Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is one of the many vitamins our bodies need in order to operate at their peak level and feel energized and healthy. When you are deficient in vitamin B12, you might experience several unpleasant symptoms that can last anywhere from days to years depending on how severe the deficiency is. These 9 signs and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency will help you identify this condition in yourself or others who might be suffering from it.
Because B vitamins are involved in maintaining healthy red blood cells, Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia. Anemia occurs when red blood cells break down faster than your body can produce new ones. Low levels of iron are a common cause of anemia, but Vitamin B12 deficiency is also a leading cause. Additional symptoms of anemia include shortness of breath and fatigue.
2) Unusual Skin Sensitivity
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause changes to your skin, which is why it’s a common sign of deficiency. A sensitivity to sunlight and/or an unusual reaction to sunscreen can be a telltale sign that you may not be getting enough Vitamin B12 in your diet. In some cases, these sensitivities will subside with supplementation. If they don’t, though, that could be an indication of more serious issues related to Vitamin B12 intake.
3) Numbness and Tingling
Do you experience tingling and numbness, particularly in your hands and feet? This could be a symptom of Vitamin B12 deficiency. However, it’s important to note that symptoms are usually mild and rarely debilitating; typically, they will only become noticeable after a Vitamin B12 deficiency has been present for several years. If you experience numbness or tingling along with other signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency, such as weakness or fatigue, then it’s best to talk to your doctor about possible treatment options. There are many factors involved with vitamin B12 deficiency, so make sure you get a diagnosis from a medical professional before beginning any kind of treatment program.
Feeling more tired than usual? Some people experience fatigue as a first sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency. It’s due to your body’s energy stores being depleted, according to some research published in The Journal of Nutrition. Tiredness may also be one of those known unknowns—something you don’t know that you know. Fatigue is typically attributed to something else (like work or school), but it could also be caused by a nutrient deficiency. Skip anemia and keep track of how much energy you have each day for two weeks; if you notice a change, talk with your doctor about it.
Research has shown that vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a number of cognitive and psychological issues, including difficulties with memory and focus. If you have any trouble keeping your thoughts together, or suffer from forgetfulness, it could be due to a lack of Vitamin B12. Other symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include restlessness, moodiness, hallucinations and more. If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to your doctor about getting tested for vitamin deficiencies.
6) Sore Tongue
This is caused by a swollen, red tongue that is sore to touch. It could be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency because B12 helps keep your mouth and tongue healthy. If you’re low on vitamin B12, your salivary glands may not produce enough saliva. This can lead to oral mucositis—painful sores in your mouth—and an inflamed, swollen tongue. Soreness on either side of your mouth can also be a symptom of pernicious anemia, a type of vitamin deficiency characterized by extreme fatigue and weakness. These symptoms are especially prevalent among elderly people or pregnant women because their bodies aren’t producing as much stomach acid to break down food sources of vitamin B-12 like fish, meat and eggs.
When people think of signs and symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, they typically think of anemia or fatigue. However, there are several other signs and symptoms that can also indicate a lack of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is vital for neurological function, including mood stability. If you’re feeling depressed on a regular basis, but don’t know why, you may have low levels of vitamin B12. Other key symptoms include: brain fog, forgetfulness, poor mental performance and physical weakness or tiredness. Read below to find out how to recognize these nine signs and symptoms of Vitamin B 12 deficiency!
8) Weight Loss Without Trying
Regardless of how much weight you’re trying to lose, vitamin B12 deficiency can make it difficult to see positive results. In some cases, symptoms like memory loss and hair loss may start to become noticeable. Other signs include fatigue, shortness of breath and leg numbness. If you believe that your body isn’t absorbing enough vitamin B12 or if you are a vegetarian or vegan who consumes little-to-no animal products and frequently experiences severe PMS symptoms that could be linked to low levels of vitamin B6 (previously mentioned), ask your doctor about whether supplementing with B vitamins is right for you.
9) Chronic Cough
If you have a persistent, unexplained cough that lasts more than two weeks, you might be suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. If that’s true, it could also mean other things are wrong—including conditions like anemia, diabetes or thyroid disease. So if your doctor can’t figure out what’s causing your chronic cough, start getting checked for vitamin deficiencies. Even minor deficiencies can cause lasting damage without treatment.