Low Vitamin B12 levels : Causes and Symptoms

Causes of Low Vitamin B12

Most of us are unaware of the Causes of Low Vitamin B12 levels. A major health issue, vitamin B12 deficiency impacts the general population, specifically the elderly.

B12 is a required nutrient and lack or deficiency of this vitamin might lead to major impairment of typical physical functions.

Plants and veggies rarely consist of vitamin B12, unless they have actually been contaminated by soil bacteria, so plants and veggies are not considered an optimal source.

B12 is also known as Cobalamin and is a water-soluble vitamin. It plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells and DNA, as well as the optimal functioning of the nervous system. It is found in animal foods, including eggs, Milk, and Dairy products. However, it can also be found in products fortified with B12.

Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  1. One main reason for vitamin B12 deficiency is health conditions that affect its absorption such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, bacterial growth etc.
  2. Another reason is eating foods that do not have vitamin B12 as the bioavailability in vegetarian food is almost nil and vegetarians are at a high risk of getting deficit where this crucial vitamin is concerned.
  3. Reduced release of gastric acid, which is necessary for the absorption of this essential vitamin, also triggers a deficiency.
  4. Apart from the elderly and people following a strict vegan diet, people taking diabetes medication or antacid regularly face a higher risk of low vitamin B12 levels in the body.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

An early sign of Vitamin B12 deficiency may be a red swollen tongue (glossitis) followed by other common symptoms:

  • Fatigue,
  • Nerve weakness
  • Pale skin
  • A sensation of pins and needles in the body
  • Dizziness and Breathlessness
  • Anemia
  • Vision disturbances and impairment
  • Body Pain
  • Nerve Damage
  • Digestive Problems
  • Body Inflammation
  • Contractions and Dull ache in the back of the head
  • Stress, Depression and Mood fluctuations
  • Numbness in hands
  • Folate deficiency (Low levels of B12 cause your folate levels to drop)

Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency reflect slowly at first and worsen over time and many times its deficiency is often misdiagnosed as a degenerative disorder. A deficiency should be rectified immediately on detection through foods rich in B12 and with vitamin B12 supplements.

The Bottom Line

Vitamin B12 deficiency is common and produces symptoms which are difficult to identify or relate with an early stage. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, speak to your doctor and get your vitamin B12 Levels checked.

B12 deficiency should be easy to prevent simply by ensuring you are getting enough amount of this essential nutrient in your diet or else you can opt for a supplement as per the advice of your medical consultant.