11 Important Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Do you often feel weak and tired? It may be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to cognitive decline, infertility, and many more serious problems. Prevention is better than cure it is said. Today in this post, we will discuss important Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms which will help you to know its deficiency at a beginner level.
What is Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is also called Cobalamin. It is a water-soluble vitamin which is prepared only by enzymes present in Bacteria and archaea. The vitamer is produced by bacteria hydroxocobalamin and is converted in vitamin after consumption.
Vitamin B12 Requirements
The average amount of vitamin B12 requirement differs with age.
- For newborn baby’s up to 4 years of age 0.4 micrograms of B12 is required.
- For 7 months until 1 year, it is 0.5 mcg.
- From 1 to 3, 4 to 8 and 9 to13 years it is 0.9 mcg, 1.2 mcg, and 1.8 mcg respectively
- And above 13 years, it is 2.4 mcg.
- For pregnant women and lactating mothers, the amount increases to 2.6 to 2.8 mcg.
Vitamin B12 Benefits
It helps in making nerve cells healthy. Vitamin B12 helps in the formation of the protective covering of those cells. It is also called cyanocobalamin and it helps in digestion and heart health. Vitamin B12 is one of the important vitamins required for the growth and development of our body. It helps in the formation of Red Blood Corpses (RBCs), metabolizing fatty and amino acids, the formation of nerve cells and DNA. All these functions are very crucial for us, so our body should contain enough amount of B12. Generally, vegans or vegetarians are at risk of B12 deficiency since they only depend on plant source. So, there are many vitamin B12 benefits.
How Common is Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Vitamin B12 is mostly caused by low intakes. Since vitamin B12 is present in animal sources, vegans or vegetarians are at greater risk. 40% to 80% of vegetarians have a deficiency of vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is also common in
- Elderly People
- People who follow a vegan diet mostly
- Surgery that removes part of the bowel that absorbs vitamin B12
- Certain drugs like antacid and metformin that restricts its formation and absorption
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
Here is an informative video from Demystifying Medicine on vitamin b12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency causes a lack of appropriate amount of RBCs in your blood cells due to which proper oxygen supply is hampered. This causes constant fatigue amoungst B12 deficient people. You may feel tired even after a sound sleep or for no reason. It may also be due to the deficiency of a protein called Intrinsic Factor(1). It binds with Vitamin B12 and helps in its absorption. If you are facing this difficulty then get a B12 test done.
2. Weak Muscles
Since the oxygen supply to the body cells is not sufficient, the muscles and tissue experience weakness. Deficiency of vitamin B12 for a long period of time weakens your muscles. Weak muscles cause problems related to mobility. Vitamin B12 deficiency also damages the nerve cells which may cause difficulty in balance and coordination. It is one of the important vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
3. Numbness in the Body
Inadequate supply of oxygen can cause numbness or tingling sensations in various body parts such as legs, hands more often. Vitamin B12 helps in metabolizing a fatty substance called myelin. Myelin is responsible for the protection of nerve cells. Deficiency of Vitamin B12 hampers the production of myelin which ultimately causes nerve damage. This is a clear sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
4. Weak Memory
Vitamin B12 is one of the main vitamins that forms the covering of nerve cells. When your body is B12 deficient, your memory is weakened. You may face difficulty in remembering names or important passwords, dates, etc.
Sometimes we feel slightly dizzy immediately after getting up from the bed. Maybe because we just woke up. But if this happens more frequently there is a reason to be careful and get a B12 test done. The lack of Red blood cells restricts the oxygen to reach body cells. This may lead to dizziness. It is one of the important vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms.
6. Paleness in Skin
Deficiency of Vitamin B12 means a reduced count of red blood cells in the body. This also leads to an increase in the size and fragility of RBC’s which does not allow it to pass through the bone marrow and circulation. This can lead to paleness in the skin. If you see your skin getting pale then check your vitamin B12. It is one of the important vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms.
Read more: 9 Fruits for Glowing Skin
Since B12 deficiency affects our nerve cells, it creates depression and anxiousness in us. Low levels of Vitamin B12 increases the levels of homocysteine which damages brain tissues and restricts the to and fro signals from your brain. Homocysteine is an amino acid which is also responsible for cardiovascular diseases. Getting anxious very soon and for trivial reasons is one of the important symptoms of B12 deficiency.
8. Difficulty in Vision
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause damage to your eyes and you may experience loss of vision or difficulties related to it. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes nerve damage which may cause damage to the optic nerve and nerve connecting from brain to eye. This results in impaired vision and such condition is also called optic neuropathy. Yoga for improving vision is also very helpful.
9. The Smoothness of Tongue
You may notice sometimes that our tongue has little bumps called papillae, especially around the edges. Deficiency of Vitamin B12 causes glossitis which makes your tongue inflamed, swollen and red. It also smoothens the tongue and the tiny bumps on it stretch out taste buds. You may also experience soreness or burning on the back of the tongue.
10. Shortness of Breath
Oxygen is transmitted throughout our body through RBCs in blood. It is one of the main functions of RBCs, so you may experience shortness of breath. Iron is also one of the important minerals in improving the RBC count. Consuming iron-rich foods helps in it as well.
11. Constipation and Loss of Appetite
Frequent Constipation, Gas, and loss of appetite are the main symptoms of B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency indicates an unhealthy gut. A healthy gut helps in the assimilation of Vitamin B12 and facilitates bowel movements. Constipation also leads to loss of appetite. It is one of the important vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms.
Also Read: 13 Home Remedies for Constipation & Causes
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Diagnosis
If you are having symptoms given above, then get a blood test done. Different types of vitamin b12 deficiency diagnosis are
- Hemoglobin level
- Size of your red blood cells.
- Level of vitamin B12 and folate
After these tests are done, it is recommended to check with a general physician.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Treatment
Treatment for deficiency is including foods rich in vitamin B12 in your diet. Or you can rely on supplements but before that get a complete blood test done and contact a general physician.
How to Prevent Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Including Vitamin B12 rich foods in your diet and proper lifestyle may prevent the deficiency of vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 Rich Foods
All plants and animals are incapable of producing vitamin B12. The enzymes required to produce vitamin B12 is present only in bacterias and archaea. That is why Seafood, Eggs and Dairy products are rich in vitamin B12. Some vitamin B12 rich foods are
- Feta Cheese
- Cottage Cheese etc.
Vitamin B12 Overdose
The overdose of vitamin B12 is rare and practically not possible since the body simply excretes the unnecessary extra amounts through urine. It can happen due to any medical treatments. Sometimes an overdose of vitamin B12 is injected into malnourished patients in urgency. Since only a few amounts of B12 is absorbed by the body. Cyanocobalamin overdose can cause toxicity amongst individuals. Vitamin B12 overdose can cause dizziness, hot flushes, acne and nausea
So, this was all about Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms. Give me your feedback in the comment section below about how helpful was this article helpful for you.