Vitamin B12 deficiency is a condition in which the body has inadequate stores of vitamin B12. This vitamin is essential for many aspects of health, including the production of red blood cells. Healthy numbers of red blood cells are critical for delivering oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells and tissues.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that must be ingested daily and absorbed effectively by the digestive tract in order to maintain optimal health. Most people get enough vitamin B12 by eating a variety of foods. Those that naturally contain vitamin B12 include lean red meats, poultry, fish, brewer’s yeast, and dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Vitamin B12 is also added to some breakfast cereals, breads, and other fortified food products.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is most common in people who have a disease or condition in which the body is unable to absorb vitamin B12 from ingested foods.
Acute deficiency of Vitamin B12 leads to tingling or numbness in fingers and toes, deformed gait and difficulty walking, rapid and frequent mood changes and depression and temporary memory loss, dementia and disorientation. Here are some of the other more common symptoms of B12 deficiency:
- Weakness, draggy feeling or light-headedness
- Rapid heartbeat and breathing, occasionally leading to tachycardia
- Pale skin color
- Easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums
- A lot of women complain of an irregular menstruation, at the same time as there is also other women who complain of heavy bleeding. This is normally caused due to the vitamin b12 deficiency. In a few cases of infertility have as well been observed because of the deficiency
- Weight loss and regular indigestion problems and chronic constipation
- Memory loss, it is severe especially when the deficiency aggravates. In this case, a mild deficiency or memory loss isn’t apparent
- Eye twitching normally take place below the eye or in the eyelid. This isn’t painful but can be irritating
- White spots on the skin, this spot is usually found on the forearm. This actually indicates the absence of the melatonin in the area. If it is not well treated in time, the spot will become flaky and raw exposing some raw skin.
- Nagging pain underneath the ring finger as well begin in the outside edge of palm in the wrist
- Tickling sensation, it normally begins in the hips and then moves downwards.
- Neurological damage
- Sore tongue or a itching sensation at the edge of the tongue. Some people also suffer stinging or tingling sensation. There is some other who has painful sensation.
Studies show that supplementation with oral vitamin B12 is a safe and effective treatment for the B12 deficiency state.
Vitamin B12 deficiency results in inhibition of the B12-requiring activities in the body. It can lead to a multitude of symptoms based on the degree of deficiency. The symptoms are mild to start with but can progressively worsen if the deficiency is not addressed with oral or sub-muscular replenishment of Vitamin B12. B12 deficiency in infants is far more serious in that the nervous system gets a quick and permanent damaging hit if the deficiency is not addressed immediately. Vitamin B12 deficiency also causes macrocytic anemia.
The most convincing and correct diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency is typically based on measurement of serum vitamin B12 levels in a blood sample. However, it is important to remember that people at a very early stage of the disease will still have normal serum vitamin B12 levels. Schilling test, as the blood test is called, value less than 200 pg per mL is a strong indicator of the deficiency.