Vitamin B12 deficiency can affect a person’s red blood cell production. If the body lacks vitamin B12 it will struggle to make enough, and the red blood cells can become abnormally large, with a short lifespan. If the body lacks red blood cells, tissues and organs in the body will be deprived of oxygen, triggering the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Three symptoms which can identify the condition, that can appear in the face, are a sore mouth, jaundice and blurry vision
The initial symptoms can then lead to complications, which can affect movement and co-ordination, and can even increase the risk of heart problems.
Three symptoms which can identify the condition, that can appear in the face, are a sore mouth, jaundice and blurry vision.
A sore mouth
A sore mouth and tongue is a symptom of the condition, according to the NHS.
Cells in the mouth need vitamin B12 and iron to regenerate efficiently, so not getting enough of the vitamin in your diet can lead to the mouth sores.
Scientists in the Netherlands have suggested people who suffer mouth ulcers should be checked for a vitamin B12 deficiency.
But it should be noted mouth ulcers are common, and should clear up on their own within a week or two.
If you experience recurring mouth ulcers, see your GP.
If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency you could develop jaundice, according to Bupa.
This makes a person look pale or have a yellowy tinge to the skin.
The eyes can also be affected, with the whites turning yellow.
The fragility of red blood cells when production is affected by vitamin B12 deficiency means many of them break dawn and cause an excess of bilirubin.
Bilirubin is produced by the liver when it breaks down old blood cells and is slightly red or brown in colour.
Large amounts of bilirubin are what give skin and eyes a yellow tinge – jaundice.
Blurry vision can occur when untreated B12 deficiency causes nervous system damage to the optic nerve that leads to your eyes.
This was the finding of a study titled ‘B12 deficiency with neurological manifestations in the absence of anaemia’.
The damage can play havoc on the nervous signal that travels from the eye to the brain, therefore impairing vision.
Optic neuropathy is the medical term for this condition.
Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
- Feeling very tired
- Breathlessness even after little exercise
- Heart palpitations
- A reduced appetite
How to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 is best gained through diet, but some foods are better sources of it than others.
The vitamin is primarily found in meat sources. But if you’re vegan or vegetarian or lack vitamin B12 in your diet, you may want to consider taking vitamin B12 supplements.
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