Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency can happen if you suffer certain conditions such as Pernicious anemia, which makes it hard for your body to absorb vitamin B12 and atrophic gastritis, in which your stomach lining has thinned. Certain stomach conditions affecting the small intestine such as celiac disease, bacterial growth, or Crohn’s disease may also cause Vitamin B12 deficiency. Long-term use of acid reflux medicines and drinking alcohol heavily can also cause a deficiency. Long-term use of antacids or acid reflux drugs can also make you prone to deficiency since stomach acid helps break down animal proteins that are rich sources of vitamin B12.

As you grow older, your body's ability to absorb nutrients such as vitamin B12 from food slows down. 4 out of every 100 women ages 40 to 59 are B12 deficient, and a lot more are borderline. But age is not the only reason of the deficiency. As previously stated, there are a lot of reasons why one can be deficient of this nutrient. Here are some of the signs for you to know whether you have Vitamin B12 deficiency:

Chronic Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the first signs of B12 deficiency because your body relies on the vitamin to make red blood cells.  Red blood cells carry oxygen to your organs. Without the needed amount of oxygen in your cells, you'll feel tired no matter how long you rest or sleep. Fatigue can also be a symptom of a lot of other conditions so read on to know the other symptoms.

Muscle Weakness

Since Vitamin B12 supplies oxygen from red blood cells, your muscles will feel weak if you do not have enough oxygen. Vitamin B12 does not only ensure energy, it ensures that your circulation is in order for your body to have the oxygen it needs.

Pins and Needles

Have you ever felt like electricity was running through your body? How about feeling the sensation of pins and needles? These weird sensations are results of nerve damage, which may be caused by low oxygen levels in cells. When that happens, numbness and pins and needles often occur. Vitamin B12 can help you with that.

You tend to be Forgetful

Did you ever want to say something but it’s just on the tip of your tongue and you just cannot remember it. OR do you have to think hard before remembering a thought you had a minute ago? You may be worried that it's early dementia, but sometimes it is due to low levels of Vitamin B12. Your life can sometimes dramatically change when you have enough levels of Vitamin B12 as it also supports your brain function.

You Feel Dizzy a Lot

People who feel dizzy often have less Vitamin B12 compared to those who do not. A Turkish study compared the vitamin B12 levels of patients who sought treatment in the ER for dizziness with those of 100 healthy volunteers. The result concluded that dizzy patients had 40% less B12 than the volunteers.

Your Tongue Becomes Smooth and Red

People with a severe B12 deficiency lose the papillae on their tongues; these are the little bumps around the edges of the tongue. People with Vitamin B12 deficiency may sometimes complain of burning and soreness on the back of their tongue. They also may lose appetite since most of the papillae contain taste buds and when they lose it, food just doesn’t taste that good anymore.

Skin becomes pale and dull.

Low levels of vitamin B12 may cause the skin to look dull, pale, and may appear to have a yellow cast. The red blood cells may become fragile causing the release of bilirubin pigment that causes the skin to give off a yellow hue.

Your Vision Changes

Vitamin B12 deficiency can damage the optic nerve or plug up the blood vessels in the retina, causing blurry vision, double vision, sensitivity to light, and even vision loss.

You feel more anxious than ever.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can pave your way to depression and anxiety. A lack of B12 causes a spiral on your mood, possibly leading to depression or anxiety. Doctors aren't exactly certain as to why it increases your risk for depression. Researchers believe that it may have something to do with the fact that B12 is involved in the synthesis of brain chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, that help regulate mood.


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Prevention. (2016). 9 Signs You're Not Getting Enough B12. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Dec. 2016].

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