Hello friends, We at Ayushman are all geared up to keep our promise of continuing to keep you healthy with Ayush Patrika. In this issue we are going to tell you about Vitamin B-12
DO YOU NEED B-12 SUPPLEMENTS
B-12 belongs to the B complex group of vitamins. It is stored in the liver and present in small amounts in every tissue and therefore has a role to play in almost all organ functions. But it is mainly required for DNA production, a healthy nervous system, and formation of red blood cells.
Symptoms of B-12 deficiency are muscle weakness, fatigue, unsteady gait, depression, mood and memory disorders.
B-12 deficiency can also increase levels of an amino acid called homocysteine that increases blood stickiness. These symptoms may not develop immediately because of the stores in the body. Problems surface when blood levels fall below 250 picograms per millilitre of blood.
Actually we need very little vitamin B-12 daily—about 2.4micrograms. Non vegetarian sources easily provide enough of this. Rich sources are liver, red meat, turkey, fish, and shell fish. Eggs and chicken are also good sources but with a lower content.
For vegetarians, dairy products are the only source so they must make it a point to consume at least three cups each of milk and curds daily to get enough of this vitamin. All plant products contain B-12 but in negligible amounts. Algae, barley grass and spirulina contain a kind of B-12 that is ineffective.
All vegans need supplementation of the vitamin.
In fact B-12 is produced by colonic bacteria in our large (lower) intestines, but this is passed out unutilised in stools, since its absorption takes place in stomach and small (upper) intestines only. This is probably the reason why some animals eat their own excreta!
Vitamin B12 from both natural and synthetic sources must be combined with a substance in the stomach called intrinsic factor to be absorbed. This factor is lacking in people with a disorder called pernicious anaemia.
Food sources of B-12 need stomach acid for it to be absorbed. So if acid is continuously suppressed by acid lowering drugs, even non-vegetarians can develop B-12 deficiency. Stomach acid also reduces with age and regular supplementation may be required in the old. Synthetic B-12 however does not require stomach acid for it to be absorbed.
B-12 deficiency can also occur in Diabetics taking the drug Metformin, since it interferes with absorption of the vitamin.
It can also occur in those who have had stomach surgery for ulcers or weight reduction, heavy drinkers, those taking potassium supplements, or the drug amino salicylic acid for inflammatory bowel disease, drugs for fits, and those suffering from H Pylori and Giardia infections.
Most patients respond to oral medication that can be gradually reduced over months and then maintained after levels come to normal.
Injections are required only in those with severe deficiency or those suffering from Pernicious anaemia.
Excess B-12 is also not good, so you must stop taking supplements once the levels reach upper limits. But do keep monitoring once in six months!
SPICE IS NICE
Turmeric (Haldi): It is an antiseptic, melts fat, beautifies and has anti cancer properties.
Chillies: Excellent pain killer
Cloves (Laung) and Cardamom (Elaichi): Best antioxidants.
Black pepper (Kali mirchi): It burn’s body fats
Fenugreek (Methi): It lowers Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
Nutmeg (Jayphal): Acts as a good sedative
Cumin (Jeera): Keeps you cool and is good for digestion, reduces body weight, burns fats.
Cinnamon (Dalchini): Helps in reducing Blood Sugar by delaying gastric emptying.
SMILE A WHILE
Well your weight is perfect—you are only five feet too short!
Hope you found this issue useful and interesting. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for future interactions. Before signing off, we at Ayushman wish you a healthy month—Ayushman bhava!
Dr. Geeta Sundar MD
Chief Health Counsel, IndiaOnlineHealth
5-6/A, Ramyanagari, Bibwewadi, Pune – 411037