Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common vitamin or minerals deficiency affecting vast majority of population. It can occur at any age but is more common in elderly above the age of 50. Signs and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are;

  • Numbness
  • Tingling or pins and needles sensation in hands and feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Paleness
  • Nervousness
  • Severe joint pain.

In extreme cases the vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to

  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Paranoia and delusions
  • Loss of smell and taste

In order to understand the causes and treatment of Vitamin B 12 deficiency clearly , it is essential to understand the role of vitamins b12 in human body , how much it is required and food sources.

Functions of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 also called cobalamin is one of the water soluble vitamins . It is especially important for the maintenance of healthy nerve cells . It helps in the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and red blood cells. Vitamin B12 along with folic acid produce a compound called S-adenosylmethionine which plays an important part in immune system and helps to regulate brain chemicals effecting mood such serotonin, dopamine and melatonin. Vitamin B12 also works with other B vitamin to control blood levels of amino acids and homocysteine.

Recommended dietary allowance

The recommended intake of vitamin b12 are provided in dietary reference intake (DRI) for adults and average intake for infants. The RDA of vitamin B12 is expressed in microgram.


0-6 months 0.4 mcg

7-12 months. 0.5 mcg


1-3 years 0.9 mcg

4-8 years. 1.2 mcg

Males and females

9-13 years 1.8 mcg

<14 years. 2.4 mcg

Pregnancy. 2.6 mcg

Lactation. 2.8 mcg

Food sources

Human body is unable to produce vitamin B12 so it must be supplied through diet in sufficient amount in order to avoid deficiency. Vitamin B12 is found in the tissues of animals and is therefore present in food from animal sources including liver, kidneys, Muscle meat, poultry, fish, milk and milk products and eggs. It is not present in fruits and vegetables so people on vegetarian or vegan diets are more susceptible to vitamin b12 deficiency. There are many commercially available breakfast cereals that are fortified with B12 in order to ensure bioavailability of this vitamin to particular group.

Causes of vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency is more prevalent in older people . The major cause of B12 deficiency in older adults is due the lack of inteensic factor, a protein which ia required for the absorption of vitamin B12 from food . This type vitamin B12 deficency is called pernicious anaemia and is more common in;

  • Adults over 60
  • Women
  • And people with postive family history of autoimmune disorders.

Common causes of vitamin b12 deficiency include

  • A strict vegan diet
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Thining of stomach lining
  • Intestinal surgery
  • Medications
  • Digestive disorders

The infants born to vegetarian pregnant mothers are more succeptible to vitamin B12 deficiency.


The treatement of vitamin B12 deficiency include nutritional intervention along with proper supplementation. A person on strict vegetarian diet or vegan diet are recommended to use B12 supplements daily between meals. Also commercially available vitamin b12 fortified cereals ,soya and yeast products can be used instead of the normal ones to ensure sufficient intake of vitamin B12.

For individuals not on any diet restrictions it is essential to include liver, milk, eggs and fish in diet frequently because it carries a good supply of vitamin B12 and other important nutrients.

Treating common cold and cough with diet

Cold and cough are the contagious and the most common ailment people normally suffer several times throughout the year. Usually over the counter medications are offered to the patients suffering from cold and cough, but these medicines doesn’t really cure the symptoms just offer temporary relief. There are several ingredients in our pantry which can help to ease the symptoms of cold and cough. Cold and cough lasts for two weeks and after that time period it automatically clears up.

Signs and symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of cold are

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Fever and chills , if the cold is caused by bacterial infections

Food to relieve cold and cough symptoms

Cold and cough symptoms usually subsides in a week or two without any medicines. Healthy food and drinks are especially important in order to ensure quick recovery from the symptoms.

Drink plenty of fluids

Drinking plenty of fluids is extremely important to remove mucus and to prevent dehydration accompanied by fever during bacterial infections. An adult should take at least 2 litres of water in cold and cough. Many hot drink are especially helpful in sore throat and also helps to reduce chest congestion. Fluids which are proved to be helpful are;

  • Lemon and honey in warm water
  • Chicken broth and chicken soup
  • Herbal tea with ginger and cinnamon
  • Fresh turmeric boiled in milk


Antioxidants plays a vital tole in the prevention and treatment of common cold and cough. The antioxidants found in food helps to fight against free radicals which can cause damage to parts of cells by a process of oxidation. Studies reveals that antioxidants found in most fruits and vegetables helps to boost immune system and relieve cold and cough symptoms . It also helps to shorten the duration of these ailments. Some of the antioxidants rich foods which are found to be effective in old and cough includes

  • Ginger
  • Honey
  • Garlic
  • Chilli pepper
  • Vitamin C
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

Omega 3 fatty acids

The benefits of omega 3 have been widely discussed for boosting immune system and reducing inflammation throughout the body. Numerous studies advise that daily use of fish oil capsules helps to prevent cold in winter season. Rich sources of omega 3s are

  • Fatty fish
  • Flaxseeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts

Foods to avoid

There are numerous foods which causes discomfort in cold and cough and also delay the recovery

  • Caffeinated beverages causes dehydration.
  • Deep Fried food releases an airborne irritant which trigger coughing
  • Processed foods are high in sugars, salts , and low quality fats which tend to worsen the symptoms.
  • Tobacco is the leading cause of chronic bronchitis in individuals.
  • Fruits such as banana, oranges and mango increases phlegm production and trigger cough.


Ulcers affects millions of people each year. A peptic ulcer more commonly referred as a stomach ulcer is the lesion on the lining of stomach ,small intestine or oesophagus. Ulcers commonly occurs as a result of microbial or chemical abnormalities that in-turns disrupts the mucosal integrity.

Types of peptic ulcers

There are two common types of peptic ulcers

Gastric ulcer: The lesions that form in the lining of stomach are called gastric ulcers.

Duodenal ulcers: when the peptic ulcer develops in the first part of your gastrointestinal tract or duodenum , it is called duodenal ulcer.

Causes of peptic ulcers

Normally malfunctioning of more than one mechanism result in ulcers to develop. The most common factors that results in erosion of stomach or duodenum lining are;

  • Helicobacter pylori , a bacteria which causes infection in the stomach .
  • Frequent use of aspirin or other NSAIDs inflamed the lining of stomach and intestine and increases the risk of developing ulcers.
  • Stress ulcers which occurs as result of trauma, burns, renal failure or radiation therapy.
  • Smoking also aggravate peptic ulcers symptoms especially in patients who are infected with H.pylori.


The symptoms and intensity of symptoms in peptic ulcers depends upon the location and type of sores. One of the most common symptom of peptic ulcer is the intense pain in the middle of the stomach. Other symptoms include rapid weight loss, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, acid reflux, dark coloured stools, bloating and anorexia.

Diet managementin peptic ulcer

Nutritional care along with proper medication is extremely important in the treatment and prevention of peptic ulcers. The primary goal for diet management is to reduce the pain and the intensity of symptoms and to prevent excessive weight loss.

Following are some dietary recommendations for individuals suffering with peptic ulcers

  • Diet rich in fiber is advisable for patients with peptic ulcers. The fiber is believed to neutralise the concentration of bile acids in stomach and regulate bowel movement.
  • Regular intake of yogurt is very effective as it contains probiotics which tend to suppress the infections caused by bacteria H.pylori in peptic ulcer patients.
  • Persons suffering from peptic ulcers are advised to avoid specific spices such as black pepper and red chillies as it cause superficial erosion on the mucosal lining.
  • Protein foods temporarily buffer or neutralise acid secretions and are important for healing of the wounds. Apt for proteins present in eggs and white meat as it takes less time to digest because of the low fat content .Remove skin before cooking and chew thoroughly in order to avoid discomfort caused by larger particles to the lesions.
  • Caffeine found in tea and coffee stimulates acid secretion and cause discomfort and increase inflammation . Tea and coffee should be completely avoided.
  • Avoid larger meals at bedtime to reduce acid secretion at night time.
  • Fruit juices and soft drinks causes inflammation in discomfort in some patients suffering from mouth or oesophageal ulcers and should be taken with caution.
  • The use of antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acid are also found to beneficial in peptic ulcers caused by bacterial infections.

Olives and Olive oil

The olives are the small, bitter taste fruit formed from the ovary of the olive flower of the tree olea europea. They are found abundantly in countries of the Mediterranean coast including Portugal , southern Asia, east China , Saudi Arabia , Argentina, Norfolk Island, California and Bermuda.

Olives because of its bitter taste are unable to eat straight from the tree. They are usually first soaked in brine for couple of months and then used in savoury dishes and snacks. Olive oil is made by pressing whole olives. Olive oil is commonly used in cooking , salad dressings as well as for hair and skin care. Olives can be picked up to make oil or pickled when they are unripe and green. The oil made from unripe fresh fruit is called extra virgin oil. Olives when left on tree turned purplish black . In either ways olives can’t be eaten fresh.

Nutrition facts of Olive

Olives are the low calories food used in savoury dishes and salads. 100 grams of canned or pickled olive contains;

  • 145 calories
  • 3.8 grams carbohydrates
  • 15.3 grams fat
  • 3.3 grams fiber
  • 1,556 milligrams sodium
  • 3.8 milligrams vitamin E
  • 393 IU vitamin A
  • 0.1 milligram copper
  • 52 milligrams calcium
  • 0.5 milligram iron
  • 11 milligrams magnesium

Health benefits of olives

  • Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids

Olives are rich in fats . Almost 74 % of which are oleic acid , which is a type of monounsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fatty acids are linked with several health benefits which includes;

  • Decrease in inflammation and relieves pain
  • Reduce risk of heart diseases by lowering the level of bad cholesterol in blood
  • Anti cancer properties . Studies reveal, those who consume Mediterranean diet with large amount of olives have lower risks of developing cancer and tumours.
  • Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity

  • Antioxidant properties

Olives are rich in antioxidants vitamin E , selenium and zinc as well as phytonutrient oleuropein. Oleuropein is exclusively found in olives which helps to decrease oxidation of LDL . It also helps to protect oxygen related damage to nerve cells, increases the level of glutathione in blood. Glutathione is an important anti oxidant that is capable of preventing damage to the nerve cells caused by free radicals. The vitamin E content of olive is more in green olives and tend to decrease with ripening.Therefore the extra virgin olive oil made from fresh olives have the maximum amount of vitamin E , which itself is a powerful antioxidant.

Olive Oil

Olive oil provide variety of health benefits, if consumed on regular basis. They are rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids and contains 0 percent of sodium . They are rich in antioxidants especially beneficial polyphenols which gets lost during processing whole olives in brine. The oleuropein content is more in olive oil than olives which gives the characteristic bitter taste to fresh olives.

How to use olive oil in foods

  • Olive oil makes an excellent salad dressing when mixed with lemon, salt and pepper.
  • Vegetables can be sautéed in olive oil and added in rice ,pasta and noodles.
  • Polish meat, chicken, fish and kebabs before grilling to give extra flavour to your savoury.
  • Make a tasty hummus by mixing boiled chick peas , lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt , pepper and cumin in grinder.
  • Toast your bread with chopped garlic and olive oil to make a delicious garlic bread.