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Sweet potatoes: What you should know

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In many parts of the world, sweet potatoes are a staple food. Fiber, potassium, vitamins, and other essential nutrients can all be found in them.

The terms “sweet potato” and “yam” are sometimes used interchangeably. They are, however, unrelated. Sweet potatoes have a drier texture and a higher starch content than yams.

The nutritional value and potential health benefits of sweet potatoes are discussed in this article. It also discusses how to incorporate sweet potatoes into one’s diet as well as some potential health risks.

Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes may aid in insulin sensitivity improvement.

Nutritional value

The water content of a 124 g serving of mashed sweet potato is around 98.7 g.

The nutrients in sweet potato are listed in the table below, along with the recommended daily intakes for adults. The exact requirements will vary depending on your age, gender, and level of activity (for calories).

NutrientAmount in 124 g servingRecommended daily intakes
Energy (calories)1081,600–3,000
Protein (g)246–56
Fat (g)3360–1,050 g, depending on energy needs
Carbohydrate (g)18.7, of which 6.77 g is sugar130
Fiber (g)2.4822.4–33.6
Iron (mg)0.78–18
Calcium (mg)50.81,000–2,000
Magnesium (mg)19.8310–420
Phosphorus (mg)50.81,000–1,200
Potassium (mg)2594,700
Sodium (mg)3062,300
Selenium (micrograms [mcg])0.955
Vitamin C (mg)12.875–90
Folate (mcg)7.44400
Choline (mg)14.4425–550
Vitamin A, RAE (mcg)823700–900
Beta-carotene (mcg)9,470No data
Vitamin K (mcg)5.190–120
Cholesterol (mg)1.24No data

B vitamins, calcium, and other essential vitamins and minerals are also found in sweet potatoes.

The nutritional value of sweet potato skin can be increased by eating it. The skin’s color can range from white to yellow, purple to brown. Regardless of color, it will provide additional nutrients.

Health benefits

Sweet potatoes may have a number of health advantages. Here are a few examples of how they can help a person’s health:

Improving insulin sensitivity in diabetes

An extract of white skinned sweet potato improved insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a 2008 study.

Previously, in 2000, laboratory rats were given either white skinned sweet potato or troglitazone, an insulin sensitizer. Insulin resistance was reduced in those who consumed the sweet potato.

More human studies are needed, however, to confirm these benefits.

Sweet potatoes contain a lot of fiber, which is beneficial. People who consume more fiber appear to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to studies.

A 124 gram (g) serving of mashed sweet potato, or about half a cup, contains about 2.5 g of fiber.

Adults aged 19 and up should consume 22.4 g to 33.6 g of fiber per day, depending on their age and gender, according to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Keeping a healthy blood pressure level

To maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people avoid foods that contain a lot of added salt and instead consume more potassium-rich foods.

A 124 g serving of mashed sweet potato contains 259 milligrams (mg) of potassium, or about 5% of an adult’s daily potassium requirements. Adults should consume 4,700 mg of potassium per day, according to current recommendations.

More information on foods that can help you lower your blood pressure can be found here.

Lowering cancer risk

Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. This is a plant pigment that acts as an antioxidant in the human body. Beta-carotene is a provitamin as well. It is converted into the active form of vitamin A by the body.

Antioxidants may aid in the reduction of the risk of various cancers, including prostate and lung cancer.

Antioxidants like beta-carotene can help prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules. When free radical levels in the body become too high, cellular damage can occur, raising the risk of certain diseases.

Antioxidants obtained through diet may aid in the prevention of diseases such as cancer.

Increasing regularity and digestion

Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, which can help prevent constipation and promote regularity in the digestive system.

Moreover, according to numerous studies , a high dietary fiber intake is linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Keeping your eyes healthy

Sweet potatoes are a good source of provitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, as previously mentioned. After the age of 18, the Dietary Guidelines recommend that women consume 700 mg of vitamin A per day and men consume 900 mg. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining good eye health.

A baked sweet potato in its skin contains around 1,403 mcg of vitamin A, or 561 percent of a person’s daily requirement, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).

Vitamin A is an antioxidant as well. It can help protect the body from a variety of health conditions when combined with other antioxidants.

Learn more about vitamin A here.

Immunity boosting

One 124 g serving of sweet potato contains 12.8 milligrams of vitamin C. Adult women should get 75 milligrams of vitamin C per day, while adult men should get 90 milligrams.

Scurvy is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet. Many of the symptoms of scurvy are caused by tissue problems caused by a lack of collagen.

Vitamin C also boosts iron absorption and helps the immune system. A person’s risk of iron deficiency anemia may be increased if they have a low vitamin C intake.

Inflammation reduction

An extract of purple sweet potato color may help reduce the risk of inflammation and obesity, according to a rodent study published in 2017.

Sweet potatoes are high in choline, a nutrient that aids muscle movement, memory, and learning. It is also beneficial to the nervous system.

A 2010 study found that taking high-dose choline supplements helped people with asthma manage inflammation. However, this does not rule out the possibility that sweet potato choline will have the same effect.

Advice

When purchasing and cooking sweet potatoes, make sure they are firm and have a smooth, taut skin.

Also, keep them in a cool, dry location for no more than 3–5 weeks.

Cooking advice

To bring out the natural flavor of sweet potatoes, roast them and eat them plain. Sweet potatoes have a sweet and creamy flavor that comes from their natural state.

To roast them around a campfire or on a barbecue, wrap them in aluminum foil and place in the dying coals. Leave for around 50–60 minutes, until a fork slides into them easily.

If you don’t want to eat the skins, you can just throw the potato in the coals without wrapping it in foil.

To quickly cook a sweet potato, prick it with a fork, wrap it in a paper towel, and microwave it on high until soft.

If someone wants to add a topping, they should try:

  • a sprinkling of cinnamon, cumin, or curry powder
  • a teaspoon of Greek yoghurt or low-fat cottage cheese
  • a drizzling of olive oil

Adding roasted sweet potatoes and pecans to a salad and topping it with balsamic vinegar are two other ways to incorporate sweet potato into your diet. You can also add sweet potato to pancakes or hash browns.

Recipes for sweet potatoes

Try one of these easy and healthy sweet potato recipes:

Risks factors

Potassium is found in sweet potatoes. People who take beta-blockers may not be able to tolerate a high potassium diet. These are frequently prescribed by doctors for heart disease, and they can cause potassium levels in the blood to rise.

Potassium consumption should be monitored by people with kidney problems. Those with kidney problems should avoid consuming too much. If a person with impaired kidney function consumes more potassium than their kidneys can process, severe complications can occur.

Another danger to be aware of is the possibility of pesticide contamination in some fruits and vegetables. Every year, the Environmental Working Group assigns a score to products based on their risk of contamination. Sweet potatoes were ranked 31st in 2019.

The best way to reduce the risk of contamination is to buy organic products or grow them at home.

Sources

Nutrition / Diet

How long does it take for kidney stones to pass?

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The kidneys are in charge of filtering the blood for urea and excess minerals. These substances are frequently excreted in the urine. Large concentrations of these minerals can, in some situations, build up in the kidneys, causing crystal-like stones.

Kidney stones can form in one or both kidneys. They may then flow thru the ureter, the tube that links the kidney to the bladder.

Small kidney stones usually pass thru without causing any problems and may not cause any symptoms. Larger stones can become lodged in the ureter and cause pain. They may cause issues such as infection and renal damage if they are not removed.

The speed with which a kidney stone passes can be influenced by a number of factors. More information on how long it takes to pass a kidney stone, how to speed up the process, and treatment options can be found in this article.

When to consult your doctor

doctor and patient

Smaller kidney stones may pass on their own, producing little pain. Large stones, on the other hand, can be uncomfortable and raise the risk of health problems.

Pain is a sign that a person needs to see a doctor. They’ll be able to tell if the stone has to be treated in any way to help it pass.

If people have any of the following symptoms, they should see a doctor:

  • blood in the urine
  • fever and chills
  • vomiting
  • severe and persistent pain in the back or side
  • cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • a burning feeling when urinating

These symptoms could indicate a kidney infection, which needs to be treated right once to avoid more serious problems.

Duration

Size and placement are the two key elements that determine how quickly a stone passes.

Size

A kidney stone’s size influences how rapidly it passes through a person’s body. Smaller stones pass more quickly and with less pain.

The approximate timelines for passing kidney stones of various sizes are listed below:

  • Around 80% of kidney stones with a size of less than 4 mm will pass on their own in around 31 days.
  • Around 60% of kidney stones with a diameter of 4–6 mm will pass on their own after 45 days.
  • Around 20% of kidney stones that are larger than 6 mm will pass on their own after a year. When stones are this large, however, it is better to consider surgical removal as soon as possible.

Location
The position of the kidney stone also has an impact on whether or not it can be passed naturally. Some stones develop in the kidney, whereas others develop in the ureter.

Kidney stones that form near the kidney form in the upper section of the ureter. Those that form near the bladder are those that form in the lower section.

According to a 2014 assessment of research, 48 percent of stones that develop near the kidney pass without intervention. For stones that grow close to the bladder, the percentage climbs to 79 percent.

How to speed up the process

Drinking enough of water is the best technique to assist speed up the passing of a kidney stone. The extra fluid increases urine, which aids in the movement of the stone.

A person can also take actions to avoid the formation of new stones and the growth of existing ones. These steps are as follows:

  • limiting protein intake
  • reducing calcium intake
  • consuming less salt
  • eating more citrus fruits

Citrus fruits contain the chemical citrate, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming.

Dietitians and doctors can also recommend food programmes for kidney stone management.

Pain relief remedies

Kidney stones can be inconvenient and even painful to pass. In certain circumstances, over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen may be sufficient to relieve pain.

If a person’s kidney stones are especially painful, they should speak with their doctor, who may be able to prescribe stronger pain relievers.

Treatment and surgery

Kidney stones can be treated without surgery in a number of ways. These are some of them:

  • Alpha-blockers: These drugs relax the ureter, alleviating painful spasms and helping the stone pass.
  • Calcium channel blockers: These drugs widen the ureter, helping the stone pass through.
  • Lithotripsy: This procedure uses sound waves to break the stone into smaller fragments that can pass more easily.

Surgery is rarely the first treatment option. Kidney stones greater than 6 mm, on the other hand, necessitate emergency surgery. Large stones can become lodged in the ureter, resulting in infections and kidney damage.

Ureteroscopy and percutaneous nephrolithotomy are the two main surgical options for kidney stone removal.

A general anaesthesia is required during ureteroscopy. Using tiny instruments introduced via the urethra, the surgeon removes or breaks up the stone during the surgery. A stent may then be placed into the urethra to keep it open. This makes it easier for any little stone shards to flow through.

The surgeon removes very large stones measuring 10 mm or more during percutaneous nephrolithotomy. A tiny incision in the back is used to remove the stone directly from the kidney. The surgery necessitates a general anaesthesia and a one to two-day stay in the hospital.

Recovery

The time it takes to recuperate from a kidney stone is determined by how quickly it goes. The pain should go away fast if the stone passes naturally or with minimal medication.

If lithotripsy is performed as an outpatient operation, the patient should be able to return home the same day. The amount of time it takes to recover depends in part on the type of anaesthetic used.

If surgery is necessary, most people are able to resume most of their routine activities within a day of the procedure. People who receive a stent, on the other hand, should avoid high-intensity activities until the stent is removed by a medical practitioner. About a week after surgery, something happens.

Pain medicines may be used throughout recuperation.

Conclusion

Kidney stones are often unpleasant, and passing them through the body’s system might take many weeks. If a person’s stones become very painful or if they suffer other concerning symptoms, they should consult a doctor.

Kidney stones can be treated using a variety of methods. The goal of drug therapy is to relieve pain and suffering while also allowing the stone to pass more freely.

Kidney stones that are too large to pass naturally, on the other hand, may need to be surgically removed. Within a day or two of surgery, most people are able to resume their daily activities.

Sources:

  • https://www.urologyhealth.org/careblog/a-patients-guide-to-laser-treatment-for-urinary-stones
  • https://intermountainhealthcare.org/ext/Dcmnt?ncid=520728251
  • https://urology.wustl.edu/patient-care/kidney-stones/kidney-stones-overview/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326775
  • https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/selfcare-instructions/kidney-stones-self-care
  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones/symptoms-causes
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897056/

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Uses of vitamin B-12 level test: Normal ranges, and results

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The amount of vitamin B-12 in the blood or urine is measured in a vitamin B-12 level test to determine the body’s overall vitamin B-12 reserves.

Vitamin B-12 is required for a variety of body functions, including neuron function, DNA and red blood cell formation.

Treatment is required if a person’s vitamin B-12 levels fall outside of the usual range. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause neurological symptoms as well as fatigue, constipation, and weight loss. B-12 levels that are too high could indicate liver disease, diabetes, or another condition.

Continue reading to learn more about B-12 testing and what the results indicate.

Purpose of a vitamin B-12 level test

worried lady

The vitamin B-12 level test determines the amount of vitamin B-12 in your body. Doctors can use the data to see if low vitamin B-12 levels are causing symptoms.

If a person exhibits any of the following symptoms, a doctor may recommend a vitamin B-12 level test:

Vitamin B-12 insufficiency

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is thought to affect up to 15% of people in the United States, according to research. The following are signs and symptoms of a deficiency:

  • fast heartbeat
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • poor memory
  • a sore mouth or tongue
  • confusion
  • dementia
  • depression
  • difficulty maintaining balance

Vitamin B-12 deficiency in infants can cause them to underachieve. They may have mobility issues in addition to developmental delays.

Pernicious anaemia

A vitamin B-12 level test may be required for people who have signs of low iron. Pernicious anaemia is caused by a lack of vitamin B-12 absorption, resulting in poor red blood cell causes.

It usually affects the elderly or people who are deficient in intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is a gastric material that binds to vitamin B-12 and allows it to be absorbed by the body.

The following are signs and symptoms of pernicious anaemia:

  • pale skin
  • weakness
  • weight loss
  • constipation
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite

High levels of folate in the blood

The level of folic acid in the blood is known as serum folate. High levels of serum folate might disguise the signs and symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency, exacerbating the neurological symptoms.

They can also make you more susceptible to anaemia.

Symptoms of other illnesses

Vitamin B-12 levels that are unusually high can be a symptom of liver disease, diabetes, or certain types of leukaemia. The findings of a vitamin B-12 test may be used by a doctor to help them make a diagnosis.

Risk factors

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is more common in some people than in others, especially those with low stomach acid or other digestive problems. Stomach acid helps the body absorb vitamin B-12 more effectively by separating it from meals.

Low vitamin B-12 levels are more common in the following groups of people than in others:

  • people with conditions that reduce vitamin B-12 absorption, including celiac disease and Crohn’s disease
  • people who have had gastric bypass surgery
  • those who are breast-feeding
  • people who are taking medicines such as chloramphenicol, proton pump inhibitors, or H2 blockers
  • older adults
  • children
  • vegans and vegetarians
  • people with diabetes

How does the B-12 vitamin level test work?

Vitamin B-12 status is normally determined by a blood test, but home urine tests are now available. Vitamin B-12 levels can be checked as part of a routine blood test by a doctor.

Although fasting is not required before a B-12 test, it may be necessary if the doctor is utilising the test to check at other blood components.

It is important that patients inform their doctors about any medications or supplements they are taking, as some may have an impact on the outcome.

Acknowledging the results

The following are possible results:

  • Low. Vitamin B-12 levels below 200 pg/mL are considered low. This indicates that you may have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, pernicious anaemia, or an overactive thyroid. Neurological symptoms are common in people who have low vitamin B-12 levels.
  • High. Anything over 900 pg/mL is considered excessively high vitamin B-12 status. This result could indicate problems with the liver or kidneys, diabetes, or certain types of leukaemia.

Because the ranges of results differ from one laboratory to the next, it’s important to talk to a doctor about the results and what they signify.

To rule out vitamin B-12 deficiency, the doctor may measure levels of methylmalonic acid (MMA) and other chemicals. These lab results aid in the early detection of vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency treatment

Vitamin B-12 injections are frequently required by people who have low amounts of the vitamin. These shots are more successful at boosting vitamin B-12 levels than supplements, especially when people have medical issues that make supplements difficult to absorb.

High doses of vitamin B-12 supplements may help some people improve their B-12 status. Supplements are sold in the form of capsules or liquids in pharmacies, supermarkets, health food stores. It may also be beneficial to consume extra vitamin B-12-rich foods.

Treatment for high vitamin B-12 levels

There is no upper limit on vitamin B-12 consumption because high amounts do not cause problems. Having naturally high levels of vitamin B-12 in the body, on the other hand, could be cause for alarm, since it could indicate a serious underlying condition. Doctors will focus on treating the underlying medical condition rather than the vitamin B-12 levels.

Vitamin B-12  foods.

Eggs are rich in vitamin B-12.
Vitamin B-12 is abundant in eggs.

Although low vitamin B-12 levels are frequently caused by absorption problems and other medical conditions, some people may be deficient because they do not acquire enough vitamin B-12 through their food. This is especially true for vegans and vegetarians who have been vegetarian for a long time.

Vitamin B-12-rich foods include:

  • fortified plant-based dairy alternatives
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • fortified nutritional yeast
  • fish and seafood
  • meat
  • eggs
  • dairy products

Vitamin supplements can help vegans and strict vegetarians make up for dietary deficiencies. Older persons should seek to achieve their vitamin B-12 needs through fortified meals and vitamin supplements, as supplements are simpler for their bodies to absorb than naturally occurring vitamin B-12.

Vitamin B-12 dietary recommendations

Vitamin B-12 is required in 2.4 micrograms (mcg) per day for adults and adolescents over the age of 14. During pregnancy, this rises to 2.6 mcg, and breast-feeding raises it to 2.8 mcg.

Conclusion

Vitamin B-12 is an essential nutrient that is necessary for good health. The status of a person’s vitamin B-12 is determined by a vitamin B-12 level test. This test may be recommended by a doctor to people who have symptoms of a deficiency or who are at risk of having low vitamin B-12 levels in their bodies.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency can be avoided by eating a well-balanced diet that includes many sources of the vitamin on a daily basis, or by taking supplements. If they have trouble absorbing vitamin B-12 from food, oral supplements or injections can help them avoid symptoms and consequences.

Sources:

  • https://academic.oup.com/qjmed/article/106/6/505/1538806
  • https://labtestsonline.org/tests/methylmalonic-acid
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322286
  • https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-abstract/71/2/110/1940320
  • https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
  • https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/b-12-deficiency/

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Nutrition / Diet

Uses, benefits, and side effects of vitamin B-12 shots

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Vitamin B12 shots are injections that a doctor may recommend to address a nutrient B12 deficiency, particularly if the body has trouble absorbing the vitamin.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a variety of health issues, from fatigue to permanent neurological abnormalities.

A doctor may recommend oral vitamin B12 supplementation or injections if a person’s vitamin B12 levels are low owing to a medical condition.

Injections are typically used by people who have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 or who have had stomach surgery. Shots allow the body to absorb vitamin B12 without having to pass it thru the digestive system.

The necessity of maintaining proper vitamin B12 levels is discussed in this article, as well as the benefits and risks of vitamin B12 shots.

Vitamin B12

vitamin B-12 shots

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is important for a variety of biological activities, including:

  • nerve cells
  • red blood cells
  • DNA production

Megaloblastic anaemia can make a person feel fatigued and weak if they don’t get enough vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 can be found in a variety of foods, including:

  • dairy products
  • nutritional yeast
  • some fortified foods
  • meat
  • fish
  • eggs

Vitamin B12 binds to protein molecules in animal-based diets. Stomach acid separates it from the protein during digestion, and a chemical called intrinsic factor causes the bloodstream to absorb it.

A condition known as autoimmune atrophic gastritis causes some people’s bodies to produce insufficient stomach acid or intrinsic factor. Vitamin B12 shots may be required for these people to lower their risk of deficiency, which can develop to pernicious anaemia.

Those who have had gastrointestinal surgery and whose digestive system is unable to absorb vitamin B12 properly may also require shots.

What dosage of vitamin B12 do We require?

The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for vitamin B12 are listed in the table below. The RDA is the minimal daily quantity required by the majority of healthy people in a certain group.

GroupAmount
0–6 months0.4 micrograms (mcg)
7–12 months0.5 mcg
1–3 years0.9 mcg
4–8 years1.2 mcg
9–13 years1.8 mcg
14+ years2.4 mcg
Pregnant people2.6 mcg
People who breastfeed2.8 mcg

A doctor, on the other hand, may provide advice on an individual’s specific needs.

Vitamin B12 shots

Vitamin B12 shots are a type of supplement that contains cyanocobalamin, a synthetic form of vitamin B12.

The shot will be administered by a doctor into the muscle. If they inject it into a vein, the body may lose a high amount of it through urine.

Cyanocobalamin is available in three different forms: liquid, tablet, and capsule. Certain foods, such as cereals, may be fortified with vitamin B12 in a synthetic form.

Who needs vitamin B12 shots?

Vitamin B12 injections can only be obtained with a prescription after a clinical diagnosis of low levels. Because the human liver accumulates vitamin B12 throughout time, low levels are uncommon in most healthy persons.

Some people, however, are at a higher risk of deficiency and may benefit from vitamin B12 injections or tablets.

Those suffering from vitamin B12 deficient symptoms

A doctor should be seen if you have symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anaemia.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms:

  • difficulty thinking and remembering
  • fatigue
  • heart palpitations
  • pale skin
  • weight loss
  • infertility
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • dementia
  • mood changes
  • a sore tongue
  • low appetite
  • constipation

Vitamin B12 deficiency risk factors

The following risk factors can increase the chance of developing vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • high alcohol consumption
  • older age
  • pernicious anemia
  • atrophic gastritis, which refers to inflammation in the stomach
  • Helicobacter pylori infection
  • celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • a history of gastrointestinal surgery
  • following a plant-based diet
  • pancreatic insufficiency
  • AIDS
  • some hereditary conditions that affect vitamin B12 absorption

Those suffering from gastric people

Vitamin B12 release and absorption may be affected by gastrointestinal conditions.

These are some of them:

  • pernicious anemia, which can lead to gastric atrophy, or damage to the stomach
  • fish tapeworm infestation
  • bowel or pancreatic cancer
  • folic acid deficiency
  • overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine
  • celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease

People who have had gastrointestinal surgery, such as weight loss surgery, may have less of the cells that secrete stomach acid and intrinsic factor. Vitamin B12 absorption may be affected as a result of this.

Older adults

According to research published in 2015, vitamin B12 deficiency is more common in people over the age of 60, and certain people may benefit from vitamin B12 injections.

The researchers discovered that disorders linked to decreased stomach acid production, such as gastric atrophy, are more common in older persons. Low stomach acid also encourages the growth of some bacteria, which depletes vitamin B12 reserves.

Vegans and vegetarians

Because vitamin B12 is mostly found in animal sources, people who eat a plant-based diet are more likely to be vitamin B12 deficient.

In a 2010 study of 689 males, researchers discovered that those who ate a plant-based diet had greater rates of vitamin B12 insufficiency. Compared to just 1% of people who ate meat, over half of vegans and 7% of vegetarians had inadequate vitamin B12 levels.

Vitamin B12 is transferred to the infant through the placenta and breast milk, thus vegetarians and people who are pregnant may need to take supplements or eat fortified foods. If the baby is exclusively breastfed, he or she may not get enough vitamin B12. This can result in long-term and serious neurological problems.

A doctor may propose injections in rare circumstances, but research shows that taking extra vitamin B12 by mouth is just as beneficial as getting an injection in a muscle. It is also less expensive.

Benefits

Vitamin B12 shots may be recommended by a doctor for people who are at risk of deficiency or its repercussions.

Vitamin B12 injections may help to lower your risk of developing the following conditions:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • neurological disorders
  • problems with thinking and memory
  • vision loss
  • infertility
  • neural tube defects in children born to those with a vitamin B12 deficiency

Risks

Because the risk of toxicity or overdose is low, there is no upper limit for vitamin B12 intake. Vitamin B12 injections, on the other hand, may have unintended consequences.

If a person has any of the following symptoms, or if they persist or worsen, they should get medical help:

  • pain, redness, or itching at the site of the injection
  • mild diarrhea
  • a swelling sensation in the body
  • temporary itching of the skin

There may also be a risk of:

Anyone experiencing trouble breathing, hives, or swelling should seek immediate medical attention. They could be suffering from anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Drug interactions

Certain drugs may interact with vitamin B12. Before obtaining a vitamin B12 shot, people should always tell their doctor about all prescription and over-the-counter medications they are taking.

The following are some of the most regularly prescribed drugs that may interact with vitamin B12:

  • H2 receptor antagonists
  • metformin
  • proton pump inhibitors

Medical disorders and allergies

Before having a vitamin B12 shot, anyone with allergies or medical issues should always consult a doctor.

Shots of vitamin B12 may not be appropriate for those who have a history of:

  • hypokalemia, or low potassium levels
  • deficiencies in other nutrients, particularly folic acid and iron
  • sensitivity to vitamin B12
  • Leber’s disease, which affects the optic nerve
  • kidney problems

Conclusion

While most people obtain enough vitamin B12 from their diet, some people do not. This could be caused by low intrinsic factor levels in the digestive system, a digestive disease, or eating a plant-based diet.

The American Dietary Guidelines for 2020–2025 propose that vitamin B12 and other nutrients be met first and foremost through food.

If dietary sources are inadequate, a doctor may prescribe supplementation in the form of tablets or injections, depending on the cause of the deficiency.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441923/
  • https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/10310/autoimmune-atrophic-gastritis
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933506/
  • http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-B12
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318216
  • https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/lookup.cfm?setid=579bd1fe-51a1-403f-a422-0fb701aab57d
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/recommended-dietary-allowance
  • https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6494183/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25756278/

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