Vitamin B12 is an extremely vital nutrient that is responsible for growth, cell reproduction, blood formation, and protein and tissue synthesis. It regulates the body’s base-level function and helps to treat anemia, fatigue, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. It is a core nutrient that keeps the blood and nerve cells healthy and facilitates the production of DNA. However, it also leads to one of the most common forms of deficiency across the world. Statistics suggest that over 15% of people face deficiency of Vitamin B12 levels, and a whopping 40% + are borderline. It’s not naturally produced and hence can be easily missed out in diet, making it easy for the deficiency to creep in. The benefits of these essential nutrients can be easily overlooked until the levels get too low and the body’s vital functioning go for a toss.
As our bodies don’t naturally produce Vitamin B12, it’s possible to get it through certain foods like seafood, eggs and poultry. However, there are only a few plant-based sources, veggies, fruits and legumes that are rich in Vitamin B12 nutrients, hence, vegetarians are at a higher risk than non-vegetarians.
Here are the early signs and symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency that can be very common with routine signs of stress, or low energy.
Changes in the texture of the tongue
One of the most telltale signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency is the change in the texture of the tongue. If your Vitamin B12 levels are low, you could lose out on papillae, the tiny taste bud bumps present on the surface of the tongue. This will also make you experience a sore tongue or a change in sense of taste. Also, the tongue can be felt swollen and inflamed. Other oral symptoms, like mouth ulcers, prickly sensations or burning feelings in the mouth can also occur due to Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Feeling prickly, pins and needles-like sensations
Another significant symptom is a pins-and-needles-like painful sensation in the hands, legs and extremities of the body due to deterioration in the nerve cells. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in controlling nerve function and facilitating the production of RBCs. The lack of Vitamin B12 levels can also make you experience dizziness, wobbly, fatigue-like sensations more frequently as the body’s sense of balance and coordination is at risk.
Unusual memory loss
The third important symptom is patchy memory and forgetfulness as Vitamin B12 levels control nerve function. A deficiency of Vitamin B12 could directly cause problems to brain health and functioning leading to memory loss, confusion, disorientation or making it difficult for an individual to remember things well. People suffering from a severe deficiency can have symptoms like mimic dementia.
Anxiety and low mood problems
One of the most common factors for anxiety and low mood could be a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Extremely low levels of Vitamin B12 levels can disturb the mental balance, leading to depression or anxiety as Vitamin B12 is responsible for the production of important neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin.
Elevated heart rate and breathing difficulties
A deficiency of Vitamin B12 can also lead to elevated heart rate and breathing difficulties.