What kind of harm can a long-term deficiency of vitamin B12 cause? My friend’s doctor suggested that it may have caused my friend to have a seizure.
Well, the doctor has a lot more information about your friend’s medical condition and may have drawn that conclusion based on other complicating factors. In general, though, vitamin B12 deficiency alone is not known to cause seizures.
Vitamin B12 , also called cobalamin, is a critical nutrient for maintaining health. Deficiency is a fairly widespread problem, particularly among the elderly. The cause is not always inadequate intake. Some people have problems that prevent their bodies from absorbing and utilizing the vitamin.
Vegans (vegetarians who eat no eggs or dairy) are at risk of developing B12 deficiency unless they take a supplement. That’s because the only sources of the vitamin are meat, fish, eggs and dairy. A parasite found in fish may also cause a deficiency.
Prolonged deficiency of B12 may cause muscle weakness, mental confusion, nerve damage, memory problems, depression and a few other symptoms. Vitamin B12 is needed to manufacture red blood cells. A severe deficiency can cause a disease called pernicious anemia, in which the number of red blood cells sharply declines.
This type of anemia may cause some of the same problems as a less severe deficiency of B12. Symptoms may also include numbness or tingling in the limbs, jerky motions, vision problems and others.
Pernicious anemia used to be a very dangerous condition, but today, it can usually be successfully treated with vitamin B12. However, since the cause of pernicious anemia is usually an absorption problem in the digestive tract, pernicious anemia is often treated with B12 injections.