Do your hands, feet, or legs feel like they’re on “pins and needles”? A shortage of B12 can damage the protective sheath that covers your nerves. Diseases like celiac, Crohn’s, or other gut illnesses may make it harder for your body to absorb this vitamin.
You’re Colder Than Usual
Without enough B12, you might not have enough healthy red blood cells to move oxygen around your body (anemia). That can leave you shivering and cold, especially in your hands and feet.
A lack of B12 may lead to depression, confusion, memory problems, and dementia. It also can affect your balance.
Your muscles may lack strength. You also might feel tired or lightheaded. Your doctor can check how much B12 is in your body, but not all of it may be useable. So, it’s important to pay attention to any symptoms – which can grow slowly or pop up more quickly – and to alert your doctor.
Your doctor might call it atrophic glossitis. Tiny bumps on your tongue called papillae start to waste away. That makes it look and feel kind of smooth and glossy. Infections, medication, and other conditions can cause it, too. But if not enough B12 or other nutrients is to blame, your tongue also may be sore.
This is when your heart suddenly races or skips a beat. You might feel it in your throat or neck.
Reason for Shortage: Age
As you get older, your body may not absorb B12 as easily. If you don’t treat it, low levels of B12 could lead to anemia, nerve damage, moodiness, and other serious problems. So, watch for any symptoms, and get a blood test.
You may get these ulcers on your gums or tongue. They could be a sign of low B12, anemia, or another condition.
Reason for Shortage: Medications
Some drugs drop your B12 levels or make it harder for your body to use the vitamin. They include:
- Chloramphenicol, an antibiotic used to treat infection
- Proton pump inhibitors like lansoprazole (Prevacid) and omeprazole (Prilosec)
- Peptic ulcer meds like cimetidine (Tagamet) and famotidine (Pepcid)
- Metformin for diabetes.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all drugs and supplements you take.
You might lose your appetite, drop too much weight, or have trouble pooping (constipation). If your B12 levels are low, your doctor will often inject it into a muscle to be sure your body absorbs it. Sometimes, high doses of pills work just as well. But remember that symptoms of B12 deficiency can be similar to signs of many other illnesses.
Caution for Pregnant Vegetarians
Talk to your doctor about B12 supplements, both during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Infants who don’t get enough could have serious and permanent damage to their nerves or brain cells. Your baby might need supplements, too.
Plants don’t have any B12. So, vegans and vegetarians who don’t eat any animal products should supplement with vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 works closely with vitamin B9, also called folate or folic acid, to help make red blood cells and to help iron work better in the body. Folate and B12 work together to produce S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), a compound involved in immune function and mood. Consider associating vitamin B12 with folic acid.
Choose methylcobalamin, the natural, bioactive form of vitamin B12 not the synthetic form-cyanocobalamin.
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- Vitamin B12 is recommended for psychiatric disorders, neurological disorders, anemia.
- Contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system and to normal energy metabolism.
- For therapeutic use.