Facts About Vitamin B12 Cobalamin Deficiency Symptoms
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Facts About Vitamin B12 Cobalamin Deficiency Symptoms

There are many different symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Some symptoms are very small and hard to detect. Most of them occur in people over the age of sixty five, but people of any age can have these symptoms. Fatigue is mentioned as symptoms, but it can also be a precursor to another ailment.

White or flaky spots on the skin, pale skin,

Numbing or burning in the thighs, fingers and toes,


Twitching of the eye or numbness in the face


Apathy (lack of strong feeling or concern,

Suffering from diarrhea,

Constipation, Prolonged use of ulcer or heart burn medication can also cause some of these symptoms.

Paranoia a rapid heart beat,

Mood swings,

Inability to think clearly or in a fog,

Loss of hair,

Strange sensations or an itchy tongue and bleeding or swelling of the gums in the mouth.

Mouth sores or canker sores in and around the mouth are a prominent symptom. This can be caused when eating citrus fruits, spicy foods (jalapeño, salsa) tomatoes or tomato sauce. Soon after consumption the sores may appear.

Similar symptoms can be found in people that are low in folic acid also known as B9. Folic acid and Vitamin B12 work together, so if there is a deficiency in one then the other cannot work as well. B12 works in the body as a methyl donor and combined with folic acid help create and repair DNA and RNA, (the body's genetic makeup). The body contains a wall or fatty sheath around the nervous system that is made up of an intricate protein known as myelin. B12 helps maintain this wall, so when the body lacks it the nervous system suffers and it can cause major damage if not caught early enough.

A simple blood test can be run to check for B12 deficiency. The test helps the doctor see the blood cells count, quantity and characteristics. If the body does not have enough B12 the red blood cells can be mass produced, called macrocytic (big cells) or megaloblastic (big and immature cells). This makes it hard for the body to receive adequate amounts of oxygen. The brain is not supplied with adequate oxygen levels and this may cause someone to not be able to think clearly. Some cases may turn into dementia or Alzheimer's disease. The body stores up three to five year’s worth of B-12 in the liver, so it may take months or even a few years before you experience symptoms or deficiency. Infants show signs more quickly due to the young age and not having adequate time to produce reserves. If breast feeding it is important to make sure your B12 is at good levels so the baby gets the vitamins she or he needs to develop. Some symptoms is infants are

Failure to be healthy,

Problems with movement

or delays in development.

People who are on strict vegan diets sometimes are found to be vitamin B12 deficient. A good source of foods to eat if you are deficient is eggs, fish, poultry, liver and dairy products. Fortified cereals or breakfast bars are good sources of B12. There is over the counter B12 vitamins or B Multivitamins that can be taken on a daily basis. People who drink a lot of alcohol, are diabetic or smoke do have a higher risk of lacking the vitamin. If you have had gastrointestinal or weight reduction surgery you should check with your doctor about deficiency. Since the surgery was in the stomach it may have removed some of the cells that release hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor. This can cause the reduction in the supply of B12 that the body releases and absorbs.

With any type of symptom that might be bothering you over a period of time it is suggested that you see your physician as soon as possible. This article is not written by a professional in the medical field and should be used only to better understand the deficiency.

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Comments (1)
Theresa Behenna

Handy info to know. Thanks!