Posted by PatchMD on 11/14/2019
Did you know that vitamin B12 plays an important role in red blood cell production? It makes sure your nervous system is functioning properly, and keeps your DNA healthy, among other functions.
However, many of us aren't getting enough vitamin B12 daily. With the rise of plant-rich diets, although good for the environment, means many of us don't get enough of this much-needed water-soluble vitamin.
But what are the B12 deficiency signs and symptoms? Here are just a few ways to tell if you need to up your intake. Hint: you probably do.
1. Pins and Needles
We're starting with one of the more serious side effects of long term vitamin b12 deficiency: nerve damage. B12 helps the body produce a fatty substance called myelin which surrounds, protects, and insulates your nerves. Without enough B12 myelin is produced differently.
One of the ways you can tell this is happening is the sensation of pins and needles, especially in your hands and feet. However, since there are plenty of other reasons you could be feeling pins and needles, consult your doctor before you start loading up on supplements.
2. Pale or Jaundiced Skin
Have you noticed your skin is looking a little paler than usual lately? Does it have a slight yellow tinge to it? Also, are the whites of your eyes looking less bright and more like faded paper?
This is one of the more prevalent B12 deficiency signs.
B12 is one of the key components when it comes to making it possible for your DNA to create healthy, viable red blood cells. Instead, when you aren't getting enough B12 your red blood cells are too large and fragile to pass from the bone marrow into your bloodstream.
By upping your B12 intake you can help strengthen your DNA and get those red blood cells brightening up your skin, just like they are supposed to.
3. Mood Changes
While the lack of B12 might not be the only cause of depression, it can certainly be a factor. There have been a few studies into how the lack of b12 damages brain tissue and interferes with signals both to and from your brain. Turns out, this can lead to depression, nervousness, anxiety, and even dementia.
So, by getting enough B12 you can lessen symptoms of any number of mental health issues. However, it is important to note that if you do suffer from any mental health disorders, don't consider B12 a cure-all. You need to talk to professional mental health practitioners and get medical advice on the best way to treat and manage your depression or anxiety.
4. Vision Disturbances
So, another way low levels of B12 can affect your nervous system is by damaging the optic nerve and the surrounding areas.
Sometimes an early sign of B12 deficiencies is a twitchy eye. It can either be on the eyelid or just below it. And while it doesn't hurt, it is extremely annoying.
However, if you are starting to notice visual disturbances that weren't there before, it may be because you need to up your intake. These disturbances are known as visual neuropathy and are pretty treatable with a daily vitamin.
5. Glossitis and Mouth Ulcers
Your mouth and the way you taste things can change if you aren't getting enough B12. The tongue will start to get swollen and become pale and smooth, which means the tastebuds start to stretch out and disappear. This will affect the way your food tastes.
This can be exceptionally painful and even change the way you speak. And as if that weren't bad enough, without enough B12 you can develop mouth ulcers, the feelings of pins and needles on their tongue, and an itchy mouth. None of which sounds pleasant.
6. Shortness of Breath and Dizziness
One of the more serious B12 deficiency signs is anemia and one of the many symptoms of anemia is shortness of breath and dizziness when you exert yourself.
This is because you don't have the red blood cell count to get enough oxygen to all of the organs which need it. This is doubly true when you are engaging in strenuous physical activity.
Just be sure to let your doctor know if you are experiencing these symptoms so they can run tests to make sure there isn't another underlying cause.
7. Changes in Mobility
Have you started to notice changes in the way you move? Are you starting to lose your balance more often? Then you might want to start taking B12 supplements.
Although it is a more typical symptom in the over 60's crowd because they tend to suffer from B12 deficiencies more often, it can also be one of the signs in younger people as well. This is especially true for those who have low B12 levels thanks to heavy alcohol consumption.
So, to help restore some balance to your life, load up on some B12 rich foods like eggs, dairy, or beef, or take a supplement.
8. Weakness and Fatigue
Much like when you have shortness of breath, if your body isn't getting enough B12 it can't produce enough red blood cells to carry all the energy-boosting oxygen to the organs that need it. This means you always feel tired and run down.
By making sure you're getting enough B12, you will help your body get the oxygen it needs, helping you feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Other B12 Deficiency Signs
There are some other B12 deficiency signs to be on the lookout for sudden weight loss, changes in appetite, shifts in bowel habits, and heart palpitations head to your doctor right away to get some tests done.
If you need help getting your B12 levels up, you should use one of our patches. Just stick it on and go.
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