Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

 

What is Vitamin B12 and Why is it Important?

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that is necessary for the body to function properly. It helps keep nerve and blood cells healthy. B12 also assists in making DNA and creating new red blood cells. If someone does not get enough B12, either through diet or trouble absorbing the injectable Vitamin B12 they eat, they can develop health problems.

What Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

There are three main reasons why someone might become deficient in vitamin B12:

  • Inadequate Intake: Some people may not eat enough B12-containing foods like meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Vegans and vegetarians often do not get enough B12 from their diets.
  • Digestive Problems: Certain digestive disorders make it difficult for the body to properly absorb vitamin B12 from foods. These conditions affect the stomach, small intestine or pancreas.
  • Medications: Some medications reduce stomach acid, which is needed to absorb B12. Examples are drugs for heartburn or ulcers.

What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Here are 12 common signs of not having enough vitamin B12:

  • Severe fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Dizziness, especially when standing up quickly
  • Very pale or slightly yellowish skin
  • Constipation
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Depression, confusion and memory loss
  • Numbness and tingling in the arms, legs and fingers
  • Smooth, red tongue
  • Vision issues like blurred or double vision
  • Nerve damage that causes walking problems
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • For women, missed menstrual periods

Who is Most at Risk of B12 Deficiency?

Certain people have a higher chance of having low B12 levels. Examples are adults over 50 years old, alcoholics, vegetarians, people with celiac or Crohn’s disease, and those taking heartburn, diabetes or seizure medication.

When Should I Consult a Doctor?

You should make an appointment to see a physician right away if experiencing any signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. Establishing the cause through blood testing is very important, especially if you have severe fatigue or neurological symptoms.

How do Doctors Diagnose and Treat Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Blood Testing: Doctors can check blood levels of vitamin B12, MMA and homocysteine to determine if someone is B12 deficient.

Vitamin B12 Injections and Supplements: Treatment typically involves getting injectable Vitamin B12 or taking high-dose B12 supplements, possibly for life for those with absorption conditions. Correcting deficiency can reverse problems associated with low B12.

How Can I Prevent a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Eating more meats, seafood, eggs and dairy products gives the body adequate B12. Fortified cereals and nutritional yeast also provide B12. Those at higher risk should take supplements to prevent deficiency. Getting enough of this essential nutrient will help avoid deficiency symptoms from developing. Don’t ignore symptoms if they show up. Seeing a doctor right away helps resolve issues before permanent complications arise.

In Conclusion

Vitamin B12 deficiency might cause tiredness, appetite issues and walking difficulties. Know your risk based on age, diet and medicines taken. Working closely with your physician to diagnose and fix this relatively common deficiency before lasting effects occur is so important. Increasing intake by improving diet and taking supplements when necessary goes a long way in preventing low B12 blood levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the first indicators of low vitamin B12?

Early signs include extreme tiredness, dizziness, fast heartbeat, digestive problems and poor appetite.

How long does it take to fix vitamin B12 deficiency?

Most people start feeling better in 1-2 weeks after beginning B12 supplements or shots. Full recovery takes about 2 months for those correctly treating their deficiency. Reversing neurological issues can take up to 18 months.

Can excessive Vitamin B12 levels be harmful?

Taking more than 2000 mcg daily long-term might possibly lead to pimples, mood changes or insomnia. However, vitamin B12 is generally considered safe, even at higher doses.

How much B12 should be taken every day?

The recommended daily Vitamin B12 intake is around 2.4 mcg. Doses from 25-100 mcg per day are often used to successfully treat or prevent B12 deficiency.

Is 1000 mcg of B12 daily too high?

A daily dose of 1000 mcg is generally not considered excessive. Because it dissolves in water, excess vitamin B12 gets flushed out in urine. Larger doses could be prescribed to fix deficiency faster.