Anemia is global problem that is on the rise. It causes fatigue, heart palpitations, impaired immunity, and a number of other symptoms. Iron deficiency is a known cause but according to a large population study published in Frontiers in Nutrition, there is also a link between magnesium deficiency and anemia, especially among women and older people. Magnesium is important for our health in general and for the formation of red blood cells, and magnesium deficiencies are rather common.
B vitamins are water-soluble and because they do not get stored in the body, we humans depend on regular intake of them. B vitamins work in synergy in a highly complicated teamwork setup. They take part in most of the body's enzymatic processes, some more actively than others. The uptake of B vitamins depends on gastric acid and digestion.
Iron is one of most important trace elements because of its role in the hemoglobin of the red blood cells that deliver oxygen to all cells and tissues in the body. Around two thirds of the body's total iron supply is found in the red blood cells and in muscle tissue. Around a third of our iron is stored in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow where the red blood cells are produced. A very small amount is used in vital enzymes in the brain, among other places. The organism has a limited ability to excrete iron through the intestinal system, the bile, the urine, and the skin. Moreover, iron is excreted through menstrual blood and breastmilk. An adult contains around 3-6 grams of iron. One litre of blood contains around 500 mg of iron. It is iron that gives blood its red colour, and the oxygenated blood in our arteries is lighter than the deoxygenated blood in our veins.
- and do not have a clue
Global heating and the whole climate debate have greatly increased the number of vegans and vegetarians. Their intensions may be good, but what they do not know is that their lifestyle can lead to serious health problems. A Spanish study of vegetarians and vegans has shown that 11% of the study participants had subclinical or clinical vitamin B12 deficiency. Earlier studies supporting this finding. Because the problem is insidious, it is often difficult to see the link between the deficiency and the symptoms caused by anemia or disturbances in the nervous system. The lack of vitamin B12 may also increase the risk of impaired fertility and development disturbances in the fetus. It is therefore a good idea for vegans and vegetarians to take a vitamin B12 supplement.
- which may lead to serious physical and mental diseases
Recent studies reveal that around 20% of people who take metformin, a drug against type 2 diabetes, are vitamin B12 deficient (or borderline deficient). Lack of vitamin B12 may cause anemia, increased risk of osteoporosis, and symptoms of the nervous system that may be confused with ageing processes. It even looks as if lifestyle changes may have a more positive effect on blood sugar management.
- this may improve vegetarian diets in the future
We need vitamin B12 for blood formation, for the nervous system, and for our cognitive skills. Vitamin B12 is almost primarily found in animal sources. However, researchers from the University of Kent in England have just made an important discovery. They have observed how some plants such as cress can absorb the nutrient when cultivated in a certain way. With this knowledge, we can make vegetarian and vegan diets healthier and more complete in the future. Many vegetarians and vegans appear to be doing just fine on their green diets, but many are unaware that a vitamin B12 deficiency can be insidious, and it may take years before they experience obvious symptoms such as anemia, tiredness, poor memory, and other signs of a nervous system that is out of balance. It is therefore a good idea under all circumstances to take a vitamin B12 supplement, until some of these vitamin B12-containing vegetable solutions are available on the market.
If you are vegetarian or vegan you need keen insight in order to know how to get enough protein, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and certain amino acids. Lack of essential nutrients can cause anemia and fatigue but may also increase your risk of serious diseases.