Vitamin and Mineral deficiency has become too common these days, given the dietary and lifestyle choices we make. However, it is yet lesser known amongst many individuals that certain vitamin deficiencies can impact nerve health, leading to neurological problems.
Vitamin deficiencies, often stemming from inadequate diet, malnutrition, or certain illnesses, can impact our nerve health. Notably, a deficiency of Vitamin B12 can impact the central nervous system. Wondering how? Continue reading to learn more.
Importance Of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an important water-soluble nutrient that is also known as Cobalamin. It plays an important role in different physiological processes, including DNA synthesis, red blood cell formation, and neurological functions. Like most vitamins, Vitamin B12 can’t be naturally produced by our body. It, in fact, is not present in plant-based food items, but it is commonly found in dairy products, eggs, meat, and fish.
Inadequate intake of these food items can result in Vitamin B12 Deficiency, resulting in anemia and risks to neurological health. Given the dietary style, Vitamin B12 deficiency is quite common, especially for vegetarians and senior adults.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency And Its Impact On Nerve Health
Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in neurological health, and its shortage can lead to certain consequences.
Vitamin B12 is responsible for the formation and maintenance of Myelin Sheath, a protective layer around nerves. The role of this sheath is to ensure smooth transmission of signals between our body and brain. However, in circumstances of Vitamin B12 deficiency, the Myelin Sheath can break down, leading to different neurological problems.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can significantly result in myeloneuropathy and cognitive impairment. Myeloneuropathy involves damage to peripheral nerves (in the legs) and spinal cord. It is a result of weakness, numbness, and poor coordination between the brain and legs, making it difficult to walk. Cognitive Impairment, on the other hand, impacts different mental processes, including memory, focus, reasoning, decision-making, and overall physiological functioning.
Other Vitamin Deficiencies And Their Impact On Nerve Health
Although Vitamin B12 Deficiency has a great impact on neurological functioning, certain other Vitamins can also have an impact.
- Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is crucial for communication amongst nerve cells, nerve cell growth, and maintenance of nerve tissues. However, a deficiency of Vitamin D can lead to the risk of an autoimmune disease known as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) that affects the central nervous system.
- Vitamin E Deficiency
Vitamin E is known for its role in protecting Nerve cells from oxidative stress, which, if worsened, can contribute to nerve damage. A deficiency of Vitamin E can lead to peripheral neuropathy, speech difficulty, uncontrolled body movements, along numbness in certain body parts.
- Folic Acid (a B-Vitamin) Deficiency
Folic Acid is a water-soluble B vitamin, and it belongs to the B9 Vitamin group. It fulfills an important role in different body functions and is crucial amongst pregnant women. A deficiency of Folic Acid can result in malformation of the spinal cord of the fetus. Folate deficiency also interferes with the proper development of embryonic neural tubes.
Vitamin Deficiency: Symptoms And Remedies
1. Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Cognitive Impairment
- Weakness and Numbness in certain body parts
- Poor Coordination
- Difficulty in walking
- Increase intake of dairy products, eggs, meat and fish
- Vitamin B12 supplements
2. Vitamin D Deficiency
- Prone to Infections
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Increase intake of egg yolk, liver, salmon, sardines
- Exposure to sunlight
- Vitamin D supplements
3. Vitamin E Deficiency
- Speech difficulty
- Uncontrolled body movements
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Hyperreflexia or loss of reflex in the legs
- Increase intake of green leafy vegetables, seeds, and nuts, along with sunflower oil, coconut oil, and olive oil.
4. Folic Acid Deficiency
- Issues with DNA synthesis
- Issues with nerve health
- Spinal malformation in unborns
- Increase intake of citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables
- Folic Acid supplements
Overall, Vitamin Deficiencies can have a crucial impact on nerve health. However, recognizing early symptoms and improving dietary choices can pause the ill effects before the conditions become severe. For deficiency in certain Vitamins (like B12, D, and Folic Acid), taking supplements becomes crucial; however, it is important to start them only under a doctor’s prescription.