Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia can cause a wide range of symptoms. These usually develop gradually but can worsen if the condition goes untreated.
Vitamin B12 is responsible for the following functions:
1. Memory Loss, Depression, OCD, And Psychosis
The first signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, which could take years to develop, have either to do with your nerves and mental health.3 The list includes depression, memory loss, psychosis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and dementia.4 The reason behind this is that vitamin B12 helps build the protective myelin sheath around nerve cells. The sheath degenerates with the lack of the vitamin and hinders nerve signal transmission.
2. Anemia, Fatigue, Shortness Of Breath
There are certain blood-related signs that the deficiency could manifest in. But it is highly unlikely that you have hematological symptoms if you already have nervous and mental symptoms. The likelihood of it diminishes further with the severity of the neuropsychiatric symptoms.5
Anemia is a classic vitamin B12 deficiency symptom. Severe anemia could lead to breathing difficulty on exertion, fatigue, as well as symptoms related to congestive heart failure, such as ankle edema, breathing difficulty, frequent urination in the night.
3. Nausea, Vomiting, Heartburn, And Bloating
Some symptoms of the deficiency involve the digestive tract like nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal bloating and gas, constipation or diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss. An enlarged liver is another symptom.7
4. Skin Lesions, Vitiligo, And Sore Tongue
Any change in the cobalamin content in the body can show on the skin as vitiligo, dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, or acne. Your hair and nail could change, too. Glossitis or inflammation of the tongue that makes food intake difficult is another symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency.8
Skin lesions, especially the ones not responding to any other treatment, are most likely from cobalamin deficiency.
The greatest food sources of vitamin B12
The biggest sources of this vitamin are animal products. There are some plant food products which can be fortified with vitamin B12 but you need to check the labels to see which ones have been fortified with this exact vitamin. These are the best sources of vitamin B12:
- Clams and beef liver
- Eggs, poultry, meat, fish, milk, and dairy products
- Nutritional yeast, certain cereals, and some fortified foods
Don’t leave your deficiency untreated!
Vitamin B12 deficiency can easily be treated; you just need to know if you suffer from it first. This vitamin is water soluble and non-toxic, meaning you can take it orally or in the form of injections and resolve your problem fast and simple. Or you can try to resolve it naturally by eating vitamin B12 rich foods. Consult with your doctor to determine which course of treatment works best for you.