Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the normal functioning of a human body. It helps in the synthesis of DNA, facilitates the production of energy, formation of red blood cells, and boosts brain health. Lack of this important nutrient in the human body can affect one in the following ways:
If you don't have enough B12, you may not make enough red blood cells and struggle to get enough oxygen, causing tiredness, headaches and mood changes. This can lead to a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia.
A deficiency of B12 can affect one’s digestive tract. This can cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, nausea, constipation, bloating, gas, loss of appetite, and weight loss because there's not enough oxygen reaching the gut.
According to a study published in BMJ, severe deficiency of Vitamin B12 can result in permanent damage to the nervous system, even though early symptoms are generally mild or absent. The study cautions that once neurological problems appear, they may not be reversible. The UK's National Health Services (NHS) has identified some symptoms linked to vitamin B12 deficiency, such as a pale yellowish skin color, a red and sore tongue (glossitis), mouth ulcers, changes in walking and movement, disturbed vision, irritability, and depression.
Signs to note on the skin
Lack of vitamin B12 can lead to cobalamin deficiency, also called anemia, a state in which the body fails to produce sufficient red blood cells. In this condition, the skin turns pale. A pale yellow tinge on one’s skin is a prominent indication of anemia.
Oral symptoms and signs
An uncommon oral symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency is known as 'lingual paresthesia,' a sensation of unpleasant tingling, burning, swelling, or pricking on the tongue. Another condition, called glossitis, often accompanies this symptom, causing inflammation and swelling of the tongue.