Most people know that vitamin B12 is important for overall health, but many don’t realize that a deficiency in this nutrient can cause some serious problems. Here are four warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency that you shouldn’t ignore:
1. Feeling tired all the time
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally found in animal products such as fish and meat. It is also added to many non-animal-based foods. Vitamin B12 deficiency is very rare and is most common in older adults. B12 deficiency can make you feel tired and weak. The symptoms of B12 deficiency can disappear quickly once you get adequate amounts of B12.
2. Having trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
One common complaint among people who experience trouble concentrating is forgetfulness or brain fog. This is usually considered a mild symptom, however, sometimes it can be more serious. This condition is known as vitamin B12 deficiency and it can cause problems including fatigue, lack of energy, depression, cognitive difficulties, and irritability.
3. Experiencing mood swings or depression
Vitamin B12 is a chemical that most of us associate with healthy red blood cells and a healthy nervous system. However, B12 is also the vitamin that takes care of your mood. It’s needed for serotonin production, which helps regulate how we react to our surroundings. Low levels of this vitamin can cause depression, irritability, anxiety, and mood swings.
4. Having numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
Numbness, tingling, or a loss of feeling in your hands or feet can be a sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 helps by powering your nervous system. It’s found in animal foods such as meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs. It also can be found in some fortified foods like breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to get your levels checked by a doctor. A simple blood test can determine whether you’re deficient in vitamin B12 and, if so, how severe the deficiency is. Treatment for a vitamin B12 deficiency typically involves taking supplements or getting injections of the vitamin. With proper treatment, most people are able to resolve their deficiency and enjoy good health.