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Vitamins (cont.)

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a very important water-soluble vitamin. It is needed for producing and maintaining new cells (nerve and red blood cells) and for making DNA. Without enough vitamin B12, you are at risk for pernicious anemia. The symptoms of B12 deficiency are fatigue, constipation, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. You may also experience a difficulty in maintaining balance, confusion, dementia, depression, and poor memory. Fortunately, you can get enough in your diet by consuming animal foods like beef, salmon, trout, tuna, chicken, eggs, and yogurt. You can also get it from fortified cereals.

The following is the RDA for vitamin B12:

Age Males and Females Pregnancy Lactation
1-3 years 0.9 mcg N/A N/A
4-8 years 1.2 mcg N/A N/A
9-13 years 1.8 mcg N/A N/A
14-19 years 2.4 mcg 2.6 mcg 2.8 mcg
19+ years 2.4 mcg 2.6 mcg 2.8 mcg

Some medications, stomach or intestinal disorders, old age, and a diet free of meat and meat products can increase the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Your doctor can perform a blood test to determine if you need to take a supplement.


Next: Vitamin C


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