Do know the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency? Have you been feeling weak or sluggish lately? Maybe you’ve been experiencing various health changes in your life and you just can’t seem to get everything straightened out so that your body functions at a somewhat normal status.
Did you know that adults need approximately 2.4 mcg of B12 daily to avoid a deficiency?
It’s quite possible that you could be experiencing a B12 deficiency. There are many various symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency just as there are many causes and many solutions. We will further discuss many factors that can be associated with B12 deficiency as we progress through this article.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
How would you identify whether some of the health issues you are experiencing might be related to a B12 deficiency? Let’s take a deeper look at the symptoms and discuss what you can look for as a potential trigger. Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms could be relatively challenging to diagnose as they are basic symptoms that you can experience for other ailments as well.
Here is an overview of the most common Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms:
- Weakness, fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness
- Pale skin or jaundice
- Smooth tongue
- Blurred vision or vision loss
- Numbness or tingling
- Shortness of breath
- Bowel-related issues such as constipation, gas, or diarrhea
- Depression, memory loss, erratic behavior
A Vitamin B12 deficiency that continues untreated could cause you to become anemic. If you have a short-term deficiency that corrects itself you may never experience symptoms, but the longer the deficiency continues the more your symptoms are likely to develop.
There are simple ways to treat the symptoms if they are not out of hand. You can often boost your B12 by eating more meat and seafood, but you could also supplement your B12 intake with vitamins or vitamin patches as well. If you are anemic, you may require Vitamin B12 shot(s) initially.
B12 Deficiency Anemia
As we mentioned, a B12 deficiency could result in your body becoming anemic. B12 Deficiency Anemia occurs when your body lacks appropriate levels of B12 causing your body to not have enough healthy red blood cells to properly function in a healthy manner.
Without the red blood cells carrying oxygen, your organs and tissues become deprived of oxygen leading to organs that just do not function properly as they are malnourished.
You are more at risk of developing B12 Deficiency Anemia if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, have Crohn’s disease, are an aged adult, have had partial intestine or stomach removal, or your family has a history of anemia. Your ability to contract B12 Deficiency Anemia is not limited to these items.
Signs of B12 Deficiency
Many times, symptoms do not appear until your deficiency has continued for an extended period of time. So how can you spot the early signs of B12 deficiency? Do you have to wait until you’re experiencing awful symptoms to know or are they early indicators you can be mindful of?
Thankfully, there are early signs of B12 deficiency that you can watch out for before it evolves to more serious symptoms or even anemia.
Some of the symptoms noted above are also signs of B12 deficiency. While some of the symptoms may not be experienced initially, some of them are certainly a trigger indication. Additionally, there are several signs you can watch for as well.
Signs of B12 Deficiency include:
- Tingling in your toes
- Breathlessness and/or dizziness
- Mouth Ulcers
- Unexplained Weight Gain
B12 Deficiency and Weight Gain
B12 deficiency could ultimately lead to weight gain. If you are experiencing unexpected weight gain or you are struggling to lose weight, consider supplementing with Vitamin B12.
B12 deficiency and weight gain could be directly correlated. B12 is the essential nutrient that works with the body to turn fat and proteins into energy while also breaking down carbohydrates. Because of these functions, B12 can directly contribute to both weight gain and weight loss.
What Causes B12 Deficiency
The most common cause of B12 deficiency is aging and experiences of aging. However, this does not mean that you have to be advanced in age in order to develop or experience a B12 deficiency. There is not necessarily any specific cause of B12 deficiency, but there are many factors that could heavily contribute.
So, what causes B12 deficiency? Here is a list of a few factors that could lead to deficiency.
- Thinning stomach lining, such as gastritis
- Immune system disorders (i.e. lupus)
- Small intestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease
- Pernicious anemia
- Various medications, specifically medications for heartburn and diabetes
Stages of B12 Deficiency
While many things could cause B12 deficiency, it does progress through stages and symptoms do increase the longer the deficiency continues. B12 deficiency can certainly sneak up on you. The reason is that many of the signs and symptoms can be experienced at random and you might not connect the dots.
Stages of B12 deficiency often begin with tiredness as well as tingling in your fingers or toes. From there, B12 deficiency could continue and cause further discomfort. If left unresolved, remember that B12 deficiency could lead to becoming anemic.
Once your body becomes deficient, it can be challenging to renew the B12 sufficiently. It takes time and a consistent routine. Most likely your symptoms will continue until the deficiency is resolved.
Vegan B12 Deficiency
It is common for those who follow a strict vegetarian or vegan lifestyle to develop a vegan B12 deficiency. Many people receive their B12 naturally through meats, seafood, and eggs. However, the vegan diet strays from each of these things.
If you practice a vegan diet, it would be best to be proactive and take a supplement that will replace the natural B12 that your body is not receiving. Being proactive could help prevent a deficiency from occurring.
It is important that you learn to listen to your body and know when you are seeing signs and symptoms so that you can take action. While you might recognize the symptoms and your doctor could potentially tell from an exam, a blood test is needed to specifically diagnose a Vitamin B12 deficiency.