Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important vitamin for the body as it plays a very important role in the production of red blood cells and DNA, in addition to maintaining a healthy nervous system.
Vitamin B12 can be obtained from natural sources in animal foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy products, and it can also be obtained from products fortified with vitamin B12, such as some types of bread and plant milk.
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Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, especially in the elderly, and those with certain diseases that affect the absorption of the vitamin in the body, or malnutrition, among the people at risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency are:
- Diabetics who use metformin.
- Shoppers of strict vegan diets.
- Long-term users of anti-acid stomach medications.
- Undergoing a bypass operation to remove a portion of the intestine that affects the absorption of vitamin B12.
One of the common cases is confusion between vitamin B12 deficiency and folate deficiency, the symptoms may be similar in addition to that vitamin B12 deficiency leads to a deficiency of folic acid, and treating the problem of folate deficiency in these cases leads to ignoring the main problem, which is vitamin B12 deficiency.
How do you know if your b12 is low?
- The pallor of the face and jaundice
People with vitamin B12 deficiency often look pale or have a slight yellowish tinge to the skin and the whites of the eyes, a condition known as jaundice, due to problems with the production of red blood cells.
Vitamin B12 also has a role in the production of the DNA necessary for the production of red blood cells, and when there is any deficiency in it, this affects the production of cells and they are manufactured incomplete and the cells cannot divide.
All this causes megaloblastic anemia, in which the red blood cells that are produced in the bone marrow are fragile and large, and this leads to the decomposition of a large number of them and the production of a substance called bilirubin in large quantities, as the increased presence of this substance in the blood leads to For jaundice.
- General weakness and fatigue
Not containing an adequate amount of vitamin B12 in the body affects the production and functioning of red blood cells, thus the cells’ ability to carry sufficient oxygen to all parts of the body, thus feeling tired and exhausted.
- Tingling sensation (pins and needles)
As we mentioned previously, vitamin B12 is important for the health of the nervous system, so its deficiency works on nerve damage, as it is important in the metabolic pathway to produce myelin that works on surrounding nerves and providing protection for them.
However, the presence of the tingling sensation alone is not sufficient to indicate the presence of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Impact on movement
In the event that severe vitamin B12 deficiency is not treated and the deficiency continues to deteriorate and affect the nervous system, this leads to changes in the way of walking and movement, as it affects the balance of the body, which increases the possibility of falls.
Infections and mouth ulcers
Studies have shown that a sore or swollen tongue that contains long, straight lesions, meaning that the small bumps on the tongue disappear, can be an early sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
The disappearance of the small bumps in the tongue and their expansion affects the taste process, and sore tongue or mouth sores are very painful and affect the way we eat and speak.
Shortness of breath and dizziness
A person may develop anemia resulting from a lack of vitamin B12, and this makes him feel dizzy or dizzy and short of breath, especially in the case of stress, due to the body’s lack of red blood cells and thus a lack of oxygen to the body’s organs.
The effect of vitamin B12 deficiency on the nervous system makes it possible to affect the optic nerve that leads to the eyes.
Where it can affect the nerve signals that travel from the eye to the brain, causing double vision or a condition called optic neuropathy.
Mood changes and cases of dementia or depression have many common causes, but in some cases they are caused by a B12 deficiency.
The homocysteine hypothesis for depression has been put forward to explain the relationship between 12 deficiency and depression, as this hypothesis indicates that the automatic levels of homocysteine resulting from the low level of vitamin B12 in the blood can cause damage to the brain tissue and the signals to and from the brain, which leads to changes. the mood .
Fever is a rare symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency, but some doctors have reported an improvement in some cases of fever when treating a B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common and can present with different symptoms and it may take years for symptoms to appear, so it can be prevented by eating a balanced diet that meets the body’s need for vitamin 12.
A doctor should be consulted if the symptoms increase and are abnormal.