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7 Warning Signs & Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Nutritional deficiencies are always harmful to health because they put your system out of balance. The best way to address them is by being aware of the symptoms so that you can detect them early. Amongst the key nutrients that you should not miss out on is vitamin B12. It is significant for making red blood cells and supports the nervous system as well. You cannot ignore the role of red blood as they carry around oxygen in the body. Hence, vitamin B12 is vital to keep you in good health.
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However, its deficiency is common because the human body does not produce this vitamin on its own, rather depends on food sources. So you must keep a close eye on certain warning signs and symptoms that indicate its deficiency. These may be a little difficult to assess because they are quite similar to those of some other nutritional deficiencies. Awareness, therefore, can make all the difference to timely diagnosis. Here are the ones that you should be watchful about.

Pale Skin
If your skin appears pale in color, you may be deficient in vitamin B12. This usually happens when your body fails to produce enough red blood cells due to the lack of this nutrient. The condition is known as megaloblastic anemia, which may subsequently lead to jaundice. The RBC’s become weak so that the body breaks them down quickly. It results in the release of a brownish substance called bilirubin, which is responsible for pale skin.

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Fatigue is another common sign of vitamin B12 deficiency. Again the inadequacy of RBCs is the reason behind the weakness or fatigue you experience. When your body does not have enough of the cells, the organs do not get the amount of oxygen they need. As a result, you end up feeling weak and tired. If you constantly get this feeling, do not overlook it because the concern may be more serious than you think.

Changes to Mobility
When this deficiency is left untreated, it may damage your nervous system and compromise with your mobility. You may even lose your balance and coordination.  This symptom is usually visible in the elderly though even younger people with a severe, untreated deficiency may also fall prey. The best way to address it is by taking vitamin B12 shots because dietary sources will not be enough. It is better to get diagnosis and treatment in time before such an adverse situation arises.

Tingling Sensation in the Limbs
Another warning sign that you should watch out for is a tingling sensation in your hands and feet. Once again, this symptom is a serious issue because it indicates nerve damage. Vitamin B12 helps in the production of myelin, a substance that shields the nerves and enables them to transmit sensations. Without enough of myelin, your nerves become damaged and are unable to function properly. This often leads to “pins and needles” sensation in the limbs.

Breathlessness and Dizziness
B12 deficiency can cause breathlessness and dizziness, particularly on exertion. This happens because your body gets low on oxygen because there are not enough RBCs to supply it. The signs may also be accompanied by a rapid heartbeat. If you experience any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Besides vitamin B12 deficiency, these signs may indicate some other conditions as well. So you should seek medical advice sooner rather than later.

Mouth Pain and Ulcers
Vitamin B12 affects oral health too. Deficiency can, therefore, cause a series of oral health issues. The most common one is glossitis, a condition results in the tongue becoming red and swollen.  Ulcers and a burning sensation in the mouth are some other indications of the deficiency of this vitamin. Don’t ignore these issues if you have been facing them for some time.
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Mood Swings
Beyond physical signs and symptoms, vitamin B12 deficiency may also appear as mood swings and irritability. You may even have problems thinking and reasoning clearly because the blood supply to the brain is hindered. In worse cases, the deficiency can elevate the risk of brain disorders such as dementia and depression. Low levels of B12 disrupt the signals to and from the brain, leading to such problems.

Now that you know about the common signs and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, it can be easier to detect. While timely detection matters, remember that prevention is the best approach. The right dietary choices can protect you in the first place. At the same time, you can rely on supplements if you think that you are not getting enough from your diet. Before you start taking supplements, do take advice from a qualified practitioner.

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