Vitamin B12 is more than just an injection for the diet conscious; it’s crucial for red blood cell production, digestive well-being and a healthy nervous system, just to name a few. But according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, four percent of American women aged 40 to 60 years don’t get enough of the important vitamin which can lead to a B12 deficiency.
Certain prescription medications, a vegetarian or vegan diet, and even genetics can influence one’ ability to properly absorb B12. So how do you know if you’re suffering from a B12 deficiency? If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have low levels of vitamin B12.
1.Cracked Lips or Tongue.
If the corners of your mouth are cracked and sore, despite keeping your lips continuously slicked with an array of protective healing balms, you may be suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. A deficiency in B12 can cause inflammation of the membranes of the mouth, which can cause the tongue and corners of the lips to crack and dry out.
Frequent bouts of dizziness upon standing or immediately after intense physical activity can be indicative of low B12 levels. People with inadequate levels of B12 may also feel dizzy when walking up or down stairs, or they may suffer from frequent bouts of vertigo, a condition in which one feels sensations of spinning and dizziness when moving their head.
3. ‘Pins and Needles’ Feeling.
A numbing or tingling sensation that isn’t caused by continuous compression is a telltale sign of inadequate levels of vitamin B12. While this feeling can also be caused by other medical factors, such as a reduced blood supply or dehydration, it is commonly associated with individuals suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Lack of the crucial vitamin can cause nerve damage, which can lead to the “pins and needles” feeling.
4. Pale Complexion.
While it may not seem like a symptom in the traditional sense, an unusually pale complexion can be a sign of a B12 deficiency. Pallor of the skin occurs when a lack of vitamin B12 results in an insufficient number of red blood cells. People who are lacking in red blood cells can become quite pale, even ghostly, in appearance.
5. Vision Issues.
Over time, inadequate stores of B12 can lead to blurry, spotted, or double vision. In fact, chronically low levels of B12 can cause damage to the blood vessels and optic nerves in the eyes. Sensitivity to light and seeing shadows or floaters can also result from B12 deficiency-related damage to the optic nerve.
Fortunately, supplementation with vitamin B12 can stop the negative effects of a deficiency, and in many cases, even reverse any damage the deficiency may have caused. However, it’s important to remember that many of the symptoms listed above can be caused by other health issues that are unrelated to a vitamin B12 deficiency. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any vitamin supplementation plan.
If you’re concerned that you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency, please call our Smart for Life Medical Center in Boca. We can provide you with a top-notch physical assessment, including all pertinent lab work, to help determine the best course of action for your specific needs.