The symptoms associated with low vitamin B12 levels are vast and can be more serious than many others. They can include weight loss, constipation, diarrhea, elevated heart and respiration rates, fatigue, unusual bleeding or bruising, overall weakness, anemia, clammy skin, and a dizzy feeling. As the deficiency gets worse, nerve damage in the arms and legs can occur with associated troubles in walking or moving. Cognitive issues, loss of memory and dementia are mental symptoms of extreme lack of B12. If this severe deficiency occurs during childhood age, damage to the nervous system may be permanent.
When someone refers to Vitamin B, they are not referring to a single nutrient. The B Vitamins category actually incorporates eight different compounds: B1 or thiamine, B2 or riboflavin, B3 or niacin, B5 or pantothenic acid, B6 or pyridoxine, B7 or biotin, B9 or folate, and B12 or cobalamin. All of these vitamins are essential for vital functions within the body, cell metabolism actions and overall health. These vitamins should be ingested through food, which is the preferred method, or by supplementation. If you lack any of these vital nutrients, you may experience symptoms of vitamin b deficiency.
If you do not have enough thiamine you might develop a deficiency named Beriberi. It manifests with heart and entire nervous system symptoms. If you lack riboflavin, you may have a deficiency called Ariboflavinosis. This primarily affects the skin but may result in bloodshot eyes and cracks at the corners of the mouth. Pellagra is the name for a niacin deficiency, which can lead to skin issues, insomnia, loss of cognitive function, and even dementia. Both, a lack of pyridoxine and folate can result in anemia, and folate is also essential for preventing spina bifida and other birth defects in babies.
By far, the most common B vitamin deficiency is the deficiency of cobalamin or B12. No plants produce this vitamin so vegans and vegetarians have an increased likelihood of being deficient. Diseases and symptoms that might be classified as autoimmune, like Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, pernicious anemia, atrophic gastritis, and intestinal parasites might exist or be worsened by the deficiency of B12 in the body. Alcoholism, some prescription medications and surgical removal of part of the gastrointestinal tract are other factors that can lower the levels of cobalamin in the body.
B vitamin deficiencies can be treated easily by taking the correct form of vitamins you are lacking in (for example, most people don’t absorb, convert or use the most typical form of B12 found in supplements, cyanocobalamin, so it would not be a beneficial form of B12 to take if you were deficient). Changing your eating habits and diet can help, though most people will need to take vitamin supplements to recover. In some individuals who have had part of their intestinal tract removed or have absorption problems, sufficient B vitamins may not be available to the body apart from intravenous replacement. Unfortunately, excess or long-term B vitamin deficiency can lead to permanent damages to the nervous system or cognitive development.