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Nutrition / Diet

What are the health benefits of potatoes

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Potatoes are edible tubers which are distributed worldwide and throughout the year. They’re relatively cheap to grow, nutrient-rich, and can make a delicious treat.

In recent years, the humble potato has gone down in popularity due to interest in low-carb foods.

The food, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals it contains, however, can help ward off illness and improve human health.

Throughout South America, potatoes were first domesticated in the Andes, up to 10,000 years ago. In the early 16th century, Spanish explorers brought these to Europe.

Today they are the largest vegetable crop in the U.S., where the average individual eats 55 pounds, or 35 kilograms (kg) of potatoes per year. For many countries around the world they are a major staple food.

Fast facts on potatoes:

Here are some key points about potatoes. More detail is in the main article.

  • Some evidence suggests that potatoes might help reduce inflammation and constipation
  • A medium potato contains around 164 calories and 30 percent of the recommended daily B6 intake.
  • A baked potato on a winter’s day makes an economical, warming, and nutritious treat.

Benefits

Potatoes can be healthful if prepared in the right way.
Potatoes can be healthful if prepared in the right way.

High intakes of fruits and vegetables can improve health and reduce the risk of many health problems linked to lifestyle.

Potatoes contain essential nutrients which can support human health in different ways, even when cooked.

Here we look at 10 ways the potato may contribute to a healthier lifestyle, including preventing osteoporosis, maintaining heart health and reducing the risk of infection.

1) Bone health

The potato iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and zinc all help the body build and retain its bone structure and strength.

Iron and zinc play key roles in collagen development and ripening.

Phosphorus and calcium are both important in bone structure but for proper bone mineralization it is necessary to combine the two minerals. Too much phosphorus and too little calcium lead to bone loss and to osteoporosis.

2) Blood pressure

A low intake of sodium is necessary for maintaining healthy blood pressure, but increased intake of potassium may be equally significant. Potassium facilitates vasodilatation, or blood vessel enlargement.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Review Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2 percent of American adults meet the regular guideline of 4,700-milligrams.

The potatoes all contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These were found to spontaneously reduce blood pressure.

3) Heart health

The starch, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 content of the potatoes, along with their lack of cholesterol, all help heart health.

Potatoes contain large quantities of fibre. Fiber helps reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, thereby raising the risk of heart disease.

NHANES-based research has linked increased potassium intake and lower sodium intake to a reduced risk of all-cause mortality and heart disease.

4) Inflammation

Choline is an important and versatile nutrient found in potatoes. It helps in moving muscles, mood, learning and memory.

It also assists in:

  • maintaining the structure of cellular membranes
  • transmitting nerve impulses
  • the absorption of fat
  • early brain development

One big potato has 57 mg of choline in it. Adult males require 550 mg, and females require 425 mg daily.

5) Cancer

The potatoes bear folate. Folate plays a part in the synthesis and repair of DNA, and thus prevents the development of several forms of cancer cells due to DNA mutations.

Intake of fibers from fruits and vegetables such as potatoes is associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer.

Both, vitamin C and quercetin act as antioxidants, protecting cells against free radical damage.

6) Digestion and regularity

The fiber content in potatoes helps to avoid constipation and encourage a balanced digestive tract regularity.

7) Weight management and satiety

Dietary fibers are widely recognized as essential weight control and weight loss factors.

Within the digestive system they act as “bulking agents.” They increase satiety and decrease appetite, so a person feels more satisfied for longer, and is less likely to eat more calories.

8) Metabolism

Potatoes represent a great source of vitamin B6. By breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids, this plays a vital role in the energy metabolism. Those smaller compounds are easier to use for body energy.

9) Skin

Collagen is the mechanism of help to the skin. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant to help prevent sun damage, pollution and smoke damage. Vitamin C also helps to smooth the collagen wrinkles and enhance the overall texture of the skin.

10) Immunity

Research has shown vitamin C can help minimize a cold’s intensity and duration. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C.

Nutrition

How healthy the diet is for a potato depends to some extent on what’s added or how it’s cooked. All add calories to the oil, sour cream and butter but the plain potato itself is relatively low in calories.

It also offers essential nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin B6 and specific minerals.

A serving of 100 grams (g) or 3.5- ounces is just over half of a medium-sized potato. Baked with fat, this very white potato contains:

  • 94 calories
  • 0.15 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of cholesterol
  • 21.08 grams of carbohydrate
  • 2.1 grams of dietary fiber
  • 2.10 grams of protein
  • 10 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 0.64 mg of iron
  • 27 mg of magnesium
  • 75 mg of phosphorus
  • 544 mg of potassium
  • 12.6 mg of vitamin C
  • 0.211 mg of vitamin B6
  • 38 micrograms (mcg) of folate

Potatoes also include niacin, zinc, and choline. Similar varieties contain very different nutrients.

Sodium: Whole unprocessed potatoes contain very low quantities of sodium, just 10 mg per 100 g (3.5 ounces), or less than 1 percent of the daily limit suggested. This is not true of processed potato goods, including French fries and potato chips, however.

Alpha-lipoic acid: Potatoes also contain an alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) compound, which allows the body to turn glucose into energy.

Some evidence indicates that alpha-lipoic acid in diabetic patients can help regulate blood glucose levels, boost vasodilatation, protect against retinopathy and maintain brain and nerve tissue.

Quercetin: Quercetin, a flavonoid contained in the skin of potatoes, appears to have an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effect that protects the cells of the body from free radicals damage.

Flavonoids are a kind of organic phytonutrient that is thought to help protect against disease.

Antioxidants: potatoes contain antioxidant vitamin C. Antioxidants can help prevent damage to cells and cancer, and promote safe digestion and cardiovascular functions.

Fiber: The potato fiber helps sustain a balanced digestive system and circulation.

Tips

More than half of all US potatoes are sold for making French fries according to the USDA.

However, French fries are not the only or best option.

There are many cheap and easy ways to incorporate potatoes into a healthful diet.

Choosing potatoes

There are several different kinds of potatoes to choose from, including sweet potatoes. There are variations of white, red, yellow, and blue and there are a variety of choices within each colour.

Here are some ideas:

  • Baking: Use starchy potatoes, such as russets.
  • Roasting, mashing, or baking: Use all-purpose potatoes, such as Yukon gold.
  • Potato salad: Waxy potatoes, such as red, new, or fingerling potatoes, keep their shape better.

Pick solid, unbruised, and fairly smooth, round potatoes. Remove any roots or potatoes with greenish hue that display signs of decay like wet or dry rot.

It is safer to purchase unpackaged and unwashed potatoes, in order to prevent bacterial accumulation. Premature washing of potatoes removes the protective cover from the skins.

Storage

Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry setting, such as a cellar or pantry, between 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, or between 7 and 10 degrees Celsius.

Sunlight exposure can lead to solanine formation which causes potatoes to turn green. They are dangerous. Storing potatoes in the refrigerator has the effect of converting their starch content to sugar. This can offer a disagreeable flavor.

Potatoes should not be stored around onions, because both vegetables emit natural gases which cause the other to decline.

Completely grown potatoes have a shelf life of up to 2 months but the other potatoes around them can be affected by spoiled potatoes. Remove the rotten potatoes, to prevent spoiling the rest.

Preparing and cooking potatoes

The potato content of vitamins, minerals, and fibers is all in the skin, so it is safer to eat them with the skin left on.

Scrub potatoes under running water with a paring knife to scrape any marks or deep eyes. To prevent the metal from reacting with the phytochemicals in the product, using a stainless steel knife instead of carbon steel, as this may cause discolouration.

Boiled in their skins, jacket potatoes are a nutritious and quick meal. Serve with salad and fish, ham, baked beans or some other treat topped with. Cooking the skins and eating them helps retain the nutrients.

To preserve more water-soluble vitamins, potatoes can be boiled with mint and sprinkled with black pepper, or steamed.

Boil baby new potatoes to cool, then add freshly chopped garlic and mint, and olive oil, to make a balanced potato salad.

Recipes

Try some of these healthy and delicious recipes using potatoes:

Homemade BBQ chips

Roasted rainbow potatoes

Quinoa stuffed peppers

Quick and easy Mexican minestrone

Fire-roasted rosemary vegetable soup

Risks

The potato plant belongs to the family of night colors, along with the tomato and eggplant. Some of these plants are poisonous, and the potato was previously thought to be inedible. The potato shoots and leaves are poisonous, and should not be ingested.

Solanine: Potatoes that sprout or have green discolouration are likely to contain solanine, a toxic compound known to cause circulatory and respiratory problems, headaches, muscle cramps, and diarrhea. If a firm potato has sprouted or “heads” shaped it is enough to eliminate all sprouts. Nevertheless, it should not be eaten if the potato has shrunk, or has a green hue.

Acrylamide: Studies have shown that potatoes developed a chemical known as acrylamide when cooked above 248 Fahrenheit, or 120 degrees Celsius; This compound can be used in plastics, glues, dyes and smoke from cigarettes. It has been related to multiple cancers develop. Acrylamide has neurotoxic effects, which can adversely affect genes which reproductive health.

Acrylamides, fat and sodium are likely to be present in potato chips, French fries, and refined potato products. Avoiding these will help to minimize sensitivity to acrylamide.

Diabetes and obesity: Potatoes contain high amounts of simple carbohydrates, including basic ones. When consumed in abundance this may not be helpful for people with diabetes or obesity. As other foods, rather than as a vegetable, potatoes should be consumed in moderation and as a source of carbohydrates, such as rice or pasta. For a healthy diet, non-starchy vegetables should be consumed along with the potatoes. In comparison, legumes have been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes.

Beta-blockers: This is a widely prescribed form of drug for heart disease. It can cause elevated levels of potassium in the blood. When taking beta-blockers, high-potassium foods such as potatoes should be eaten in least.

Potassium: High potassium levels in the body can present a significant risk to those with kidney damage or kidneys not completely functioning. Damaged kidneys can not be able to absorb blood excess potassium, and this can be fatal.

Fertilizers: Potatoes grown in heavily fertilized soil can contain high levels of contamination by heavy metals. Someone worried about this, if they have a greenhouse, should grow their own potatoes or buy organic varieties.

A healthy, balanced diet that includes a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables can improve well-being and help prevent health issues. Rather than concentrating on one item, it is best to opt for a variety of foods.

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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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