Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency develop gradually – so gradual, in fact, that you could be missing vital clues that your internal functions are struggling. Fatigue and lethargy – two signs you’re deficient in vitamin B12, according to Ada – could easily be dismissed as getting older or just the way things are. Ada – created by doctors and scientists – provides healthcare services.
If the deficiency has reached this stage, treatment might involve life-long injections of vitamin B12.
“Where there has been a severe or prolonged deficiency, nerve damage may be permanent and irreversible,” Ada warned.
Do note that over-the-counter B12 supplements “usually do not contain adequate amounts of vitamin B12 to correct a deficiency”.
Warning signs of neurological problems, some of which may become “irreversible”, include:
- Vision disturbances
- Memory loss
- Pins and needles
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty speaking
- Nerve damage in the legs.
Am I at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency?
You are at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.
This is because vitamin B12 is found in animal products, such as meat, fish and dairy.
Foods fortified with vitamin B12 are available in supermarkets, such as breads fortified with vitamin B12.
As well as dietary insufficiencies, an acquired autoimmune condition could cause a vitamin B12 deficiency even if you eat animal products.