Study Finds Increasing Number of Young Adults at Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 611
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in the formation of healthy red blood cells responsible for oxygen transportation throughout the body. The vitamin is mainly found in animal products, such as meat, cheese, and eggs, and a deficiency can have severe health consequences.
A new study reveals that an increasing number of people, particularly the younger population, are at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency, which could have long-term effects on their health. According to the UK Essential Health Check Report, 55 percent of women and 40 percent of men in their 20s have low levels of vitamin B12.
The Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
While B12 levels typically decline with age, this study shows that women in their thirties had slightly higher levels of the vitamin. However, 45 percent of them were still deficient.
There are several possible causes of B12 deficiency, including anemia or taking certain medications. However, the most critical cause of the deficiency is due to the lack of vitamin intake in one's diet, especially in people following a vegetarian or vegan diet, and individuals who do not consume vitamin B12 supplements.
The Correlation with Veganism
The significant increase in B12 deficiency among millennials correlates with the high popularity of veganism. According to the NHS, adults between the ages of 19 and 64 need about 1.5 micrograms of vitamin B12 per day, which can only be obtained from meat consumption.
The report found that 36 percent of UK vegans are aged 25-34. Therefore, the vegan diet may pose a risk of vitamin B12 deficiency in individuals who do not consume vitamin supplements.
The Importance of Vitamin D
Another essential vitamin that plays a crucial role in the body is Vitamin D.
Vitamin D has been linked to a range of health benefits, such as preventing depression and anxiety, bone loss, heart disease, and hair loss. It is critical to maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin D in the body, especially in the autumn and winter months.
Commenting on the results of this study, Dr. Gill Hart, Scientific Director at YorkTest, said, "We have known for a long time that the body is less able to assimilate certain vitamins from food as we age. However, what this study appears to show is the opposite - with older people having the highest levels of vitamin D and a large percentage of those in their 20s with a deficiency.
Of course, we know that the science isn't wrong about the aging process, so something else might be contributing to so many young people having deficiencies in key vitamins."
Prevention and Cure
As the study indicates, a vitamin B12 deficiency can have severe health consequences.
It is crucial to maintain an adequate intake of vitamins through one's diet or supplements. While a vegan or vegetarian diet is healthy, it is essential to take vitamin supplements to avoid any deficiencies. Dr. Hart added, "Supplementation is recommended to boost vitamin D levels, however wise nutritional choices can also help." Making sure to spend time outside in direct sunlight or supplementing the diet with vitamin D can help maintain healthy levels of the vitamin.
Numerous studies confirm that vitamin B12 is associated with various health benefits and a reduced risk of depression, anxiety, and irritability. Therefore, maintaining healthy levels of vitamins B12 and D is essential for one's overall health and well-being.