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Vitamin B12 participates in many life processes, including DNA synthesis and energy production. It is also essential for the proper functioning of the central nervous system. Although it is found in many foods, its deficiencies are quite common. What symptoms may indicate too low vitamin B12 levels?

Research suggests thatvitamin B12 deficiencymay be as high as 20 percent. people over 60 years of age. But they're also common in younger adults and even in children. People taking regular medications, including metformin (recommended, among others, in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes), as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, chronically ill people, vegans and vegetarians are particularly at risk of deficiency.

Althoughvitamin B12 deficiencyhas certain symptoms and can be easily detected with a blood test, it is often ignored and symptoms are attributed to completely different conditions. Which vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms are the most commonly reported?


This is one of the most characteristic symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. If the level of this vitamin is too low, the production of red blood cells decreases, which in turn impairs the supply of oxygen to the cells. Prolongedvitamin deficiency B12may result in megaloblastic anemia, which causes abnormal, large red blood cells to form.

It is worth knowing that prolonged fatigue may be experienced even by those whose vitamin B12 level is within the generally accepted norm, but close to the lower limit.

Pale skin or a yellowish tinge

People with low vitamin B12 levels tend to be pale. This skin tone is related to the anemia accompanying vitamin deficiency. Sometimes the skin takes on a slightly yellowish tinge (sometimes with vitiligo outbreaks) - this in turn results from the overproduction of bilirubin, a product formed during the breakdown of red blood cells.


Vitamin B12 deficiencycan also cause nervous system symptoms such as headache. This symptom occurs in both adults and children. Vitamin level too low B12 is common in people who suffer from persistent migraines, and this has been shownincl. A 2022 study involving 140 people, half of whom suffered from migraines.

It turned out that in participants who had migraines, the level of vit. Blood B12 was significantly lower compared to people who did not have migraines.

Memory impairment and depressive symptoms

One of the symptoms of vitamin deficiency. B12 may have memory impairment and depressive symptoms. Low vitamin B12 levels can increase the level of the amino acid homocysteine. And too high levels of this amino acid, in turn, increase oxidative stress and may contribute to the development of depression.

About a large deficiency of vitamin. Other nervous system disorders may also present B12, including psychomotor restlessness, hypomanic syndromes and psychotic disorders, as well as behavioral and personality changes, and cognitive impairment, ranging from mild to dementia.

Problems with concentration

A symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency may also be problems with concentration and focus - this symptom is especially visible in the elderly, because the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency increases with age.

Many scientific studies link low vitamin levels. B12 with cognitive and mental deterioration in the elderly. Scientists prove, however, that this symptom can be reduced by using vitamin supplements. B12 - One study showed that a 3-month treatment reduces this problem in 84% of participants.

Gastrointestinal problems

Unpleasant digestive problems such as digestive problems, nausea, gas, frequent diarrhea or constipation may also be a sign of vitamin deficiency. B12. People with a confirmed deficiency of this vitamin also experience heartburn and a lack of appetite which lead to weight loss. An enlarged liver may be palpable.

Recurrent inflammation of the mouth and tongue

Cracked mouth corners, a painful, burning and red tongue. and mouth ulcers can be a sign of both early and advanced vitamin B12 deficiencies. A symptom that people with deficiency report quite often is an unpleasant burning sensation of the tongue, sometimes with accompanying disturbances in the sense of taste.

Tingling hands and feet

Otherwise paresthesia. This unpleasant symptom is reported by many people suffering from vitamin deficiency. B12. Sometimes it is accompanied by the so-called Lhermitte symptom (meaning the feeling of "electricity" going along the spine when tilting the head forward). In some people, the sensation in the fingertips and feet is additionally disturbed (they experience painful stinging).

This symptomshould pay special attention to people taking metformin, as it often overlaps with symptoms resulting from diabetic neuropathy, i.e. nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels, which can cause numbness and tingling in the limbs. Metformin may reduce the absorption of vitamin B12 and therefore patients are more likely to be deficient in this vitamin. Many experts recommend that you check your vitamin B12 levels regularly while taking metformin.

Vision problems

Vitamin B12 deficiency sometimes also has an adverse effect on the optic nerve, which results in a significant reduction in visual acuity - the perceived image becomes blurry, indistinct. Prolonged deficiency of this vitamin can even lead to the degeneration of the optic nerve.

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