Vitamin deficiencies are something few of us have to deal with. Following a typical western diet allows a healthy person to more than meet their basic nutritional needs, provided they make sure to include enough fruits and vegetables. However, people with certain allergies, intolerances, or other conditions may experience vitamin or mineral deficiencies as a result of their illness.
I spent a little time this evening reading up on vitamin B-12 deficiency after a friend said his doctors suggested it as a potential cause for symptoms that could be related to his recently-diagnosed celiac disease. One of the main deficiencies seen in people with gluten intolerance or sensitivity is B-12, often due to associated malabsorption issues.
B-12 is found mostly in animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, cheese, and eggs. A lot of cereals are fortified with it, and you often see it added to soy milk and “fake meat” products. So while it’s slightly more difficult for a vegetarian to meet their B-12 needs, it’s by no means impossible.
Symptoms of B-12 deficiency include:
Supplements may be needed for a period of time to correct the problem. It’s just another reminder to bring up concerns with your doctor and not to overlook the diet.
I had a professor who once said that the only disease a vitamin can cure is a deficiency of that vitamin, and while most of us don’t have to worry about that, some people do. A lot of people pop multivitamins like candy even when they don’t need them, but supplements were created for a reason.
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