Subscribe to our Newsletter:
Healthy Diet Plans >>  Vitamin Diet >>  Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient needed for the normal functioning of the blood cells as well as that of the body as a whole. The lack or deficiency of vitamin B12 results in a condition known as pernicious anemia. It occurs due to the inability of the body to absorb vitamin B12, and if the condition persists without any treatment, it can cause the low production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are vital as they are needed by the body to supply oxygen to the cells, tissues, and organs.

Hence, insufficient red blood cells can lead to further complications and problems.

Since vitamin B12 is not produced in the body and is absorbed only through the diet that we consume, vitamin B12 deficiency is common among those who do not eat a balanced and healthy diet. Vitamin B12 can be found in dairy products and meat. In order to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin B12, you should include meat, fish, eggs, poultry, milk and milk products, fortified cereals, energy bars, and fortified soy products in your diet. In some cases, supplements may also be prescribed.

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms are shortness of breath, very pale skin, fatigue, nausea, constipation, flatulence, loss of appetite, menstrual symptoms, abdominal pain, and weight loss. The lack of vitamin B12 affects the body severely as it alters the normal process where the cells divide fast in tissues, the bone marrow, and in the gastro-intestinal tracts. Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms also include neurological, psychological, and physical problems.  The deficiency affects neurological processes causing numbness and tingling sensation in the hands and feet. Neurological symptoms can also include impairment in perception of deep touch, vibration and pressure, decrease in sense of touch, and decrease in muscle tendon reflexes.

Vitamin B12 deficiency also causes irreversible and irreparable damage to the brain and nervous system; it might not get better even after correction of the problems. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can cause psychological problems apart from other abnormalities. The person can get irritable, have trouble in focusing and concentrating, get depressed with suicidal tendencies, and become preoccupied with delusions. Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms in children are found more when the kids are strictly vegetarian and do not consume enough dairy products. Symptoms in children are visible sooner than in adults. The lack can also cause obsessive compulsive behaviors (OCD) in children. If treated early, there is improvement in serotonin production in the brain, which is reduced otherwise, resulting in better vision and healthy skin and behavior.

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms in women include anemia, fatigue, dizzy feeling, depression, loss of physical balance, loss of sleep, neurological changes as mentioned above, and menstrual problems; it can also affect pregnancy. It is cause for concern as deficiency in vitamin B12 can result in infertility, miscarriages, and premature birth. It is important that women consume more of vitamin B12, especially during pregnancy. Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms also include hair loss. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is essential for hair growth. Cobalt in vitamin B12 is a part of the complex vitamin and is produced by microorganisms like bacteria, yeasts, molds, and algae that are present in meat, eggs and dairy products. As it is important for hair growth, it is essential that vitamin B12 supplements or a diet rich with vitamin B12 is taken to prevent hair loss.

Submitted on January 16, 2014