The effects of vitamin B12 deficiency can be quite noticeable, and if you lack this vitamin due to poor diet or something else, you are likely to feel exhaustion, lack of breath, lightheadedness, poor vision, muscle weakness, depression, the list goes on.
Since vitamin B12 takes part in many bodily functions, from producing DNA, RNA, and red blood cells, to giving energy, deficiency of B12 can be followed by a number of symptoms.
People who often feel a sudden head rush when getting up after sitting a long period of time or while climbing up a flight of stairs, could be lacking vitamin B12.
Deficiency of this vitamin is characterized by dizziness, and losing one’s balance when moving too fast. So, if you’re feeling dizzy more often than usual, you should see your physician and take a blood test to see your B12 levels.
2. Numbness or Pins And Needles
All of us have felt the strange sensation of numbness i.e. pins and needles when we have a part of our body pressed against something for a long time. But if this happens when parts of your body are under no pressure at all, it might point to lack of vitamin B12.
When you lack B12, your blood pressure becomes lower and it reduces the creation of healthy RBCs in your blood, therefore reducing oxygen supply to other organs, and this is what causes the numbness.
3. Pale Or Yellow Skin
One of the most frequent symptoms of B12 deficiency is pale or yellow skin. When levels of vitamin B12 in your body drop, red blood cells become frail and will break down into bilirubin. The yellow tint your skin has may be caused by the increased levels of bilirubin.
4. Skin Lesions, Vitiligo, and Sore Tongue
Deficiency of B12 can also result in skin conditions like vitiligo, dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, and even acne.
Skin wounds, particularly those who do not respond to treatment and medicine, are probably caused by lack of B12 vitamin. Moreover, a sore or inflamed tongue is another indication of B12 deficit.
The tongue will become smooth and lose its taste buds, hindering food and nutrient intake.
5. Poor Vision
Having a blurred or in any other way distorted vision without having an eye disorder can be a pointer to vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is crucial for nerve function, and a lack of it can impair your optic nerve.
A research has found that children with damaged eyesight have shown improvements following B12 supplementation.
6. Muscle Weakness
If you notice a sudden change from being fit and robust to not being able to carry a lightweight bag or backpack, followed by a sensation of unexplained weakness, it could be a sign of B12 deficit since your muscles are not taking enough oxygen to carry out everyday activities.
7. Constant Fatigue and Shortness of Breath
It’s not unusual to feel tired, even exhausted after a strenuous physical activity or a hard day at the office, but if this becomes persistent, you might want to see a doctor as your vitamin B12 levels might have dropped.
As we already said, deficit of B12 means less capacity for your blood to carry oxygen, and in turn you will often feel fatigued, sleepy, and even short of breath.
8. Stomach Problems
If you have trouble with diarrhea or bloating but you are on a healthy diet, it could be that your body is not taking vitamin B12 as it should.
As a result, the cells of your gastrointestinal tract don’t take sufficient oxygen which can cause digestive complications like constipation, gas, diarrhea, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
9. Memory Loss
Forgetting where we left our car keys, remote, wallet is something that happens to the best of us. But if this absent-mindedness becomes an everyday thing, then it might be your vitamin B12, or the lack of it thereof, that causes it.
This mild first signs of dementia due to vitamin B12 loss can have more adverse ramifications in time and even be early signs of Alzheimer’s, so take heed.
Depression is hard to impossible to define, but almost everyone has a reason for feeling downbeat. But should you feel despondent and in low spirits for no particular reason, it could be due to vitamin B12 deficiency.
B12 is a cofactor in the synthesis of dopamine (the body’s so-called happy hormone), and a deficit of it could deprive your body of dopamine and result in a gloomy mood.
And while it is not clear how exactly vitamin B12 affects an intricate condition like depression, research has shown that depressed patients have a B12 deficit.
11. Mental Disorders
While it is infrequent, there have been several instances where continuing vitamin B12 shortages have led to mental disorders such as OCD and psychosis, more usually in the elderly.