Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause endless symptoms. However, those symptoms are very light at first but the condition can get worse if left untreated. Vitamin b12 with folate is very essential for the formation and maturation of RBCs (Red blood cells) and the synthesis of the genetic material i.e DNA. Additionally, vitamin b12 is also very important for regular nerve functions.

Moreover, B vitamins are the group of a total of 8 nutrients that helps in maintaining different functions of the body. Apart from being chemically different, they can be found in the same source very often. 

The 8 kinds of B vitamins are as follows:

  • Thiamine (B1)
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Niacin (B3)
  • Pantothenic (B5)
  • Pyridoxine (B6)
  • Biotin (B7)
  • Folate (B9)
  • Cobalamin (B12)

The role of all these B vitamins is very vital for regulating normal bodily functions individually. 

Read on to discover more about vitamin b12 deficiency and its symptoms.

Role of Vitamin B12 in the human body

Vitamin B12 is one of the very crucial B vitamins. It supports the production and maintenance of cells such as nerve cells and Red Blood Cells (RBCs). It is also very important for DNA synthesis. Hence, the deficiency of vitamin b12 can lead to many serious health conditions. 

Additionally, vitamin b12 plays a key role in the development of the brain. Moreover, Vitamin B12 is a vitamin that your body needs but cannot produce it. 

Generally, it is found in animal foods naturally but is also added to certain foods and supplements to fulfill the requirement. And if your body is facing difficulty in absorbing vitamin b12 then your doctor is more likely to recommend an injection of b12 to enhance the levels of vitamin b12.

Furthermore, low vitamin B12 levels in your body can result in the reduction of Red Blood Cells (RBCs) formation leading to anemia and other health issues. 

Vitamin B12 is also needed for a healthy pregnancy. Because the brain and nervous system of the fetus need an adequate level of vitamin b12 in order to develop properly. Moreover, low levels of vitamin b12 during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or premature birth. 

In fact, an appropriate amount of vitamin b12 levels can promote healthy hair, nails, and skin. As low vitamin b12 may result in dermatologic symptoms including vitiligo. Therefore, vitamin b12 is not only responsible for normal body functions but also benefits your health and body in various ways.

General Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you have vitamin b12 deficiency then you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Weakness and tiredness
  • Lightheaded feeling
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
  •  Constipation and gas
  • Smooth tongue
  • Slight tingling sensation in feet and hands
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vision loss
  • Stress and depression
  • Memory loss

These are the very common symptoms of vitamin b12 deficiency. However, if you have a very mild deficiency then you may not experience any symptoms. But if it is left untreated, it is likely to get worse.

Chronic symptoms of vitamin b12 deficiency

Carelessness and untreated deficiency of vitamin b12 can lead to nerve damage which can cause the following symptoms:

  • Weakness of muscles
  • Problem in walking
  • Difficulty in moving arms 
  • Mental problems
  • Mouth sore
  • Ulcers
  • Anemia
  • Cardiovascular problems

Furthermore, it is very hard to diagnose the Deficiency of vitamin B12 because the symptoms are either not present or they are more likely to be similar to other deficiencies. Therefore, you need your healthcare provider to do a routine blood test for vitamin b12 deficiency.

Food sources of Vitamin B12

Vitamin b12 cannot be produced by the body naturally. Hence, you need to depend on food and other sources of Vitamin B12 to fulfill the requirement of the body and prevent the vitamin B12 deficiency. 

Animal foods are super rich in vitamin b12. The food includes meat, egg, fish, poultry, milk, and other dairy products. Moreover, if you are looking for vitamin b13 rich food then check the nutrition facts label of the product. 

Some vegetables that are high in vitamin b12 include beetroot, potato, spinach, alfalfa, mushroom, etc.

Additionally, you can also take vitamin b12 supplements to meet your daily needs of vitamin b12. So, that your body can function properly. 

However, if you start taking vitamin b12 supplements then you must let your doctor know, so they will tell you how much vitamin b12 supplements you should consume. 

Who is at risk of developing vitamin b12 deficiency?

As people age, it becomes difficult to absorb nutrients and vitamins. This leads to the deficiency of vitamins. Also if you have gone through weight loss surgery or any other operation that requires removing a part of your stomach, you are at higher risk of developing vitamin b12 deficiency. 

Also, you are more likely to develop a deficiency of vitamin b12 if you have:

  • Atrophic gastritis (thin stomach lining)
  • Pernicious anemia (difficulty in absorbing vitamin b12)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Bacterial growth
  • Celiac disease
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol 
  • Unhealthy immune system
  • Medications that may affect the absorption of vitamin b12

Additionally, people who follow vegan diets are also at risk of developing vitamin b12 deficiency. Hence, you should take vitamin b12 supplements to meet this need. 

Final Thoughts

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be a very serious health issue that needs to be treated as soon as possible. Additionally, elderly people and pregnant women should go through a routine checkup for vitamin b12 to avoid any serious health conditions.