Also called ‘cobalamin’ in pharmaceutical terms, Vitamin B12 is an important member of the Vitamin B group of nutrients. Found in meat and dairy products, as well as fortified cereals and tofu, B12 is essential for building and strengthening healthy muscles, improving blood circulation, and sustaining nerve and brain cells. Here are some symptoms that may be warning you to increase your intake of B12.

1. Lower haemoglobin count. Insufficient reproduction of red blood cells results in anaemia. As red blood cells carry oxygen, a deficiency results in a general feeling of lethargy and fatigue.

2. Palpitations and shortness of breath. An unusually rapid and strong heartbeat especially after even minimal exertion, and shortness of breath while performing simple tasks like walking or climbing stairs, could be an indication that you’re running low on B12.

3. Muscle weakness. Absorption of folic acid by the muscles in your body is impeded if you’re not eating foods rich in B12. Cramps, and sometimes, unexplained bruising can occur with the lack of this vitamin in your body.

4. Feeling low. Deficiency of Vitamin B12 is one of the causes of mood swings and depression. Production of serotonin and other brain chemicals that promote feelings of positivity may be suppressed if your diet does not include foods that are rich in B12.

5. Impaired thinking processes. Feeling irritable, groggy, confused or forgetful lately? It could all be pinned down to low B12, especially if you’re on the wrong side of 50. But even if you’re not there yet include the ‘clearer-thinking vitamin’ in your diet or as a daily supplement to develop sharper focus.