Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency

What are the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency? Vitamins play an important role in our lives. It is often unknown which vitamin is exactly good for us. The symptoms of a vitamin deficiency are often unknown. In this article you can read all about the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

What is vitamin B12: why, facts and figures

Vitamin B12 is a very important substance for the human body. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system and also for the production of red blood cells in the body. A certain protein is produced in the stomach. This protein is also called ‘Intrinsic Factor’ and the absorption of vitamin B12 depends on this protein. It is striking that vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that is stored in the human body. Another name for vitamin B12 is ‘cobalamin’. Vitamin B12 can be found in animal products, such as cow’s milk (products), meat (products), eggs and fish.

Vitamin B12 deficiency: the symptoms

People who do not consume products as mentioned above, such as vegans, are more likely to develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. But older people with a stomach protein deficiency or stomach disease are also at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency. This deficiency can lead to a form of malignant anemia. This is also called ‘pernicious anemia’. In addition, this deficiency can have neurological consequences. This includes tingling in the fingers, memory loss, coordination disorders (difficulty moving), ataxia (disorder in balance) and tired and/or weak muscles in the legs. A person with a vitamin B12 deficiency may experience a burning tongue or a strange sensation in the feet, such as the feeling of walking on cotton wool. Fatigue or psychological complaints such as depression or gloom may also occur. A vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause a loss of appetite, dizziness, weight loss or diarrhea. The person in question may also appear pale on the face. However, these are the most common symptoms. In case of vague, unexplained complaints, it is advisable to check for a possible vitamin B12 deficiency. A diagnosis made too late can lead to serious persistent complaints and permanent damage.

Prevention: better than cure

To prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency, it is important to pay attention to your diet and lifestyle. The deficiency is often caused by an unhealthy or one-sided diet. It is not only important to eat a varied diet, switching to an eco or organic diet can also be good for your health. Consuming enough fruit and fresh vegetables every day is highly recommended. Products with a high content of vitamin B12 are eggs, meat and dairy products. Vegans and vegetarians can take vitamin B12 through a dietary supplement. A GP or dietitian can provide more information about this. Certain algae, seaweeds and mushrooms also contain a vitamin-like substance and could possibly serve as an alternative.