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Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Symptoms And Prevention

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential water-soluble vitamin. It plays a vital role in producing your red blood cells and DNA, as well as the proper functioning of your nervous system. Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal foods, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk. However, it can also be found in B12-enhanced products, such as certain types of bread and plant-based milk.

Unfortunately, B12 deficiency is common, especially in older people. You are at risk of starvation if you do not get enough of your food or if you are not able to absorb enough from the food you eat.

People at risk for B12 deficiency include:

  • The elderly
  • Those who have had surgery to remove part of the intestines that hold B12
  • People on this drug are metformin for diabetes
  • People who follow a vegetarian vegan diet
  • Those taking short-term anti-heartburn medications

Unfortunately, the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to develop, and diagnosis can be complicated. B12 deficiency can sometimes be confused with folate deficiency.

Low levels of B12 cause your folate levels to drop. However, if you have a B12 deficiency, correcting low folate levels may simply mask the deficiency and fail to correct the underlying problem.

Here are 9 signs and symptoms of true vitamin B12 deficiency,

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Shortness of breath and dizziness

If you are anemic due to B12 deficiency, you may feel short of breath and feel a little dizzy, especially when you work yourself out. This is because your body lacks red blood cells that need to get enough oxygen to body cells. However, these symptoms can have many causes, so if you notice that you are breathing abnormally, you should talk to your doctor to find out the cause.

Disturbed vision

A symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency is blurred vision. When untreated B12 deficiency occurs, there is damage to the nervous system of the optic nerve leading to your eye. The damage can disrupt the nerve signals traveling from your eyes to your brain, damaging your vision. This condition is known as optic neuropathy. Worryingly, however, it is often reversible by supplementation with B12.

Mood changes

People with B12 deficiency often report mood swings. In fact, low levels of B12 have been linked to mood and brain disorders such as depression and dementia. A “homocysteine ​​hypothesis of depression” has been suggested as a possible explanation for this link.

This theory suggests that high levels of homocysteine ​​caused by low levels of B12 can damage brain tissues and interfere with signals from and to your brain and lead to mood swings. Some studies suggest that in certain people who have a B12 deficiency, supplementing with vitamins can reverse the symptoms.

It is important to note that changes in mood and various conditions such as dementia and depression can occur. Thus, the complementary effects in this situation remain unclear. If you have a deficiency, taking supplements can help improve your mood. However, it is not an alternative to other proven medical therapies for the treatment of depression or dementia.

High temperature

B12 deficiency is very rare but sometimes the symptoms are a high temperature. It is not clear why this happens, but some doctors have reported that cases of fever after treatment with low levels of vitamin B12 have returned to normal. It is important to remember, however, that high temperatures are more commonly caused by illness, not by a lack of B12.

Pale or Fixed Skin

People with B12 often look pale or have a slight yellowish tinge on the skin and white eyes, a condition known as jaundice. This occurs when a lack of B12 creates problems with the production of red blood cells in your body. Vitamin B12 plays a key role in producing the DNA needed to make red blood cells. Without it, the instructions for cell formation are incomplete, and cells cannot differentiate.

This causes a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia, in which red blood cells are produced in your large and weakened bone marrow. These red blood cells are so large that they can pass through your bone marrow and your circulation. Therefore, you do not have so many red blood cells around your body, and your skin may appear pale in color.

The fragility of these cells also means that many of them decompose, producing excess bilirubin. Bilirubin is a slightly reddish or brown substance, produced by the liver when it breaks down old blood cells. A large amount of bilirubin is what gives your skin and eyes a yellow tinge.

Weakness and Fatigue

Weakness and fatigue are common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. They happen because your body does not have enough vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body.

As a result, you are unable to carry oxygen to your body’s cells, causing you to feel tired and weak. In the elderly, this type of anemia is often caused by an immune system known as malignant anemia. People with severe anemia do not produce enough protein called intrinsic factors. The Intrinsic factor is important in preventing B12 deficiency, as it binds to vitamin B12 in your stomach so you can absorb it.

Sensor pins and needles

One of the most serious side effects of B12 deficiency is nerve damage. This can happen over time, as vitamin B12 is an important contributor to the metabolic pathway that produces the fatty substance myelin. Myelin surrounds your senses as a means of protection and resilience.

Without B12, myelin is produced differently, and your nervous system cannot function properly. Another common symptom of this phenomenon is paresthesia, or the feel of nails and needles, such as a sharp pain in your hands and feet.

Interestingly, the neurological symptoms associated with B12 deficiency often occur with anemia. However, one study found that about 28% of people had symptoms of B12 deficiency, other than symptoms of anemia.

Changes in mobility

If left untreated, damage to your nervous system caused by a deficiency of B12 can cause a change in the way you walk and walk. It can also affect your balance and coordination, making you more prone to falls.

This symptom is most often seen in B12 deficiency in adults, as people over the age of 60 tend to be deficient in B12. However, preventing or treating shortcomings in this group can improve mobility. Also, this symptom can be present in young people with a serious, untreated problem.

Glossitis and oral ulcers

Glossitis is a term used to describe a swollen tongue. If you have glossitis, your tongue changes color and shape, making it painful, red, and swollen. Swelling can also make your tongue look smoother, as all the small bumps on your tongue contain your taste buds that expand and disappear.

As well as being painful, glossitis can change the way you eat and talk. Studies have shown that a swollen and swollen tongue with long straight wounds may be the first sign of vitamin B12 deficiency. Also, some people with B12 deficiency may experience other oral symptoms, such as mouth sores, tingling sensations in the tongue, or a burning sensation in the mouth.

Pregnant or new mother?

Are you a pregnant woman on a vegetarian or vegetarian diet, and only planning to breastfeed your baby? You should talk to your doctor before you have a baby so that you have a plan for how to get enough vitamin B12 to keep your baby healthy. Without adequate vitamin B12, your baby’s development may be delayed and they may not grow and grow like them.


If you have severe anemia or have trouble taking vitamin B12, you need a shot of this vitamin first. You need to keep getting these shots, taking high doses of a supplement by mouth or taking it nasally afterward.

If you do not eat animal products, you have options. If you are deficient you can change your diet to include vitamin B12-protected cereals, a supplement or B12 injection, or high doses of oral vitamin B12.

Older adults who are deficient in vitamin B12 may need to take a daily B12 supplement or multivitamin that contains B12. In most cases, treatment solves the problem. However, any nerve damage caused by deficiency can be permanent.


Most people can prevent vitamin B12 deficiency by eating enough meat, poultry, seafood, dairy foods, and eggs.

If you haven’t eaten animal products, or you have a medical condition that limits how well your body’s nutrients are, you can take vitamin B12 in a multivitamin or other supplement and foods protected by vitamin B12.

If you choose to take vitamin B12 supplements, tell your doctor so they can tell you how much you need, or make sure they do not affect any medications you take.


What happens when your vitamin B12 is low?

Not having enough B12 can lead to anemia, which means your body does not have enough red blood cells to do the job. This can make you feel weak and tired. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause damage to your nerves and can affect memory and thinking.

Does B12 deficiency cause joint pain?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is very common, especially with age, and can result in a number of symptoms such as fatigue, balance problems, anemia, numbness and tingling in the extremities, and joint pain.

How long does B12 deficiency take to correct?

Recovery from vitamin B12 deficiency takes time and you may not experience any improvement during the first few months of treatment. Improvement may be gradual and may continue for up to six to 12 months.

Does B12 deficiency cause leg pain?

Painful tingling, numbness, twitching, calf spasms, toe-curling, burning toes, electrical shock sensations, pins and needles, and the inability to walk and to run normally were my symptoms. If you have these or other symptoms associated with B12 deficiency, see your doctor.

Can B12 deficiency cause stomach problems?

Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency involve the digestive tract. These symptoms include nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) and vomiting, heartburn, abdominal bloating and gas, constipation or diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss. An enlarged liver is another symptom.

Can Vitamin B12 deficiency affect your eyes?

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also affect your vision. As if affects the nervous system it often damages the optic nerve as well. This leads to poor vision. This can be treated with vitamin B12 supplements effectively.

Can dizziness be a sign of B12 deficiency?

Frequent bouts of dizziness and vertigo can indicate B12 deficiency. You may experience a feeling of wobbles when you get up too fast from a sitting position. You may also feel dizzy when you walk up or downstairs, it could also be dangerous.

Can B12 deficiency cause dark circles?

Vitamin deficiencies, including vitamin B12, E, K, and D, have been associated with dark circles. 4- Volume Loss: Hollowness or the sunken appearance of the eyelids is the final primary cause of dark circles.


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