Healthy At Home 5 MIN READ 10646 VIEWS September 8, 2017

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms You Must Beware Of

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms may range from a blurry vision to fatigue and sometimes anxiety or dementia too. Thus, eating a Vitamin B12 rich diet is extremely important for a fit & healthy life.

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms may range from a blurry vision to fatigue and sometimes anxiety or dementia too. Thus, eating a Vitamin B12 rich diet is extremely important for a fit & healthy life. Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is a water soluble vitamin. It is one of the eight B vitamins, and is needed for the proper functioning of nerve tissue, brain function and red blood cells. Vitamin B12 can be industrially produced through bacterial fermentation synthesis.

The Recommended Dietary Amounts (RDA) of vitamin B12 is –

  • 2.4 mg for adults
  • 2.6 mg for pregnant women
  • 2.8 mg for breastfeeding women

Also, it is suggested that adults above the age of 50 years should take Vitamin B12 supplements.

Discussing Vitamin B12 Sources

Given below are some foods that are rich sources of Vitamin B12:

Tuna Raw milk
Sardine Cottage cheese
Salmon Eggs
Crab Lamb
Oysters Chicken
Trout Turkey

Who is at the Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency Diseases?

Since a majority of vitamin B12 sources are meats, vegans and vegetarians are at a greater risk of developing Vitamin B12 deficiency. The risk increases further in pregnant and lactating women. Women who are on birth control pills for an extended period of time tend to have issues absorbing Vitamin B12. Studies have shown that pills which have high oestrogen content are associated with Vitamin B12 and folate deficiency. If you’re on the pill talk to your doctor about taking Vitamin B12 supplements.

Also, people with pernicious anaemia may have low levels of Vitamin B12 in their body. Pernicious anaemia is an autoimmune disease affecting the blood. Pernicious means dangerous and it is called so because anaemia can become life threatening if not treated on time. The treatment usually involves giving Vitamin B12 shots accompanied by supplements.

People who drink more than a few drinks every day can also have vitamin B12 deficiency. Excess alcohol can disturb the stomach lining which will lead to low stomach acids, thus less absorption of Vitamin B12. Alcohol plays another role in creating a deficiency. Vitamin B12 is usually stored in the liver and excess alcohol can damage the liver and deplete the stored amount of Vitamin B12 leading to a deficiency.

Adults above the age of 50 years are also at a greater risk of vitamin B12 deficiency diseases. As you age the stomach produces less acid, and stomach acid is the key element of vitamin B12 absorption. Adults who are on medications and have poor appetite may have further reduced stomach acid levels, which in turn will be harmful. If you’re an adult above 50 years of age and have a dwindling appetite, you can consult your doctor about Vitamin B12 supplements. These days Vitamin B12 injections are also available.

10 Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms You Should Know

It is essential that you keep an eye on the signs and symptoms of deficiency of Vitamin B12. A slight dip in the level of Vitamin B12 in the body can cause depression, dizziness, tiredness, and memory problems. Excessive deficiency can lead to severe damage to the nervous system and brain. It can also cause anaemia.

Here are some of the most common vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms:

  1. Fatigue 

Vitamin B12 is often called the energy vitamin. Low levels of Vitamin B12 in your body may cause a dip in the production of red blood cells. This can lead to the person feeling confused and weak. Doctors say that the signs of fatigue are so varied in every person that it is almost impossible to find out that these are due to Vitamin B12 deficiency. Impaired thinking, dizziness, and being tired all the time can be early signs that you need to look out for.

  1. Pale Skin 

If you’ve been told that your usual glowing rosy skin looks pale and dull, it could be due to the deficiency of Vitamin B12. When Vitamin B12 levels go down, the fragile red blood cells break causing a release of bilirubin pigments that give the skin a yellowish tinge.

  1. Anxiety and Depression 

If any and everything makes you anxious and sad, it can be due to a low level of Vitamin B12 in your body. Deficiency of Vitamin B12 is closely linked to depression and anxiety. Experts don’t know exactly why the deficiency causes depression. But it may have something to do with the fact that Vitamin B12 is involved in the synthesis of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, that help to regulate your mood.

  1. Weakness

Feeling weak and out of energy can be a sign that your body is overworked. But it can also be a sign that your body is having a vitamin B12 deficiency as well as that of essential nutrients. When your muscles don’t get enough red blood cells, they feel tired and sluggish. A dip in the red blood cells is caused due to lack of Vitamin B12. Thus, if you feel tired all the time and notice other symptoms as well, you might want to consult your doctor about Vitamin B12 deficiency.

  1. Signs of Dementia

Forgetting simple things like where you kept the keys or trying hard to remember your colleague’s name can be blamed on ageing. But you’ll be surprised to know that Vitamin B12 deficiency can also show signs of early dementia. Experts also believe that often symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency are confused at dementia. Thus, it is recommended that patients with unexplained cognitive decline must be tested for Vitamin B12 deficiency.

  1. Dizziness

A lot of people who complain about being dizzy and wobbly while walking or climbing up/down stairs were Vitamin B12 deficient. Your body relies upon vitamins to make oxygen and lack of oxygen can lead to low energy. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes dizziness and fatigue.

  1. Tingling Sensation

A lot of people who suffer from Vitamin B12 deficiency get a tingling sensation in the feet and hands. Many of them also complain of ringing in their ears. Numbness, pins and needles, and strange sensations are often accompaniments of Vitamin B12 deficiency. These weird pains result due to nerve damage which is triggered by low oxygen levels in the body. Taking a diet rich in Vitamin B12 sources or taking B12 supplements can help you keep these weird sensations at bay.

  1. Vision Problems

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause various vision problems like sensitivity to light, double vision, blurry vision, and low vision. If the B12 deficiency symptoms are not detected on time, it can damage the optic nerve.

  1. Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers and a red swollen tongue can be signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency. These changes are caused by deficiency-related changes in blood flow, and can show years after the depletion has set in.

If you experience both these signs coupled with a rapid heartbeat or heart palpitations, you must consult your doctor. A simple blood test will reveal whether you are deficient in vitamin B12 or not.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Vitamin B12 

So far we have learnt about the various Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms. Let’s discuss some benefits that the nutrient provides to our body:

Vitamin B12
  1. Helps boost energy levels
  2. Helps keep depression at bay
  3. Plays an important role in protein metabolism
  4. Helps in maintaining the health of nerve cells
  5. Helps manage cholesterol and thus aiding in improving heart health
  6. May prove helpful in Alzheimer’s treatment
  7. Aids in digestion
  8. Promotes skin health & wellness
  9. Promotes hair health
  10. Is Good for healthy nails

Conclusion

Experts say that many times it becomes difficult to identify the signs and associate them with B12 deficiency. But it is always good to know the symptoms of deficiency of Vitamin B12. Make sure you eat a healthy and nutritional diet. Include foods rich in Vitamin B12. And please consult your doctor in case you want to start taking Vitamin B12 supplements.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vitamin B12 deficiency

The levels of vitamin B12 in the body are usually detected via a blood or urine test. You can also conduct the urine test at home with the help of a home test kit.

The fastest way to increase vitamin B12 levels in the body is to consume more natural foods that have good amounts of the nutrient. These foods may include cottage cheese, raw milk, tuna, chicken, eggs, turkey, and so on.

The most common cause of B12 deficiency is the inclusion of insufficient amounts of the nutrient in your diet. This way, your body is unable to get the required amounts of the same.

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