- by Dr Sheetal Chhabria
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- Feb 17 2017
What are the Symptoms of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency?
What is Vitamin B12 and its Deficiency?
It is also known as cobalamin and it helps in the production of healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. When your body doesn’t have enough vitamin B12 then it is called vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. This condition makes the body produce larger than normal red blood cells. It is a water-soluble vitamin and it can be stored in the body for up to four years.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Extreme tiredness or fatigue
- A lack of energy or lethargy
- Being out of breath
- Feeling faint
- A headache
- Lack of appetite
- Yellowing of the skin
- Sore, red tongue
- Mouth ulcers
- Changes or loss of some sense of touch
- Feeling less pain
- Walking problems
- Vision problems
- Mood changes, irritability, depression or psychosis
If symptoms increases, they can include neurological changes, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
Pernicious anemia is the common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency. It is an auto-immune condition that affects around one in 10,000 people. Pernicious anemia is caused by a lack of a protein called intrinsic factor that is needed to absorb vitamin B12 from food into the body from the gastrointestinal tract. This is more common in people over 60. People who follow a strict vegan diet are at risk of having the B12 deficiency.
Blood test to check haemoglobin levels, the size of red blood cells and the level of Vitamin B12 in the blood.
Treatment totally depends on the cause of Vitamin B12. If lack of vitamin B12 in the diet is the cause, advice on eating more vitamin B12 rich food will be given. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, salmon, milk, eggs, some fortified breakfast cereals and some soy products.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be prevented by eating a healthy balanced diet containing meat, poultry, seafood, milk, cheese, and eggs is enough to get sufficient vitamin B12.
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