Vitamin B-12 deficiency

 Vitamin B-12 deficiency signs and symptoms

An important component that maintains the body working properly is vitamin B-12. An absence of vitamin B-12 can cause weariness, depression, and nerve issues. Vitamin B-12 must be obtained from food in order for the human body to produce it. Red blood cell and DNA synthesis depend on it, and it also supports the nervous system. The creation of blood cells depends critically on vitamin B-12.

Because vitamin B-12 insufficiency results in a shortage of healthy blood cells, many of the symptoms of the condition. To circulate oxygen throughout the body and maintain the health of the organs, the body requires a lot of these cells.


A lack of vitamin B-12 can cause issues that are both physical and mental. In this article, we examine vitamin B-12 insufficiency symptoms and discuss their causes.

What you should know about the vitamin B-12 shortage

A lack of vitamin B-12 can result in symptoms that affect both a person’s physical and mental health.

A lack of vitamin B-12 may affect 1.5 to 15.0 percent of the population.

This deficit can result in a variety of symptoms that have an impact on both a person’s physical and mental health.


It’s crucial to regularly eat foods that are high in vitamin B-12. Every day, adults require about 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12.

Water-soluble vitamin B-12 is found in meals derived from animals, such as:

Red meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and fish.

If a person does not consume animal products, they must supplement their diet with vegetarian and vegan sources of vitamin B-12. They consist of bread, nutritious yeast, plant milks, and fortified cereals.

People may not be aware of or receive a diagnosis for vitamin B-12 deficiency due to the fact that it overlaps many symptoms with other nutritional deficiencies and medical disorders.

People can recognize the deficit and seek therapy if they are aware of all the symptoms.


The signs and causes of vitamin B-12 deficiency are discussed here.


1. Tingling hands or feet

A lack of vitamin B-12 might result in “pins and needles” in the hands or feet. This symptom appears because the vitamin is essential for the nervous system and lack of it might result in nerve injury or issues with nerve conduction.

Vitamin B-12 aids in the neurological system’s production of myelin. The nerves are shielded by myelin, which also aids in the transmission of feelings.

Lack of vitamin B-12 may prevent some individuals from producing enough myelin to coat their nerves. With the absence of this layer, nerves may suffer harm.

Peripheral nerves, which include the nerves in the hands and feet, are more prone to issues. Certain areas of the body may experience tingling due to peripheral nerve injury.

Visit our specialized site for additional in-depth materials on vitamins, minerals, and supplements.


2. Problems walking


Movement issues may develop over time as a result of peripheral nerve injury brought on by a vitamin B-12 deficiency.

A person may find it challenging to walk unaided if they have numbness in their feet and other limbs. Moreover, they could have weakened muscles and slower reflexes.

3. Pale skin

Jaundice, or pale or yellow complexion, is a sign of vitamin B-12 insufficiency.

When the body is unable to manufacture enough red blood cells, jaundice can start to appear. The typical color of the skin is produced by the red blood cells that circulate beneath it. The skin could appear pallid if there aren’t enough of these cells.

Red blood cell formation is aided by vitamin B-12. Megaloblastic anemia, or a lack of red blood cells, can be brought on by a vitamin B-12 deficit and is linked to jaundice.

Red blood cells that are weaker due to this type of anemia are subsequently broken down more quickly by the body. Bilirubin is released by the liver during red blood cell breakdown. The brownish pigment known as bilirubin is what provides jaundice’s characteristically yellow tone to the skin.


4. Tiredness


Someone with megaloblastic anemia brought on by a vitamin B-12 deficiency could experience weariness.

A person can experience acute fatigue if they don’t have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout their body.

5. Rapid heartbeat
Shortness of breath and a rapid heartbeat are signs of vitamin B-12 insufficiency.

A lack of vitamin B-12 may manifest as a rapid heartbeat.

To compensate for the body’s decreased supply of red blood cells, the heart may begin to beat more quickly.

Anemia puts pressure on the heart to pump blood more quickly and in a larger volume around the body.


6. Breathing difficulties


A person who has anemia brought on by a vitamin B-12 deficiency could experience some slight breathlessness. This may be related to a rapid heartbeat and a deficiency in red blood cells. Anyone who has severe respiratory problems needs to contact a doctor right away.


7. Mouth aches


Oral health and vitamin B-12 are related. Thus, lacking in vitamin B-12 may result in the following oral health issues:

Having a red, smooth, and puffy tongue due to glossitis
oral sores
An oral burning sensation

Due to a reduction in the synthesis of red blood cells brought on by vitamin B-12 insufficiency, the tongue receives less oxygen, which results in these symptoms.


8. Thinking or reasoning issues


Cognitive impairment is the term used by doctors to describe thinking issues brought on by a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Memory loss and difficulties reasoning are some of these problems. Even an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and Parkinson’s disease was connected in one study to low vitamin B-12 levels.

The reduced amount of oxygen reaching the brain might be to blame for the thinking and reasoning issues.


9. Intolerance


A person’s mood may be impacted by a vitamin B-12 deficiency, sometimes leading to irritation or sadness.

The relationship between vitamin B-12 and mental health requires further study. According to one idea, vitamin B-12 aids in the breakdown of the homocysteine brain chemical. Homocysteine buildup in the brain can have negative effects on mental health.


10. Vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea


The digestive system might be impacted by a vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Red blood cell deficiency prevents enough oxygen from reaching the intestines. Here, lack of oxygen may cause a person to feel ill as well as become ill. Diarrhea may also result from it.


11. Loss of appetite and weight

A vitamin B-12 shortage can cause digestive issues, such as nausea, which can make people feel lethargic and reduce their appetite. In the long run, a diminished appetite can result in weight reduction.
The danger of vitamin B-12 deficiency is increased by following a vegan diet.

Even if a person consumes adequate vitamin B-12 through their diet, several underlying medical disorders can interfere with the gut’s ability to absorb the vitamin.

These circumstances include:

Crohn’s illness

Celiac illness    

Atrophic gastritis

Chronic anemia

A person is more likely to have a vitamin B-12 deficiency if they have the following conditions:

Being older, as a person’s capacity to absorb B-12 declines with age.
Following a vegan or vegetarian diet
A prolonged course of anti-acid medication
Weight loss surgery or other stomach operations may have an impact on how well vitamin B-12 is absorbed by the digestive system.


Prevention and treatment


The majority of people can obtain adequate vitamin B-12 from their diets. A doctor may prescribe or advise B-12 supplements for people who cannot absorb from the regular diet. Vitamin B-12  supplements are available as injections, sublingual pills that dissolve beneath the tongue, and oral tablets for consumption. On how much of this vitamin to take, a doctor can advise. Depending on a person’s eating habits and overall health, a doctor might advise them on the best strategy to prevent vitamin B-12 insufficiency.


We have provided several nutritious vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 here.

1: Yogurt

For vegans, yogurt is heaven because it is one of the richest sources of vitamin B12. The amount of vitamin B12 in a cup of plain yogurt is about 28%. According to the study, yogurt has more easily absorbed vitamin B12 than chicken or pork do. For many individuals, plain yogurt works best at easing the symptoms of vitamin deficiency.

2: Dairy products like milk

Protein, calcium, minerals, and vitamin B12 are all abundant in milk. Cheese and paneer, two dairy items, are also good suppliers of this superior vitamin. Compared to other sources, milk may absorb quickly and easily in the stomach.


3. Fortified cereals

The greatest way for vegans to obtain vitamin B12 is through this method. Vitamin B12, folate, iron, and vitamin A are all abundant in fortified cereals like bran and whole wheat oats. Regular consumption of fortified cereals helps your body’s vitamin B12 levels rise.

4: Fortified soy milk

Since they are typically fortified with vitamin B12, soy and almond milk are not natural sources of the vitamin. Each day, 2.1 mcg of vitamin B12 can be found in one cup of soy or almond milk.


5: Dietary yeast

Vitamin B12 is abundant in fortified yeast. This yeast can impart a nutty flavor to food in very little amounts. The amount of vitamin B12 in one tablespoon of fully fortified yeast is 2.4 mcg. You can include this fortified yeast in sauces or curries for enhanced results.


Key Points :

As you proceed with treatment, your provider will likely ask you to keep track of your symptoms and whether they recede. You could do this in a variety of ways:

For example, INIGIMA Digital Screening plays a very important role if you are suffering from multiple complications like diabetes, blood pressure, heart issues and obesity patient. It helps to maintain good health and achieve a longer life. Book a session with an expert now

A review article by

Dr Bhavana Kalvala

(Clinical Research Director @ IEEARC Tech)

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