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”

  • rebeljohn747:

    i found a typo at the end

    “Adding a few dairy products to your diet such as milk, yogurt, or eggs should be relatively simply(simple) and a quick fix to this deficiency!”

  • Adele:

    Thank you for you insight into B12 deficiency symptoms. I’m worried. Ive had low B12 for over a year. And pain in the abdomen. Tiredness. etc. My Specialist is saying i may need b12 injections every 3 months….but has NOT explained intrinsic factor or whether i have not got that…..I’m surprised cos i don’t want to have injections….how do you know if you don’t have intrinsic factor? he said mine is unusually low level of B12….and that i should have injections. I’m not sure how can you KNOW that your body wont absorb it normally????


  • Well he is a specialist so he might be right especially if you are currently taking sources of vitamin B12 in your diet such as the ones mentioned in this article or on my benefits of vitamin B12 page. You might want to try out supplements (a better solution in my mind than taking B12 injections) as another thing to try out. If this fails (you still see your vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms) than you probably have no choice but to take injections 🙁

  • Mellissa Rose:

    I was tested for low iron & B12 deficiency two years ago. I had both. Very low in each category. I was given weekly injections and told to take iron pills. I was diagnosed with Thalassemia since I am Greek & Italian.

    A year later I was tested again and was still extremely low. I was told to keep taking both.

    Today I was told I am still dangerously low. I am going for more tests. After looking on the internet, I may have Pernicious Anemia. Hopefully I get this under control as I am SO very tired all the time. I had carpel tunnel surgery done since I had tingling in my fingers. There was no nerve damage but the doctor said we could still do it. It seemed to fix the tingling for a bit and now it is back. My balance is terrible and my memory is also terrible. I was tested for early Alzheimer’s a few years ago (I am only 30 now) but it came back that I didn’t have it.

  • Jane SF:

    You definitely need to root out your health problems!! What is causing the B12 deficiency, anemia, and neuropathy??? Could be hypothyroidism, celiac disease, allergies? You must be persistent and find a doctor will look at the whole picture and not just try to stamp out the symptoms.
    My experience has been 17 years of poor health, living with hypothyroidism and not getting proper care from health professionals (endocrinologists, gynecologists, dermatologists, neurologists, allergists). All were treating the symptoms but not the root causes. B12 deficiency, pernicious anemia all caused by improper dosing of meds for hypo.
    Finally found a doctor to treat the hypo properly. It will take many months to get my blood “healthy” again, but already I am feeling so much better, each day is better than the next.
    Good luck to you.

  • Zhanna:

    I just found from my blood I am very low in B12, but I don’t have any symptoms.

  • Lilly:

    back in 2000 i was extremely stressed pregnant and depressed, very busy single parent. I never in a million years ever thought that a lack of one simple vitamin would land me in the hospital for three months battling for my life. i all of sudden got really bad migraines and was hospitalized for 3 days, when i walked out the hospital i fell i went home and my whole bottom half felt numb weird. long story short i ended up paralyzed from the neck down. the lining in my body broke down from lack of vitaminb12 i was pregnant too she was fine the whole time. as soon as i got the shots once a month i got better, the docs told my mom to get the family together for our goodbyes, then said i will never walk again, well i am all better. i can walk, i am now perusing my life as a police officer. please folks take care i wouldn’t wish this on my worse enemy. good luck

  • Wow, I did not know B12 deficiency symptoms could go THAT far. Thank god you were able to recover!

  • Sandy Shaffer:

    My primary doctor advised me in late Oct to start taking OTC B12 pills-1000 mcg. Daily which I had been doing. I was always tired, had migraines, trouble concentrating and big time problems with long and short term memory loss. I also suffer from fibromyalgia and severe depression for over seven years. Saw a neurologist who checked my level. I’m down to ninety pounds and have no appetite at all. My level was in the 200 range so he’s just started me on 1000 mcg injections once a day for five days, then once a week for four weeks and then once a month for twelve months. On my fourth day now! Sure hopes it helps! That’s a lot of injections!

  • Janet:

    Can having a B12 deficiency also cause you to be light headed?

  • Shannon:

    I have a question for Sandy Shaffer…I felt like I was reading my own bio. when I read your post. I have an appt. with a few doctors. I need a bone scan and some testing from a gastro. specialist. MMy levels are the same as yours, my weight and I am still loosing ect.
    I am just wondering if your having any success with the injecitons?? Did your doctor figure out why your body is not absorbing the b12. My doctor seems to think I have pernisious anemia but possibly something in addition to that. Please keep me updated with condition and I will do the same if you would like

  • shanan:

    Dear Consultant,

    I have been experiencing headaches in the morning and then
    weakness in both upper arms and in my legs. I will sometimes
    go back to bed and try to get more rest and I wake up still
    I thought it was some new medicine I was taking and discontinued
    the medicine and felt really good for a week. Now it seems I am
    getting headaches again in the early morning hours and weakness
    throughout the day. Hard to keep up all my chores.
    I have not had seizures or fainting. Just weakness and a weird
    feeling in my muscles and very tired.

    What should I do?


  • Crista:

    There are many kinds of Anemia. I suffer with Hypogammaglobulinemia. No folic acid. No Intrinsic Factor. Give self B12 shots every week. Gammaglobulin infusions. Have no stomach. Find a good Hematologest! Have LOTS of blood work done. Don’t let anything stop you on your surch. YOU know your body better than any living human. Find a Dr. who subscribes to this belief also. Giving yourself shots is taking controll of your needs. Not even a thing to consurn yourself with.
    Good Luck

  • I was diagnosed with a B12 deficiency in March this year. Before I finally went to the doctor, I was beginning to wander if I had cancer. I had no energy no matter how much sleep I got. I kept a constant headache. After the blood work came back, I was told my stomach would not allow me to absorb B12. Vitamins made me vomit. I have had 3 injections so far (1000 mcg a month), and I am still weak. I bought a bottle of B12 sublingual vitamins to see if it would boost my energy. I can’t tell a difference yet. I have changed my diet to where I eat more meat and dairy products. I exercise more, but I still have headaches. What else can I do to raise my energy? I am so sick of feeling like this. I just want to feel normal again.

    Any suggestions?
    Melinda Shahan

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