Vitamin B12 is a very important nutrient for your body. The function of vitamin B12 is to keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy, and to help make your body’s DNA. This vitamin cannot actually be made by our bodies. Therefore, we get it in our diet from foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy. Some foods like bread and milk might be fortified with vitamin B12.
Your body needs two things in order to absorb vitamin B12. In your stomach, hydrochloric acid separates the vitamin B12 from the protein of which it is attached to. Once it is separated, it then combines with intrinsic factor and then absorbed by the body. Some people have a condition called pernicious anemia that prevents them making intrinsic factor, thus causing a lack in the ability to absorb vitamin B12 efficiently.
Since this vitamin is important and found in our diet, you can become deficient if you are not paying attention. People who follow a vegan diet, the elderly and people who have just had weight loss surgery can easily become deficient in vitamin B12. The following are the top 8 signs that you just might be deficient and vitamin B12.
1. Pale or Jaundiced Skin
The lack of vitamin B12 might cause you some serious physical signs. Having pale, yellowed or jaundiced skin is one type of sign that you are deficient in vitamin B12. Look at the whites of your eyes for a yellowish tinge or your skin’s color in general.
Vitamin B12 affects the circulation of red blood cells in your body. When you experience a deficiency in vitamin B12, the red blood cells become compromised and this affects your alertness. Red blood cells are responsible for distributing oxygen. A lack of oxygen will definitely make you more fatigued and weak.
3. Balance Issues
Additionally, your balance might be off. A lack of vitamin B12 will affect your nervous system. This is often the case when elderly people fall. When they lack the vitamin, their balance can be off and cause more falling hazards than normal.
4. Oral Health
Often misdiagnosed, another sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency is a swollen or inflamed tongue. Believe it or not, a lack of vitamin B12 in your system can affect your oral health. It can affect how your talk and hinder your ability to eat. Ulcers in your mouth can be truly awful and a sign you are lacking in this vitamin.
5. Pins and Needles
When a lack of vitamin B12 goes unnoticed, more serious signs can occur. The sensation known as “pins and needles,” is not a good sign with regard to vitamin B12. This means that your nervous system is being affected and your body is no longer producing myelin, which is a substance that protects your nerves.
6. Out of Breath and Dizzy
With a lack of blood cell circulation, you can easily become out of breath and dizzy without warning or cause. Keep in mind that this symptom could be caused by a variety of other conditions. If you are experiencing breathlessness and dizziness, talk with your doctor right away to see what could be the cause.
7. Changes in Mood
Having out of character moodiness leading into brain disorders, such as dementia and depression can be another sign of vitamin B12 deficiency. Of course, you want to involve your primary care doctor to see if they believe you are lacking in this vitamin. They would be able to show you ways to add more B12 to your diet and find other treatments if your case is advanced.
8. Eyesight Problems
When your nervous system is compromised by a deficiency of vitamin B12, it can reach as far as your eyes. If your optic nerve becomes damaged due to a lack of vitamin B12, you could experience vision problems in the form of blurriness or distorted vision. The good news is that a good supplement can reverse this issue.
Just one of these signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency might not be the root cause of your condition. A combination of these signs might be more indicative of a problem. Your best bet is to have an open line of communication with our doctor if you think a vitamin B12 deficiency might be your problem. It is always good to take a closer look at your diet to see if you are missing out on this vitamin.