Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of those rare conditions that show no outwardly visible symptoms, although it affects a wide range and high amount of people. The major vitamin b12 deficiency cause is a lack of proper vitamin absorption, or a diet inconsistent with foods that provide vitamin B12 which is the problem of many vegetarians. It may be difficult to diagnose yourself or another as having a B12 deficiency, because it does not always cause conspicuous symptoms.

The most common vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms include tiredness, being irritable, finding it hard to concentrate, difficulty remembering things, and in extreme cases, psychosis or depression. Many believe that B12 helps normalize the body’s internal sleep timers, so if you find yourself sleeping often and waking up tired, a vitamin B12 deficiency may be the cause.

Also, one of the major vitamin B12 benefits is that it’s very important for the production of red blood cells . Red blood cells carry the oxygen in your body so if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency you might have a condition called anemia which is one of the reasons you might experience the previously mentioned B12 deficiency symptoms of being tired and feeling weak.

Although hard to characterize, there are other signs and symptoms of  B12 deficiency such as: tingling on the tongue, white spots appearing for short periods of time on the skin, short-term sore spots on the inside of the mouth, sporadic nerve shocks, finding yourself short of breath very easily, face pains, short-term memory loss, migraine headaches. You might also experience constipation and diarrhea.

So, what ends up causing B12 deficiency symptoms?

There are a few things. The first and most common is an abnormal diet. Because vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal products like egg, meat or milk, a vegan diet can produce a deficiency unless one uses supplements. Another is an ‘intrinsic factor’ deficiency. In understandable terms, intrinsic factor is a glycoprotein that B12 binds to upon entry into the stomach, and is necessary for the body’s proper absorption of this vitamin. In some cases, a tapeworm infestation could be the cause. Tapeworms compete with your body for vitamin B12, usurping the vitamin for its own use and leaving its host organism with an improper vitamin B12 deficiency symptomsamount. These tapeworms aren’t typical in North America but beware if you’ve taken any recent trips abroad and find yourself suffering from B12 deficiency symptoms. If you have diabetes, it’s possible that your medication may interfere with B12 absorption.

A vitamin B12 deficiency is more common than you might think. In a recent study, almost 40% of a test group in the US was found to have low vitamin b12 levels. B12 deficiency is even more common in the elderly, vegetarians, and especially vegans. Though, there is hope! It’s possible to raise B12 levels using supplements, and there are a variety of options available, including pills, sprays, and injections. There was even a lollipop manufactured as a B12 supplement! If you find yourself believing that you may be suffering from B12 deficiency, it’s important to examine your diet and adjust accordingly. Adding a few dairy products to your diet such as milk, yogurt, or eggs should be relatively simple and a quick fix to this deficiency!

Also, if for some reason changing your diet is not an effective solution for you, consider talking to a health professional and he might recommend you other treatment options such as vitamin B12 injections. It’s also possible that you actually have folic acid deficiency because these two conditions actually share similar symptoms. In fact, many people with vitamin b12 deficiency also have folic acid deficiency so a health professional could more clearly explain which condition you have and the best way to resolve it. Some people’s bodies might simply have a hard time absorbing vitamin B12 from nutrients so vitamin B12 shots might be a good solution if a diet with more B12 is not enough to stop the many vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.

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23 Responses to “Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms”

  • M Hoot:

    I have recently been diaganosed with severe vitamin B-12 deifciency. My doctor said no matter how many vit. pills you take or how many foods you eat contaning vit. b-12, your body will never absorb enough to help at this stage.. I was prescribed B-12 shots.. every week for the next month..then once a month for the rest of my life.. I have extreme tiredness.. irritability, headaches, joint/muscle pains.. mood swings.. weight loss, eye twitches.. muscla spasms.. .. with no explanation till now.. sure hope the B-12 shots start helping soon.

  • dee:

    to m hoot-

    please let us know how the b12 shots are doing for you. i have been needing to get them but have heard that the first few you have may have bad body aches. i have the same symptoms as you…expecially the muscle spasms. thank you!!

  • pam vershure:

    To M Hoot
    Saw your post and wanted to ask if you ever experience dizziness or shaking “attacks”?? Last year I started taking the injections after having seen every specialist known to man to find what caused me to start shaking while driving on the interstate out of the clear blue. Told this was like “panic attack”. Have this happen when going up or down escalators and steep flights of stairs. It stops when I get off the interstate, down the stairs or off an escalator. Doc prescribed zoloft, 150 mg daily, did not help so I quit taking it. I have same other symptoms as well. Still happens, still unknown what causes it. Hope you are feeling better!

  • michael:

    My understanding is that the sub-lingual tabs are much more effective and absorbable than pills or capsules that you swallow-especially if you are on acid-reduction medications or are elderly (or both). I also read several years ago that this type of supplementation was as effective as B-12 shots, but I don’t remember the citation or dose.

  • I was diagnosed B12 deficient the beginning of August 2011, thus my journey into B12 research.

    What B12 supplements have done for me, is two fold to date. First it replaced my anti-depressant medications. Secondly, it cured me of chronic dark circles. This second one is a shock to the doctors I have told about it. I had the dark circles for over 30 years, day and night, it didn’t matter.

    No research has ever pointed out that dark circles were caused by a B12 deficiency, and my guess is that the reason is it really is not.

    Dark circles are not caused by heredity, lack of sleep, or broken capillaries, or any other reason you have heard of.

    The truth is still unknown. However, taking into account the amount of alcohol and caffeine I consumed on a daily basis and found others that did the same, yet had no dark circles, I ended up with the discovery that heavy metals absorbed into my system are the reason for dark circles.

    All of the above however, alcohol, caffeine, heavy metals, and tobacco, all interfere with the absorption of B12.

  • Teri:

    I was also told I have vitamin B12 deficiency, My Dr wasnt any help at all, So I bought the B12 sub-lingual. Hoping they work. Been on them for two weeks, still dont have any energy at all, Does anyone know how long it takes for them to start to work, I am going to changed my diet also to see it that will help. If not I guess I will ask for the shots.

  • jen:

    I have a lot going on in my life to the point where i found my keys in the fridge,I work 13-16 hours a day at 25 i knew somthing had to give, so a co worker takes b 12 injections and it worked great for her so i then got one myself even just one injection already helped with no side effects:) which is good since iv had 7 heart surgies :)i love b 12 🙂

  • Terri:


    Not sure why you have a deficiency, mine is due to gastric bypass. It is easier to do the injections, I am prescribed 50,000IU every other week, I had tingling in my hands and feet, I was irritable and as well as a shocking sensation on one side of my face which was diagnosed as trigiminal neuralgia but I think it was due to the B12 deficiency because I no longer experience it. I hope you begin to feel better soon.

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