B 12, or vitamin B-12 as it is also known, is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is found in most foods that we eat. When there is not enough of this vitamin in your diet, the body cannot function properly and does not provide the proper amount needed to keep your cells healthy. The symptoms and signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are fairly easy to identify.
One of the symptoms and signs of vitamin B-12 deficiency may be anemia. Since the vitamin helps to absorb iron in your body anemia is common with vitamin B-12 deficiency. This can affect just about anyone, but it is more prevalent in older women since their red blood cells become less efficient. Other symptoms of anemia include fatigue, nausea, and abdominal pain.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause severe anemia in newborns. It can lead to a condition known as neonatal anemia, in which the red blood cells of the baby do not clot after birth. This can lead to death if not treated promptly. Signs and symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency anemia may include vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, or blood in the stool, slow heart rate, and low energy levels.
Another one of the signs and symptoms of vitamin B 12 deficiency is skin disorders. These can include itchy skin, rashes, dry skin, premature aging, crusty skin, and a loss of hair. Vitamin B-12 helps to make the skin healthy and normal, so when there is a deficiency it is important to address the situation as soon as possible.
Signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are also usually associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding. Women who breastfeed can greatly reduce their risk of vitamin D deficiency by eating foods fortified with vitamin D, such as cod liver oil. However, pregnant women should avoid vitamin D supplements, particularly from supplements that are bulk manufactured, as it is usually present in too small a concentration in these products to be effective.
Vitamin C deficiency is also associated with signs and symptoms of vitamin B 12 deficiency. The body’s ability to absorb vitamin C from foods is less efficient during times of stress, so this vitamin can build up in the body’s tissues. Stress can cause the adrenal cortex to make less cortisone, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. This can contribute to symptoms of anemia as well. A person with insufficient amounts of vitamin C can hemorrhage, have weakness in the muscles, and experience cramps.
Fatigue is also a sign and symptom of vitamin B 12 deficiency. People who don’t get enough vitamin B 12 experience fatigue throughout the day. It can range from mild to severe and can typically involve weakness, lack of energy, and dizziness. Vitamin B 12 deficiency can also lead to symptoms of depression and irritability. Pregnant women are especially prone to signs and symptoms of vitamin B 12 insufficiency because it makes it difficult for the baby to absorb vitamin B12 in the mother’s bloodstream.
To minimize the risks of signs and symptoms of vitamin B 12 deficiency, people should consume foods fortified with vitamin B 12 to maintain adequate levels of the nutrient. Meals fortified with vitamin B 12 must contain at least 10 mcg of the nutrient per serving. Foods that are easy to eat and digest include enriched grain bread, enriched cereals, yogurt, and breakfast cereals. For people whose blood concentrations of vitamin B 12 are lower than normal, it may be best to take a supplement instead of eating a healthy diet that may not be sufficient in the vitamin. Supplements are available in many forms and can be purchased without a prescription.