Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies. Two main reasons for this condition are the practices that are often adopted to improve health: a strict vegetarian diet and weight-loss surgery.
Lack of vitamin B12 in the blood has a wide variety of symptoms due to the fact that vitamin B12 is a potentiator for numerous bodily functions. Frustratingly, many people chalk up symptoms of a deficiency to stress or being too busy.
We listed 8 top symptoms for you of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Check them to see if you need more vitamins.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
6. Weakness, Lightheadedness, Fatigue
According to the director of wellness at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, Michael Roizen, weakness and tiredness are one of the most common symptoms of lower vitamin B12 levels.
When your vitamin supply decreases, your body produces fewer red blood cells, which are necessary for the spread of oxygen. As a result, you feel sleepy, tired, exhausted, and even dizzy.
Many people mistake these symptoms for poor sleep, long work hours, and stress. However, if your general condition is getting worse, see your doctor and have a blood test to check your B12 levels.
5. Shortness Of Breath
One of the possible physiological signs of vitamin B12 insufficiency is shortness of breath when exercising.
Vitamin B12 contributes to the production of hemoglobin, the protein that transports oxygen in the bloodstream.
Vitamin deficiencies can decrease the flow of oxygen to the tissues, causing anemia causing shortness of breath and weakness.
Contact your doctor for a physical exam if you experience unexplained fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath, sore tongue, or any other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
4. Nerve Damage And The Sensation Of “Pins And Needles”
In the nervous system, vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of myelin, a white sheath around nerve fibers that increases the speed at which impulses are conducted.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to degeneration of the spinal cord, optic nerves, brain tissue, and peripheral nerves.
Without the protection of vitamin B12, the nerves of the spinal cord can decay and you will feel wobbly. As a result, you will trip and lose your balance more often, even when walking on flat surfaces.
3. Pale Or Jaundiced Skin
Another physical indication of low vitamin B12 is jaundice on your skin or the whites of your eyes. Red blood cell production depends on vitamin B12.
Inadequate production of red blood cells causes an anemic condition called megaloblastic anemia. With this condition, red blood cells are large, fragile, and unable to divide.
They are too large to pass from the bone marrow into the bloodstream. Therefore, you do not have as many red blood cells circulating throughout your body, and your skin may look pale.
Bilirubin is a slightly red or brown substance that is produced by the liver when it breaks down old blood cells. Large amounts of bilirubin, which are trying to break down the large red blood cells, are what give the skin and eyes a yellow tinge.
2. Swollen, Inflamed Tongue
If you are vegan, have certain diseases of the digestive system, or exaggerate alcohol, you are at risk of having a vitamin B12 deficiency.
The oral manifestation of a lack of vitamin B12 in the blood is glossitis characterized by a fleshy, red, and smooth tongue. Since your body doesn’t have enough vitamin B12, DNA synthesis becomes impaired.
As a result, epithelial cells in the mouth begin to divide rapidly, causing glossitis, angular cheilitis, recurrent oral ulcers, and oral candidiasis. The symptoms of glossitis may come and go intermittently and worsen as the day progresses.
If you notice any of these symptoms, try to change your eating habits: include more animal products, such as meat, chicken, clams, oysters, eggs, or cereals enriched with B12.
1. Constipation, Loss Of Appetite, Gas
There are many different reasons that can cause digestive problems, such as constipation or gas, and one of them is vitamin B12 deficiency.
If ignored, a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to chronic constipation, upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
Low vitamin levels affect the normal function of the gastrointestinal tract. To restore the normal level of vitamin B12 and relieve constipation, you can take a vitamin B12 supplement.
Most people with vitamin B12 deficiency do not have an intrinsic factor: a protein secreted by the stomach, necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12.
It binds to vitamin B12 and leads to absorption from the intestine. Due to its lack, your digestive system cannot absorb B12. In that case, all you can do is take vitamin B12 injections.
Do you know more symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency? Share your knowledge with us in the comments.