B12 deficiency can have serious consequences on your health and of all the vitamin deficiencies, Vitamin B12 is considered to be one of the most dangerous.
B12 deficiency is a silent epidemic because many people assume they are getting enough. Yet reports from the USDA show that B12 deficiency is more widespread than first thought with at least 40% of the population being severely deficient.
Yet the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12 gradually decreases with age. Along with getting older, being on specific prescription medications such as for heartburn and even a lack of meat in the diet. For this reason, vegans and vegetarians need to be more vigilant about their B12 levels as they could be sorely lacking.
How do you know if you’re B12 deficient?
The following signs and symptoms are important to watch out for. They should be brought to your doctor’s attention…
1. Feeling fatigue for no reason
You’ve had a good night’s sleep yet you still feel tired. You may find yourself yawning for no reason and this continues for days and weeks. Researchers from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics believe that people who feel drained of energy even though they get plenty of sleep, have low B12 levels. Low B12 levels are the result of a lack of production of red blood cells. When there is a lack of oxygen transported around the organs, the result is extreme fatigue.
If you feel yourself becoming dizzy frequently, this could be a sign of vertigo. This is especially important if you experience dizzy spells or wobbling whenever you get up too fast from sitting down. Frequently feeling dizzy could be a sign you have low B12 stores.
Constantly forgetting things could be an indication of a deeper medical issue. Many people who suffer with B12 deficiency may develop this symptom believing it to be the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia especially if they are older in age.
4. Vision Issues
Significant changes to your vision such as blurring, doubled vision or spotting are all signs that you have low B12 stores. All of these signs can cause retinal damage, if the blood vessels within the eye are blocked.
Light sensitivity, blurred or double vision, tracers or shadows are all the result of damage to the optic nerve. Taking a B12 supplement can improve vision.
5. Pins and Needles
A lack of Vitamin B12 can have a direct impact on the nervous system. It may affect the nerves, movement and sensation with the legs and feet.
Feelings of numbness, pins and needles, decreased sensitivity to touch, vibration or pain may all be symptoms of B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 anaemia usually occurs when the digestive system isn’t able to absorb the vitamin. Pernicious anemia is where the body destroys the cells in the stomach that helps to absorb vitamin B12. This can lead to problems with the body digesting food and may lead to Crohn’s Disease, bacteria growth in the small intestine or a parasite.
7. Difficulty Walking
As a lack of Vitamin B12 can cause neurological problems, including difficulty speaking and walking. Difficulty with walking in a straight line and finding balance is one of the more severe symptoms that can become apparent from B12 deficiency.
8. Swollen or Inflamed Tongue
Inflammation is the main cause of a swollen tongue and this occurs when there is a Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency. If the tongue is sore or you experience a burning sensation, it might be worth getting a Vitamin B12 test and supplementing if necessary.
Muscle weakness is one of the side effects of feeling depleted of Vitamin B12. This is an important vitamin to take for low energy levels that may also help to boost your stamina and prevent fatigue. These symptoms may seem scary but the good news is they can be improved by taking a good B12 supplement and following a really healthy lifestyle.
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