12 Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

12 Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 otherwise referred to as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a major role in our bodies. Anything from red blood cells to DNA is involved and it also helps our nervous system function properly. A source of vitamin B12 comes from a variety of foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy. If you're vegan or vegetarian, some fortified dairy alternatives contain Vitamin B12. The deficiency of vitamin B12 is common today, particularly among elderly people. If you don't get enough vitamin B12 from your diet, or if you can't absorb it completely from the food you eat, you might be at risk. The 12 symptoms of a deficiency of vitamin B12 are:-

1) Pale Skin 

Having a pale complexion may signal a deficiency of Vitamin B12, particularly if the individual has jaundice, a yellow tint is found in the skin and eye whites. Insufficient vitamin B12 interferes with red blood cell development, and jaundice is one consequence. 

The DNA required to shape red blood cells is heavily dependent on vitamin B12. Without it, the DNA fails crucial steps in this process, creating red blood cells that can not be separated. The end result is called Megaloblastic Anemia, where the red blood cells produced in your bone marrow are too high, making them much weaker as well. Since these red blood cells are so massive they never make it out of your bone marrow and are not spread throughout the body. Since you have less red blood cells in circulation, the skin is taking on a light color.

2) Skin, Hair, And Nail Problems 

Not only is vitamin B12 essential for blood cell development, but it's also linked to your skin, hair, and even your nails. Therefore a lack of it would have an unfavorable impact. Deficiency of vitamin B12 may cause skin yellowing, but it can, sadly, go much further. It can actually even lead to vitiligo, a disorder that leads to white patches in areas of your skin. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause acne, dermatitis, hyper-pigmentation, and even skin lesions. The quality of your hair will suffer as well, with your hair turning grey faster and falling out, and fingernails turning brown-gray in color.

3) The sensation of Pins And Needles 

A chronic lack of vitamin B12 can cause one major ramification; damage to the nerves. Vitamin B12 is closely linked to your metabolic pathway which helps to produce Myelin, a fatty substance that insulates and protects the nerves. A long-term vitamin B12 deficiency ensures that the Myelin your body produces is insufficient, hampering your nervous system's work. An example of that is the sensation of pins and needles in the hands and feet, known as Paresthesia. 

Most people are likely to experience Anemia in combination with Vitamin B12 deficiency neurological consequences. But this is not always the case; some studies also found that 28 percent of people who encountered B12 deficiency neurological symptoms showed no sign of anemia. It is important to note that 'pins and needles' is a normal symptom that people may encounter for a variety of reasons, and is not a 'guarantee' for a deficiency of vitamin B12.

4) Changes To Mobility 

If a current vitamin B12 deficiency is left unchecked, the nervous system may be so seriously affected that the very way you move is corrupted. Even your agility and balance can be impaired, thus improving your chance of falling. 

Those belonging to the over-60 age group also exhibit this effect, as people of this age are highly predisposed to deficiencies in vitamin B12. This can also be improved with care, thus enhancing versatility. However, the elderly are not the only group affected; younger people may have an acute vitamin B12 deficiency that also affects them.

5) Glossitis And Mouth Ulcers 

Glossitis refers to an inflamed tongue that can develop from a lack of vitamin B12. When Glossitis affects, the tongue color and form will be altered. Your tongue is becoming red and swollen and getting sore. Often, the taste buds on your tongue shift, as the coverings elongate and vanish. This changes how your tongue looks and gives it a smooth appearance. Glossitis also significantly affects the way of communicating and eating habits-because of the discomfort it creates. Any oral pain from mouth ulcers to an itchy mouth sensation can be a result of Vitamin B12 deficiency.

6) Breathlessness And Dizziness 

Because vitamin B12 deficiency can cause you to become anemic, this in turn can cause you to feel dizzy or experience shortness of breath, particularly when you are expending a lot of energy. This is due to the lack of red blood cells in your body, ensuring that other cells get insufficient oxygen supply. Having said that, there are many reasons why you might feel overtired or out of breath, so it's best to consult a doctor.

7) Muscle Weakness 

Did you take a lot of days off at the gym? Perhaps the foodstuffs appear heavier than before? This is also another possible indication of a deficiency of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 oxygenates your muscles and organs and helps them to perform better. The less access to oxygen the muscles have, the more likely they will fail. This leads to fatigue and even going for a walk may feel like too much to face. You may want to book an appointment with your doctor to look at your vitamin B12 levels if you experience a sudden increase in your instances of weakness without a clear cause.

8) Decreased Vision 

If you're having irregular eye issues, such as blurry vision, this may be due to lower levels of vitamin B12. The deficiency of vitamin B12 can damage your nervous system, and this can also harm the optic nerve that is linked to your eyes. The consequence is optic neuropathy, a disorder in which your eyesight is impaired by the nervous signal which makes its way from the eye to the brain. All this sounds frightening, but the treatment is simple: administration of vitamin B12, which typically reverses the damage.

9) Depression or mood changes

Many who encounter low levels of vitamin B12 usually describe it as altering their attitude. It's also not unusual to be associated with inadequate vitamin B12 in problems such as depression or dementia. A number of studies suggest that these effects may be reversed in some cases where the patient lacks vitamin B12, giving the vitamin supplement as the treatment. 

Conditions such as depression or dementia can have differing reasons for affecting a person and as such, the efficacy of vitamin B12 supplementation in these circumstances is uncertain. If you have low levels, taking a vitamin B12 supplement can improve your mood, but it can not take precedence over proven medical therapies that are used to treat depression, dementia, or changes in mood.

10) Stomach Discomfort Or Infrequent Bowel Movements 

If you are struggling with constipation or stomach pain, maybe it's not digested what you've had for lunch. Vitamin B12 improves the functioning of the red blood cells and helps to produce hemoglobin, a protein used to transport oxygen in the bloodstream. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can result in anemia, in which your blood can not carry the required oxygen to your tissues, resulting in anything from diarrhea to nausea, or even bowel problems.

11) Heart Palpitations 

Pernicious anemia is one consequence of a deficiency of vitamin B12. But this form of anemia has more effect than your digestive system; it can cause heart palpitations. You can feel the palpitations coming into action in your mouth, neck, or chest if your heart beats more than 100 beats per minute. This can happen when you get an early hit, too. 

Anemia causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, as under-produced red blood cells and hemoglobin. The consequence of this is that the heart must try to make up the difference, working vigorously to get as much oxygen across the body as possible, with the consequences being the palpitations.

12) Unexplained Fatigue 

Often you will spend the next day feeling like you want to fall straight back into bed, even after a night of restful sleep. Now, this is normal every now and then, but if this feeling persists for days, despite a regular sleep schedule, this tiredness (mixed with other symptoms) may signify a deficiency of vitamin B12. 

Researchers suggest if anyone feels stressed out, even in the face of a good night's sleep, the chances are they struggle with low levels of vitamin B12. This is due to the inadequate development of red blood cells, a mechanism that is instrumental in vitamin B12. 


Deficiency of vitamin B12 is not uncommon, and comes in several types, making it difficult to pin down, which is why you should ask your doctor for help. Pernicious anemia, or the failure to consume vitamin B12, means you need to be treated with vitamin B12 injections. These shots may continue or can move to a high-strength oral supplement.  Older adults with the deficiency will have a stronger need to continue on the vitamin, either taking it alone or as part of a multivitamin. 

In most cases, care should be the remedy. But unfortunately, if the disorder has caused nerve damage it may be permanent. The good news is, eating enough meat, dairy, eggs, and poultry will easily avoid a Vitamin B12 deficiency. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, the alternative may be to take your own multivitamin or vitamin B12; or to eat fortified foods or supplements using vitamin B12.

12 Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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