occur gradually and intensify over time.

2. Deficiency of the vitamin does not pose serious health problems.

This misconception must be corrected. Deficiency of it can cause serious medical conditions, including anemia, nervous system disorders, and permanent nerve damage. Moreover, this deficiency is usually characterized by weakness, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, and mental confusion.

3. It can be found in plant foods.

The fact is, no, you cannot get Vitamin B12 from plant foods unless they are fortified. That is why vegans are at risk of being deficient of it. Its food sources are animals and animal products, such as meat, shellfish, eggs, and milk. You can also get your source of the vitamin from supplements, which usually come in the form of injections and liquid drops.