Have you ever wondered if you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency? Then you are not alone! Vitamin B12 is an underexposed, essential group of vitamins needed for the production and production of red blood cells and new DNA. This means that vitamin B12 can be classified among the most important vitamins against fatigue.
But what exactly does vitamin B12 do in your body and how can you quickly combat a B12 deficiency by recognizing symptoms? Read on to find out. We are happy to answer it.
What does vitamin B12 do in your body?
Your body needs oxygen and the red blood cells transport it through all bloodstreams to the organs. So you certainly need sufficient production and vitamin B12 is responsible for this.
In addition, a healthy vitamin B12 value contributes to a carefully functioning nervous system. In general, your body will absorb enough vitamin B12 if you have a balanced diet, where you also take food in which this vitamin group is abundantly present.
Think of animal products such as milk, meat products, fish, and eggs. However, a vitamin B12 deficiency can develop and go unnoticed for a long time. If you become aware of the symptoms that occur with such a deficiency, you can take supplements in time to replenish your vitamin B12 supply. You thus strengthen your health, which will certainly turn out to be beneficial later in life.
How do you get a vitamin B12 deficiency?
Anyone can develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. Even if you frequently eat meat or other animal products, this does not guarantee that you will not be dealing with a deficiency in this vitamin group.
Vitamin B12 is absorbed into the body through the intestines. If problems develop in the gut, it can become more difficult to absorb vitamin B12 – even if you consume enough products that contain this vitamin.
People with intestinal problems, or where a part of the intestine has been removed that regulates the absorption of B12, can thus develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. You see this mainly in older people because the body has more difficulty absorbing nutrients such as vitamins.
B12 deficiency due to lifestyle choices or medication use
Since vitamin B12 is mainly absorbed into the body from animal products, a deficiency can occur very gradually if you avoid these products from your diet.
People who take medication for physical complaints or illnesses can also develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. For example, if you take the drug “metformin” for diabetes, be aware of possible side effects such as stomach and intestinal complaints.
This can hinder the absorption of vitamin B12, which can lead to a deficiency. The drug “antacids”, which is used against heartburn, can also have this adverse effect.
So be sure to be mindful of possible side effects or consequences if you have to take certain medications.
Dormant recognition of vitamin B12 deficiency
Without being aware of this, you can have a vitamin B12 deficiency for years. It is a deficiency that is certainly not immediately noticeable or recognizable. You often build up a deficit over several years before you start to notice it.
In many cases, a vitamin B12 deficiency is hardly immediately considered when establishing diagnoses. As a result, it disappears under the radar even longer, with sometimes disastrous consequences.
In many cases, a folic acid deficiency can first be thought of, because these levels drop significantly with a deficiency of vitamin B12. In those cases, it is certainly not enough to just increase the folic acid content.
The content of B12 will also have to be increased, to get the body back into balance.
Here are 9 symptoms that may indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency.
1. Fatigue and weakening of the constitution
Clear features that indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency are a persistent fatigue and a weakening of your physical constitution. In anemia, you do not make enough red or large blood cells, which ensures that the oxygen is not optimally transported through the body.
This causes fatigue and gives you a feeling of weakening in your constitution. You can function less productively and have to take breaks more quickly to recover.
Pernicious anemia is a clear cause of a vitamin B12 deficiency because a chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa causes a reduction or even a lack of parietal cells. These are cells that produce stomach acid.
This can lead to numerous autoimmune diseases, so they are certainly not symptoms to be taken lightly. If you feel weak or tired, it is a good idea to have yourself tested for a vitamin B12 deficiency by a medical specialist.
2. Pale or yellowish skin tone
With a vitamin B12 deficiency, a form of anemia occurs, in which red blood cells are not made sufficiently and do not divide properly. The vitamin repairs the DNA that focuses on the production of red blood cells.
These are made in the bone marrow, after which it circulates throughout the body. In anemia, the blood cells take an elongated shape, so that they cannot be transported properly from the medulla bone to provide the body with oxygen. This causes a pale or yellowish skin tone.
Another remarkable phenomenon that becomes visible in anemia based on a vitamin B12 deficiency is the yellowish tint in the whites of the eyes. This is because the red blood cells are fragile and are broken down in the liver.
This releases an excess of “bilirubin”, which creates a brown-colored substance, which becomes visible in the eyes of people with a vitamin B12 deficiency.
So if you notice that your skin or eyes are developing a yellowish or pale color, it is advisable to get tested for a vitamin B12 deficiency.
3. Difficulty breathing and dizziness
This is also because there is not enough oxygen being transported through your body, due to a shortage of red blood cells.
Your body needs sufficient nutrients and oxygen to function optimally. As soon as your body does not produce enough red blood cells, a disturbance occurs.
This causes you to have difficulty breathing and dizziness. If you notice such symptoms in yourself, it is advisable to contact your doctor. This way it can be determined at an early stage whether you suffer from anemia and a vitamin B12 deficiency. You may also need to supplement an iron deficiency – this is also linked to anemia.
4. Mobility is declining
Since vitamin B12 contributes to a healthy nervous system, a deficiency of vitamin B12 can seriously damage your mobility. Your sense of balance or coordination can also be affected, with the result that you can just fall or run into objects.
You start to waver, without there being any direct cause for this. Older people in particular often suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency. A correct diagnosis or preventive action can significantly improve mobility within this age group.
However, the symptoms can also occur in young people, where it is important to have a test for the content of vitamin B12. This prevents problems in the longer term and keeps your body and nervous system healthy and in balance.
5. Hands tremors, stabs, or twitches
As mentioned earlier in this article, vitamin B12 supports the nervous system. In addition, it forms a substance called “myelin”, which ensures that nerve impulses are transmitted more quickly.
With a long-term deficiency, nerve damage occurs because this substance is no longer produced correctly and can therefore no longer protect or support the nerves.
Over time, sensations such as stinging in your hands or feet may be experienced. Your hands may also tremble or experience twitching because the nerves react incorrectly or do not receive the correct influx of signals.
Of course, such symptoms can have various causes. However, an underlying cause can be a vitamin B12 deficiency, so it is always advisable to get tested for this.
In this way, you can prevent serious damage to the nervous system by correctly supplementing the deficiency of vitamin B12.
6. Changing moods in the mind
Anemia based on a vitamin B12 deficiency is not always easy to recognize. By paying attention to an increased homocysteine value, this becomes a lot more reliable.
This amino acid is produced in the body. The higher the value of homocysteine, the greater the chance of a B12 deficiency. This can eventually result in brain damage, as the signals are blocked.
This can lead to mood swings, depression, and even dementia. By regularly taking the right vitamin B12 supplements, you can most likely reverse the effect of these symptoms.
Research shows that taking vitamin B12 supplements can certainly help boost your mood.
7. Disturbed Vision
An important function of vitamin B12 is to strengthen the nervous system in your body. If there is a deficiency of vitamin B12, this logically affects the functioning of your nerves.
When the optic nerve – which leads to the eyes – is damaged as a result, this can harm your vision.
Your vision may become blurred or less sharp and you may experience dizziness. Many people are shocked by these symptoms, which is understandable. Fortunately, these symptoms may be treated effectively.
By taking vitamin B12 supplements (which are also well absorbed by the body), your vision will most likely recover soon.
Be sure to consider the possibility that you have a vitamin B12 deficiency if you suddenly notice that your vision is getting worse. Supplementing the deficiency can quickly provide relief from the complaints.
8. Elevated Body Temperature
Although this symptom will not directly lead to a diagnosis of a vitamin B12 deficiency, an elevated body temperature can certainly be a precursor.
As soon as you take vitamin B12 supplements, you may notice a marked reduction in this.
While elevated temperatures can have a myriad of other causes, proper vitamin B12 supplementation can provide just the needed support for recovery.
Especially if you recognize some of the other symptoms, this can be an additional signal for you to have your levels of vitamin B12 checked by a medical specialist.
9. Glossitis (inflamed tongue) or canker sores
Mouth ulcers or canker sores can occur with a vitamin B12 deficiency. These are small painful sores that can appear on the inside of your lip or mouth. You can experience discomfort while eating and drinking because these places are very sensitive and hurt.
You may also experience an inflamed tongue, which feels swollen and painful, making it difficult for you to speak. Both symptoms can be a clear indication that there is a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Often these symptoms go away within 14 days, but if they come back more often, there is more going on. So if you regularly suffer from these complaints, be sure to have your vitamin B12 level tested.
Vitamin B12 Supplements for Overall Fitness
Good supplements with vitamin B12 promote your nervous system, the production of red blood cells and DNA, and support overall physical health.
Initially, a vitamin B12 deficiency may not immediately be thought of when the first symptoms become noticeable. By being aware of how you can notice such a shortage, you can respond to this in good time.
Especially if you fall into one of the previously described target groups (which may be most susceptible to this), the right nutritional supplements offer the solution. This will fill your deficiencies and prevent further damage to your health.
Finally, it is important to mention that you should always consult a medical specialist (such as a general practitioner or a dietician) before you start using one or more dietary supplements.