Vitamin B12 is one of the most essential, yet overlooked vitamins in the world. It plays a major role in the metabolism of each of our body cells, and if we have insufficient amounts of it for a longer period, it can lead to long-term diseases and neurological conditions.
Therefore, it’s crucial that you know the first warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency so that you can treat it on time and prevent numerous health problems.
Once you learn the first signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, you’ll also read why is it so important to your overall health and which foods contain it in highest amounts.
Warning Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
B12 Deficiency can be hard to detect, especially considering how common the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can be, such as feeling tired or unfocused. A diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency is typically based on the measurement of serum vitamin B12 levels within the blood. However, alarmingly, studies show that about 50 percent of patients with diseases related to vitamin B12 deficiency have normal B12 levels when tested.
There are more precise screening options available to detect a deficiency, but these are usually not given to patients unless they have a known case of anemia or heart disease-related symptoms. (5) So if you suspect you might have a deficiency but your initial blood test shows that your levels are normal, you may want to talk with your doctor about performing secondary tests, especially those that check for high homocysteine levels.
Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can include:
- Constantly feeling tired or chronic fatigue
- Muscle aches and weakness
- Joint pain
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Feeling dizzy
- Poor memory
- Inability to concentrate well
- Mood changes, like increased depression and anxiety
- Having abnormal heart problems, such as palpitations
- Poor dental health, including bleeding gums and mouth sores
- Digestive problems like nausea, diarrhea or cramping
- A poor appetite
- A more serious deficiency can also cause a form of anemia called pernicious anemia, a serious condition that can cause memory loss, confusion and even long-term dementia
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