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Written by Dr.Swati Rajagopal

Bangalore: Increasing number of people are coming in with complaints of weakness and tiredness as symptoms at city based hospitals. It is only when they get examined, that it is found that they have Vitamin B-12 deficiency. This group of people are at the risk of developing several neurological problems, asserts specialists.

Dr Murli Mohan, head of the department, internal medicine and pullmonology, Narayana Health said,”We are getting a significant number of patients with symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency coming in for tests, and on examination around 2-3 of them are found to be in the severe stages of the deficiency while others have a milder form of Vitamin B-12 deficiency. This is more commonly seen among patients who are vegetarians. Animal products like meat and milk products are the rich source of Vitamin B-12.”

The other reason for the rising number could be the increasing awareness among the people.

Dr Murli further stated: “More and more people are now coming in with mild symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency. If this is left untreated it might cause several neurological problems damaging the nerve system of the eye, brain and also the blood.”

When asked about the alternative for those who are vegetarians, he said that apart from milk and milk products one could take Vitamin B-12 injections and also tablets as supplement.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is the only only vitamin that cannot be obtained from plants or sunlight. If there is deficiency, then such people are at the risk of neurological conditions such as Dementia,Alzheimer’s, memory disturbance among others. Similar situations are being witnessed by the doctors at Manipal Hospital.

Dr Swati Rajagopal, consultant physician and specialist, infectious diseases, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital also related a similar opinion. She said: “There has been an increase in the number of patients coming in with symptoms like headache, migraine and other related neurological problem that can be caused due to Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Added to this, it also comes as an additional problem along with other health issues like thyroid and diabetes.”

People are becoming more conscious and are coming in for examination early and also due to the advanced tests which are available, the recognition of the problem is faster, she further added.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency facts

Sheela Krishnaswamy, renowned diet, nutrition and wellness consultant based in Bangalore says: “Vitamin B-12 deficiency causes a different form of anemia which is known as pernicious anemia. Later it leads to growth and functional impairment.”

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is found commonly among vegetarian, especially in the older adults.

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