Here's How Vitamin B12 Deficiency Affects Your Health And Overall Well-Being

Below we discuss some common signs of B12 deficiency and also share to tips to help you overcome them.

Here's How Vitamin B12 Deficiency Affects Your Health And Overall Well-Being

Lack of energy and constant tiredness can be a common symptom of B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when a person's body lacks an adequate amount of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It is necessary for the formation of red blood cells, proper neurological function, and DNA synthesis. In this article, we discuss some ways B12 deficiency affects your health. Also, know tips to enhance vitamin B12 levels in your body.

Here are 10 signs of vitamin B12 deficiency:

1. Fatigue and weakness

Lack of energy and constant tiredness can be a common symptom of B12 deficiency. It can affect daily activities, productivity, and overall quality of life.

2. Pale or yellowish skin

B12 deficiency can cause a reduction in red blood cell production, leading to anaemia. Anaemic individuals may have pale or yellowish skin, since red blood cells contribute to the skin's healthy coloration.

3. Breathing difficulties

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to shortness of breath or difficulty catching one's breath, as it affects the body's oxygen-carrying capacity due to reduced red blood cell production.

4. Dizziness and headaches

Decreased blood oxygen levels resulting from B12 deficiency may cause dizziness and frequent headaches.

5. Glossitis

Glossitis is an inflammation of the tongue and can be an early sign of B12 deficiency. It can cause the tongue to swell, appear smooth, and change in colour.

6. Digestive issues

B12 deficiency can lead to digestive problems such as diarrhoea, constipation, or loss of appetite due to the disruption of normal gut-functioning.

Unhealthy gut can lead to symptoms like constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn, bloating and more

Vitamin B12 deficiency can disrupt normal gut-functioning
Photo Credit: iStock

7. Nerve problems

Vitamin B12 is vital for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Deficiency can cause numbness, tingling, or a pins-and-needles sensation in extremities like hands or feet.

8. Memory loss and cognitive issues

B12 is crucial for healthy brain function, and its deficiency can lead to memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and cognitive decline.

9. Depression and mood swings

Low levels of B12 impact the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, potentially leading to depression, irritability, and mood swings.

10. Risk of cardiovascular issues

B12 deficiency can increase the risk of heart disease as it affects homocysteine levels in the blood, which are associated with cardiovascular health.

To overcome vitamin B12 deficiency:

  1. Increase consumption of B12-rich foods. Consuming animal-based foods like meat, fish, seafood, dairy products, and eggs, or fortified plant-based sources like nutritional yeast can help raise B12 levels.
  2. Taking B12 supplements, either orally or through injections, is an effective way to compensate for deficiency. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional for the correct dosage.
  3. Look for fortified cereals, plant-based milks, or energy bars that are enriched with vitamin B12.
  4. Some individuals may have trouble absorbing vitamin B12, so an intranasal spray that bypasses the gut absorption may be recommended.
  5. Regularly monitor your B12 levels through blood tests, especially if you're at a higher risk of deficiency, such as vegetarians, vegans, or older adults.

It is important to consult a healthcare provider to properly diagnose and determine the best course of action for addressing vitamin B12 deficiency.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.