5 symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency experienced by 15% of sufferers

5 symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency that 15% of sufferers experience

If vitamin B12 deficiency is not treated, a number of health complications can occur.

Vitamin B12 is vital for maintaining healthy blood and nerves in the body.

If a deficiency occurs and is not treated, complications such as vision loss and infertility can occur. In some cases, it may even increase the risk of stomach cancer.

“Pernicious anemia is the most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency, but people who follow a vegan diet and do not take vitamin B12 supplements may also be at risk because B12 contained in products of animal origin,” says gastroenterologist Alexandra Alisova specifically for MedicForum.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a wide range of symptoms. But the doctor notes that in 15 percent of cases, people may experience symptoms related to the blood and bone marrow.

Symptoms related to the blood:

  • Pancytopenia
  • Macrocytosis
  • Hypersegmented neutrophils

Pancytopenia describes low levels of all three types of blood cells – red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

Symptoms of low red blood cell counts include fatigue, shortness of breath and dizziness. Symptoms of low white blood cell counts include fever, soreness, and mouth ulcers. Symptoms of low platelet counts include easy bruising, heavy menstrual bleeding, or blood in the stool.

“Macrocytosis describes red blood cells that are larger than normal. Hypersegmented neutrophils are when neutrophils (white blood cells) remain in the circulation for an extended period , and do not migrate into the tissues,” explains the gastroenterologist.

Bone marrow related symptoms:

  • Hyperplasia
  • Megaloblastic features

Hyperplasia is increased production of cells in an abnormal tissue or organ. Megaloblastic anemia is a type of anemia characterized by very large red blood cells.

Some more common vitamin B12 symptoms to look out for:

  • rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • headaches
  • stomach upset
  • loss of appetite
  • palpitations
  • vision problems
  • feeling weak or tired
  • diarrhea
  • sore or red tongue, sometimes with mouth ulcers
  • problems with memory, understanding and judgment (cognitive changes)

Vitamin B12 deficiency is usually treated with injections of vitamin B12, called hydroxocobalamin.

Your doctor advises that if the deficiency is caused by a lack of the vitamin in your diet, you may be advised to take a vitamin B12 supplement every day between meals. If you suspect symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, consult your healthcare professional.

What foods are rich in vitamin B12?

It is found naturally only in animal products, including meat and eggs , fish, milk and dairy products.

Plants do not produce B12 and therefore do not provide this vitamin. Foods rich in B12 include:

  • Liver and organ meats
  • Shellfish
  • Shellfish
  • Oysters

If you don't like seafood, B12 can also be found in:

  • Lamb
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Cheese

Earlier, MedicForum wrote about the health benefits of pumpkin.

Important! Information is provided for reference purposes. Ask a specialist about contraindications and side effects and under no circumstances self-medicate. At the first signs of illness, consult a doctor.