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Here’s how you can detect vitamin B12 deficiency

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Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper functioning of our body. A marked deficiency of this nutrient can have serious health consequences. Today, we tell you the symptoms to be aware of.

The human body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, nerves, DNA, and perform other important functions. Like most vitamins, B12 is not produced by the body, so it must be obtained through food or supplements.

B12 can be found in red meat, eggs, poultry, dairy products, and other foods of animal origin. For this reason, those who follow a strict vegetarian diet are at high risk of being deficient in this nutrient.

The symptoms of low B12 levels are quite a lot, so it is important to be attentive to the signals that the body gives.

The first thing to observe is the color of the skin. In people with a B12 deficiency, the skin becomes very pale or even yellowish. This is because a lack of this vitamin causes a decrease in red blood cells, which, in turn, causes excess bilirubin. A large amount of this substance in the body gives the skin and the whites of the eyes a yellowish color.

Temporary or continuous weakness and fatigue could also be signs that the body receives insufficient B12. In this case, the culprits are also low levels of red blood cells. They are responsible for transporting oxygen to cells and their lack causes hypoxia – low oxygen concentration – in the tissues. It can also cause constant drowsiness, shortness of breath, and dizziness.

Another function of vitamin B12 is to protect nerve fibers. Therefore, its deficiency affects the functioning of the nervous system. This manifests itself in the form of paresthesia, that is, a disorder of skin sensitivity that is characterized by the spontaneous appearance of sensations such as cold, tingling, burning.

Glossitis is another unpleasant consequence of a B12 deficiency. It is an infection that causes pain in the tongue, as well as a change in its texture and color. It can also cause an itchy mouth or a tingly tongue sensation.

The mood swings are also associated with a lack of vitamin B12 in the body. Chronic deficiency of this vitamin can even lead to severe depression or dementia.

Long-term B12 deficiency can lead to coordination problems and even changes in the way you walk, which is especially dangerous for older people.

In rare cases, a lack of B12 can cause damage to the optic nerve, causing vision to blur. This progressive loss of vision is called optic neuropathy.

Low levels of B12 could also cause the following symptoms: unpleasant body odor, loss of appetite, back pain, and regular headaches. Very rarely, they can even cause a fever.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can take time to develop, causing symptoms to appear gradually and intensify over time, Harvard Medicine explained. In some cases, however, they can emerge relatively quickly.

Diagnosing B12 deficiency early is essential to prevent it from causing serious damage to the body. So, if your body gives you signs that something is wrong, do not delay in seeking medical help.

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