Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is responsible for much in the body and never is that more

B12 Vitamin Deficiency Home Collection Urine Test Kit

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Home Collection Urine Test Kit

apparent than when you become B12 deficient. It is vitally important in the process of DNA synthesis and even has a role in neurological function. In order for the body to process B12 properly, you need to have several organs functioning in perfect harmony including the pancreas, stomach, small intestine and intrinsic factor.

In fact, the most common result of such a deficiency is a form of anemia that is specifically caused by a lack of B12. The number of red blood cells in the body drop because of the deficient B12 levels.

B12 deficiency can be caused by several things including:

  • Alcoholism
  • A lack of meat, eggs and dairy in the diet
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • An inability to absorb nutrients properly
  • Tape worm
  • A lack of intrinsic factor

While a vitamin deficiency does not sound all that serious, it really can be. The signs and symptoms along can be cause for alarm. Some common signs of this problem include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness of the extremities
  • Sore mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Cessation of menstruation
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Anemia
  • Nervousness
  • Behavioral changes
  • Enlarged mucus membranes

Yes, those are a lot of signs and symptoms. If you have a combination of the above, you should really see your doctor right away. Studies have shown that B12 deficiency can even cause nerve damage.

It can be a scary thought to one day learn that you are seriously lacking this vitamin to the point where it is adversely affecting your health. If it turns out that you are suffering from anemia caused by a lack of B12, you will most likely be treated with B12 injections and then later on weaned off of these shots to be replaced by a balance diet. If, however, you have something called pernicious anemia, you will more than likely need B12 injections for the rest of your life.

A lack of vitamin B12 can reek havoc on your body, not to mention your mind. However, with an acute awareness of your own body and proper treatment, you should be just fine.

70 comments to Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  • Dave

    I’m a 38 year old male. I admit, i don’t recall ever getting told anything about my b12 level at all. With a new doctor though, she ran a full blood work up, part of which covered the b12. I went to the doctor because I’ve been fighting one long continuous migraine+ since the beginning of December 2011. (By migraine+ I mean, pretty severe pain, feels like sharp nerve stabs, etc) At this point, that is approx one month. I have fought migraines since I was approx 11-12 years old, and this one has to be the worst I’ve had in over a decade now.

    But on top of that, things I wasn’t even thinking about, just various other things that had been changing, going on in my life. I’ve always been highly attentive to things, but I can barely remember which way is left or right. I can remember faces and most conversations, but not many names and directions.

    This migraine actually seemed to start due to an optical migraine I had. It was a pretty sudden and sharply painful one – and I have no lost the feel of “migraine” since. There are manageable parts of the day, and many not so manageable parts.

    Once i got back from the doctor, I researched B12, it’s effects, the good, the bad, etc. I, like many here, have experienced many of these symptoms countless times. I’m just floored that no other doctor ever mentioned B12 or anything. I literally asked the doctor when she indicated it was low “what is that exactly”? This doctor seems to jump right on that problem though, and I have to begin an injection regimen now.

    Last week, I also realized, very painfully, that caffeine was effecting the level and pain of my migraine as well. So, I literally stopped all caffeine, no coffee, no soda, no tea, etc.

    Then yesterday – that’s when I got the news about the problem. I’ve been a smoker, even if only half pack a day, for many years. approx 20 to be exact. I haven’t had another one since leaving the doctor’s office. For me, that’s over 28 hours now.

    Note – these two changes were not done because of B12, I hadn’t even started taking pills until today, but won’t start the injections until tomorrow. I did those because of the level of pain they caused. Maybe it was because my level was too low, maybe it was because of something else. I don’t know. But for whatever reason, I woke up one day and my body had completely changed on me, so I just decided not to fight it.

    The new medicine seems to be helping so far… much less pain today at least. Curious and hopeful about these injections too. Maybe if I’m lucky, all my migraines would go away :)

  • laura randall

    I was diagnosed with benighn positional vertigo. I had severe dizziness for an entire year. My son told me try vitamin B-12 complex sublingual and within a couple of weeks, I promise the dizziness disappeared. I will be telling all who have been diagnosed with vertigo. Laura true believer.

  • Tommy

    I’m 28 , suffering from random bouts of dizziness, pain in arm and tingling in fingers, flashing vision, zig zag patterns in corner of vision,lasts about 10mins. tired alot of the time also called lazy by family, going for b12 test tomorrow, hope it is positive lol,, at least I know I’m not dieing,,,

  • Mikhaela

    Hi im 25, i have been unwell for the last 6months. I went to the doctor complaining of fatigue, breathless, my body felt so heavy, heart pounding and racing. They sent me for an ecg which came back with Sinus Tachicardia, i believe this just means my heart constantly beats too fast (around 100-150) but is healthy, they put me on betablockers, which the dosage was soon upped as i was feeling worse. They done many blood tests, one showed an mcv level of 101.25 (100 is the top normally), i told them my mum and sister are b12 difficent and get the injections and asked to be checked. The results came back i had a b12 level of 70, my doctor told me i didnt have the percious anemia but given 6 months and i would. As my Instric Factor was ok he put me on B12 tablets, 2 50mcg a day together with the BetaBlockers. I feel exactly the same, if not worse. I am now getting more pins and needles, had a weird vibrating senation in my spine yesterday, i seem to hullucinate in the dark, like it all turns green and orange and moves, it feels like my throat closes up, i have panic attacks, IBS and headaches. I feel ill every single day, especially in the mornings. I find it very hard to concentrate, just writing this has been a battle with my two kids distracting me and i feel like im out of my depth trying to put sentences together. I honestly feel like im loosing my mind and like theres a disease in my head, everytime i go to my doctors he makes me feel like im exaggerating my symptoms and has said i shouldnt feel that bad without the anemia, he said i should “just feel out of sorts” whatever the hell that means. He asked me about my diet and if i am a vegan, which i am not, i told him im a big meat eater and i eat meat every day, to which he said well i will have to look at your diet so i have started a food diary. I am just so scared that as my symptoms worsten and i get more all the time that i am getting worse. I have heard some things can become perminant after 6 months. I just want to be me again.

  • amin elsersawi

    Deficiency in Vit b12 may cause elevation of alt and ast enzymes.

  • wendy

    I am 81 and have been given b12 shots for three years or more ..When changing doctor there was a hiatus and I have become weaker and forgetful and as slow as a sloth!. The sooner I get the B12 back the better.

    p.s. In one of the final paragraphs the word REEK is used. I think you mean WREAK.

  • Pank

    Thank u all I just been told of lack of B12 your remarks as I have a beautiful daughter she is 2y 89m and a wonderful wife I don’t want to loose them. I think my the lack of my B12 is because of my Alcohol Please remember this world is wonderful filled with wonderful people and your input means a lot my thank you best wishes to u all kind regards love and affection

  • Tara

    i ve had all of the above symtoms, but also horrid rash on my face..right side of my face was numb and limp like a stroke patient…doctors dont care. All of these symptoms are the same symtoms as they are if you have a brain tumor. How do I get my doctor to listen???? had one doc say that hundreds of thousands of patients are becoming collanized with Mercer……..Ive been so sick, cant find anyone to help me..hope its lack of B12 and not anything worse, as my boyfriend is fighting for his life at age 40 of a brain tumor, thanks for any kind words, advice, or info. I can only find hope at rev 21:4..gods promise to us

  • Eddy

    Im a 42 year old male. I’ve been having heart palpitations for at least 8 months. Which started after I bought a lemon motorbike. So I just related it to stress, but they never went away. In dec I went to the doc for a physical and a prostate issue. Blood work came back as anemic. Hemoglobin at 129. Wondered why I was tired most of the time. She put me on ferrous sulphate and within month I did another test. Hemoglobin went to 133, but ferritin shot up dangerously. She called me at home and told me to stop the iron. Few weeks later did another test and my ferritin was normal, but now hoglobin is way down to 127. We did do a fecal occult test in the biggining and it was negative. Could this be a b12 deficiency?

  • shirley

    Thanks for all the comments! I just returned from the doctor on Friday 3/30 because my tongue has been extremely tender around the edges and splitting too. My tongue looks like something out of a horror movie. He immediately suggested to do a b6 and b12 test. I should get the results by Tuesday. Honestly, I hope that the results come back postive in deficiency…because if it doesn’t then the process starts over to figure out why my tonue is so sensitive and bubbly in spots. I have been brushing with Crest regular toothpaste for over 30 years because all the others ones burn my tongue and then all of a sudden one day when I brushed with Crest, it burned like crazy. At first I thought it was the Arm and Hammer whitening booster that I was using in conjuction with Crest or my plastic mouthguard which rest heavily on my tongue at nite. I have had it for about 30 years and it is really abrasive. I am going to get a new mouthguard perhaps the rubber kind. Then I thought I had been chewing on my tongue unkowingly. The doctor really did not think it was the booster but he really did not rule out the mouthguard. Also I thought it was the spicy foods too I like to eat occasionally or the red pepper flakes I use sometimes. I can’t wait till my tongue return to normal. Sorry to hear so many of you are going through many other issues. Hope you will get some closer soon….Shirley(age 55)

  • Lisa

    After years of symptoms I dismissed, the last 6 months my symptoms have increased. (like periodic numbing in hands and feet, frequent urination, fatigue, dry mouth, carpal tunnel like pain, joint stiffness) 5 weeks ago everything got worse with electric jolts, burning, muscle weakness, short of breath, blurred vision, tongue pain and numbness, stomach pain. Found out my b12 was 113. I a started on daily shots now I’m just on weekly then monthly. Also taking b12 methyl form 5mcg twice daily. I have yet to feel better. I’m 35 and my life has stopped. Drs are very dismissive. Wondering if anyone has had similar issues and what their recovery has been. I’m going to have an upper GI and lower GI this week and hoping I’m string enough to go through it. Had an MRI and it was fine

  • Nicola

    Hi I need help. Having chest pain for several months now. Had all tests. Heart is fine. Have cold left arm and hand with some pins and needles. Doc just says its muscular. Last year my b12 was low and doc gave me a shot a week for five weeks. I’m going to ask to be tested again. Does anyone have chest pain as a symptom. Please reply. I have a healer coming to me on Tuesday. I’m do desperste

  • Louise

    Hi, I am a 50 year old and have suffered from fatigue for years. The doctors have said my iron and b12 are ‘a little low’ – b12 is 130 and iron 12. Is this low enough for me to have symptoms of dizziness, shortness of breath, occasional palpitations and extreme tireness? I was given iron tablets and b12 tablets 3 months ago but I still feel extremely tired. I even wake up feeling exhausted!! I also get pain at the back of my leg, just above the ankle and I feel ‘heavy’ most of the time and I’m getting quite a few aches and pains. Can anyone enlighten me!?!?!?!? I am desperate to feel better.

  • Jay

    I came down with mystery illness about 5 months ago – absolutely exhausted all the time, light headed, dizzy but also with vision problems and joint aches. Docs can’t find anything wrong and my B12 was within normal range (though low). I have been taking 5000 mcg’s of sublingual B12 for 2 weeks and I am starting to feel better. The trick might be the large dose – there is no risk in a large dose and worth a try to see if it helps. I have read that in Japan, doctors treat for a B12 level under 500. Just because they don’t in North America doesn’t mean you can’t help yourself – available in any drug store or health food store.

  • Mary

    Iguess in a way i have been lucky not to experience most of the fortold signs. but what i have suffered with is hairloss-and it has been so frustrating at times, and even heart braking….I work with the public and sadly its something i havnt been able to hide. I have a wheat and gluten intollerence and do stick to a strict gluten free diet, i managed to beg my doctor to put me on B12 and i take iron and other supplements, but it is such a slow process. Has anyone else had the same thing? and if so any sugestions???

  • John

    Does low B12 cause dry burning mouth?

  • marie

    I have problem whit my B12 , I have injection every month but I don’t get better. I’m very sick ,I don’t know what to do . can some once tell me if you have similar problem and what do you do whit it.

  • Haris

    Hi there,

    my doctor did a full body check up about three or four years ago which revealed I am b12 deficient, since then I started taking drug store brand b12 vitamins. I realized shortly after that instead of it giving me an energy spike it would leave my head feeling numb, cause to feel completely drained of energy through out the day, so i resorted to very strong cups of coffee to carry out through the day. I told my doctor this he told me i should perhaps stop it or take the vitamin before bed. I stopped taking it for about 3 years and just started again last night, and i have to say i have had a very difficult time waking up, have been extremely dizzy, disoriented, confused and tired since I woke up. I’ve had two cups of coffee and a shower, and I feel exactly the same. Not to mention nerveous too.

  • Linda

    March 1st, 2013 8:37 p.m.
    I am a 51 year old female who has been suffering with stomach pain and lack of appetite for 5 months now. I am not a large person to begin with and have lost more than 15lbs. during this time span. Another thing that doesn’t seem to alarm anyone in the medical field, but has my family & friends frightened for me. I was diagnosed with shingles back in Sept., but never saw a rash. Ran fever, had increased tingling sensation on my torso and body aches. Have had tongue irration for more than a year but chalked it up to aging. I suffered with an iron defficency to the point of having an ablation to end my menstrual cycles and prevent needing blood transfusions. Didn’t help with fatigue as it should have. Even tried hormone supplements, but allergic to them. No doctor, none of the specialists I have seen recognized that my red blood cells were enlarged and that I might have a B12 deficiency until I underwent a scope in my upper gi tract recently. Nothing else showed up in my testing; liver, pancreas, stomach, upper intestine all looked fine as did my blood work except for this little glitch that wasn’t important to anyone but me. Even then the item was mentioned only in passing & I had to ask what that meant. I have already been taking a B12 supplement for more than a year due to feeling so fatigued. From what I’ve read the B12 tablet should be sublingual at the very least. I had to request blood work be done and in the mean time have been placed on an anti-inflammatory which I am afraid to take due to having had my blood pressure elevate when taking these previously. Any advice would be welcome.

  • sidelaine

    hey Nicola, im literally experiencing the same thing as you chest pain and cold left arm and sometimes dizziness or feeling disoriented….. found out my iron is low and low b12 so at this point need to change diet to eating more iron related food and fish ….

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