Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a litany of health problems because B12 is an essential nutrient. It powers the body by keeping nerve and blood cells healthy and helps to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Inadequate B12 intake can therefore cause pronounced problems.
Evidence has drawn an association between low B12 levels and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break.
The study found that men with low B12 levels had significantly lower bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip, and women at the spine, relative to those with higher B12, and trends were similar for both at all sites.
A BMD test can provide a snapshot of your bone health.
READ MORE: Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: The ‘general feeling’ that may signal you’re deficient
“These conditions can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of a blood test,” explains the health body.
It’s important for vitamin B12 to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
“Although many of the symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the condition can be irreversible if left untreated,” warn the NHS.
It adds: “The longer the condition goes untreated, the higher the chance of permanent damage.”
Vitamin B12 is also found naturally in a wide variety of animal foods and is added to some fortified foods.
Good sources of vitamin B12 include:
- Salmon and cod
- Milk and other dairy products
According to the NHS, if your vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by a lack of the vitamin in your diet, you may be prescribed vitamin B12 tablets to take every day between meals.
“People who find it difficult to get enough vitamin B12 in their diets, such as those following a vegan diet, may need vitamin B12 tablets for life,” it says.