Vitamin B12 (also called cobalamin) is an important water-soluble vitamin. There are several signs of vitamin B12 deficiency like a person may get pale or jaundiced skin, weakness, changes in mobility, and mouth ulcers.
The vitamin plays an essential role in the production of the red blood cells and DNA, as well as helps in proper functioning of the nervous system.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods such as meats, fish, eggs, poultry, and dairy. It can also be found in products fortified with B12 like varieties of bread and plant-based milk.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, especially in the older people. A person may at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency if he/she don’t get enough from the diet or aren’t able to absorb enough from the food they eat.
Many people don’t get enough vitamin B12 and that deficiency can cause some serious problems with symptoms like weakness and tiredness. loss of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea.
Sign and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency:
Pale or Jaundiced Skin
- People with vitamin B12 deficiency often look pale or have slight yellowing of the skin and eyes, a condition known as jaundice.
- This happens when the absence of B12 causes problems in the production of red blood cells in your body.
- Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in the production of the DNA necessary for the production of red blood cells. Without them, the instructions for building the cells are incomplete and the cells can not divide.
- This results in a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia in which the red blood cells produced in the bone marrow are large and fragile.
- These red blood cells are too big to enter the bone marrow circulation. As a result, you do not have as many red blood cells circulating in the body and your skin may be pale in color.
- The fragility of these cells also means that many of them decompose and cause an excess of bilirubin.
Weakness and Fatigue:
- Weakness and fatigue are common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
- They happen because the body does not have enough vitamin B12 to make red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.
- As a result, the blood can not transport oxygen efficiently into the cells of the body, which makes a person tired and weak.
- In the elderly, this type of anemia is often caused by an autoimmune disease known as pernicious anemia.
- People with pernicious anemia do not produce enough important proteins called intrinsic factors.
- The intrinsic factor is important for preventing vitamin B12 deficiency because it binds to vitamin B12 in the intestine so that it can absorb it. People Also Like: 5 Best Workplace Exercise to Fight Fatigue
Changes to Mobility:
- If untreated, the damage to the nervous system caused by a B12 deficiency could cause changes to the walk and move style.
- It may even affect the coordination and balance, making the person more prone to falling.
- This symptom is often seen in an undiagnosed B12 deficiency in the older people. But treatment and prevention of the deficiencies may improve mobility.
Glossitis and Mouth Ulcers:
- Glossitis is a term used to define an inflamed tongue.
- If a person has glossitis, his/her tongue changes shape and color, making it painful, red and swollen.
- The inflammation can also make the tongue look smooth, and effects the taste buds which further stretch out and disappear.
- Being painful, glossitis can change the way a person eat and speak.
- Several studies have shown that an inflamed and swollen tongue that has long straight lesions on it can be an early sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Few people with a B12 deficiency may experience other oral symptoms like mouth ulcers, feelings of pins in the tongue or an itching or burning sensation in the mouth.
Food Sources of Vitamin B12:
There are several sources of vitamin B12 that provide enough vitamin to the body such as take meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products.
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