September commemorates the National Nutrition Month, a reminder for a greater focus on diet and nutrition, and the role it plays to help improve our overall health and wellbeing. While malnutrition can lead to many ailments, the deficiency of B vitamins may lead to nerve damage.
Results of the ‘P&G Nerve Health Survey’ conducted among 1800 respondents across 12 cities, showed that over 60% of the respondents ignored early signs of poor nerve health. Conducted by Heal Health and Hansa Research, and supported by Procter & Gamble Health Limited, the survey also highlights that while over 90% of the respondents believe that healthy nerves are important, only 38% know that nerves are different from blood vessels.
“Besides other factors, people with Vitamin-B deficiencies have a higher probability for nerve impairments. Special nutritional habits or malnutrition can lead to deficiencies in certain essential vitamins, like the neurotropic-B vitamins, which play a very important role in keeping your nerves healthy and protected. Like most vitamins, B12 can’t be made by the body. Instead, it must be gotten from food and supplements. Therein lies the problem as while some people don’t consume enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs, others can’t absorb enough, no matter how much they take in. As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency is found to be relatively common, especially among older people”, shared Dr. Satish Khadilkar, Dean and HOD Neurology, Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences
The P&G Nerve Health Survey was conducted towards gauging the awareness levels and perceptions about nerve health and to understand if people can identify nerve related discomforts. Results revealed limited knowledge amongst the masses about nerve health. While people had experienced symptoms related to nerve damage only 50% related it to nerve health.
“A large population of the country today suffers from Vitamin B deficiencies without knowing the causes and the risks associated with this condition including nerve damage. The P&G Nerve Health Survey, in association with Heal Health & Hansa Research, is an effort to increase awareness about nerve health, empower people to recognize the early symptoms and how it can be managed with a balanced diet and supplementation”, said Milind Thatte, MD – Procter & Gamble Health Limited.
B12 deficiency is extremely common in India – amongst other deficiencies – owing to malnutrition being extremely common. The reasons for these are many and largely related to diet and lifestyle .
“Vitamin B12 deficiency may be one of the main reasons leading to nerve problems. Good nutrition is often the first line of defence to avoid many diseases, including nerve health. The food you eat can improve your nervous system’s functioning. Knowing which nutrients nourish your nervous system can help you lead a healthier life and reduce your chances of nerve-related problems. Due to lack of awareness, people usually don’t select the right kind of diet. The nerve damage caused by a lack of Vitamin B12 may become permanently debilitating,” added Dr Mangesh Tiwaskar, Honorary General Secretary, Association of Physicians of India (API).
The national survey results also revealed that 73% of respondents relied upon vegetables and 69% of respondents relied upon fruits for vitamin B12, which are not a source.