Vitamin B12 (Active) and Folate
- You believe you might not be getting enough B12 or folate from your diet
- You are vegan or vegetarian
- You have symptoms which are consistent with deficiencies in these vitamins
- You are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in virtually all meat products and certain algae such as seaweed that helps maintain healthy nerve cells, red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs, yeast extract and some fortified breakfast cereals. As this vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal-based products, those who cut out animal products from their diet are at risk of B12 deficiency so checking their B12 levels is very important.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms usually develop gradually but can worsen if the condition goes untreated, they include headaches, feeling faint, pale skin and palpitations. Pernicious anaemia is an autoimmune condition which causes the immune system to attack cells in the stomach, preventing the absorbtion of vitamin B12.
Folate is a water-soluble vitamin important for the normal production of red blood cells and in the prevention of neural tube defects such as spina bifida in unborn babies. Folate is found in small amounts in many foods. Good sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, peas, chickpeas and brown rice. Other useful sources include fortified breakfast cereals, some bread and some fruit such as oranges and bananas.
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