12 signs that you have LOW LEVELS of vitamin B12: What to look for?

Vitamin B12 performs three main functions in the body: helps keep the body’s nerves and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material of all cells. According to the UK National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people feel tired and weak. Given its enormous contribution, it’s not surprising that low B12 levels can cause a variety of symptoms.

According to Harvard Health, vitamin B12 deficiency can be slow to develop, causing symptoms to appear gradually and intensify over time. They can also appear relatively quickly.

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«Given the variety of symptoms that a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause, the condition can be overlooked or mistaken for something else»says Harvard Health.

However, as the health agency points out, hThere are clusters of symptoms associated with B12 deficiency.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can include:

  • Strange sensations, numbness or tingling in the hands, legs or feet.
  • Hair loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Apathy or depression
  • Anxiety
  • pale or yellow skin
  • Difficulty walking (wobbly, balance problems)
  • Anemia
  • A swollen tongue or frequent sores in the mouth
  • Difficulty thinking and reasoning (cognitive difficulties) or memory loss
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue.

How should I respond to these symptoms?

You should see a GP if you experience symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, says the NHS.

«These conditions can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of a blood test»explains the health agency.

It is doubly important to diagnose and treat vitamin B12 deficiency as soon as possible.

«Although many symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the condition may be irreversible if left untreated»warns the NHS.

Am I at risk?

There are two main causes of B12 deficiency: pernicious anemia and strictly following certain diets.

Pernicious anemia is a autoimmune disease that prevents the body from producing intrinsic factor, a protein produced by the stomach and necessary to absorb vitamin B12 in the intestine.

According to the NHS, pernicious anemia It is the main cause of B12 deficiency.

Strictly following a vegan or vegetarian diet can also increase your risk of B12 deficiency.