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Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for processes like DNA synthesis, energy production, and central nervous system function. Although this vitamin is found in many foods, B12 deficiency is pretty common, and it happens because of limited dietary intake, malabsorption, certain medical conditions, or using B12-depleting medications. People often question can vitamin b12 cause joint pain, and to some extent, it can.

Moreover, absorption of B12 from food decreases as you age. Thus, deficiency is more common in older adults. Nonetheless, it does not suggest children and younger adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding, cannot develop B12 fault.

Unfortunately, B12 deficiency can often get overlooked and misdiagnosed. Usually, the symptoms are not specific to vitamin B12 insufficiency alone. If you suspect you might have this deficiency, it is essential to visit a healthcare professional to discuss your symptoms and get treatment.

Following are the most common symptoms of B12 deficiency:


If you have a B12 deficiency, you may feel fatigued and exhausted without doing much physical work. It is because your body’s cells need B12 to operate. Inadequate B12 levels can reduce normal red blood cell production, impairing oxygen delivery. It can also cause megaloblastic anemia, leading to abnormal and immature red blood cells and impaired DNA synthesis.

Pale Skin

Pale or yellow skin is another indication of B12 deficiency. It may make your skin pale because of a lack of healthy red blood cells in the body. It may also cause a condition called jaundice, making your skin and the white parts of your eyes a yellowish color. The color is high bilirubin levels, a waste product formed when your body breaks down red blood cells.


B12 insufficiency may lead to neurological health impacts, including headaches. It is among the most commonly notified symptoms of B12 deficit in both adults and kids.

Research has shown those with inevitable headaches are more likely to have low B12 levels. Those with high B12 vitamins were 80% less likely to experience migraines than those with low B12 vitamin levels.

Depressive Symptoms

B12 is essential for proper central nervous system operations, and its deficiency can impact your mental health. Mainly, B12 deficiency is linked with a more significant risk of acquiring depression.

Low levels of B12 can cause high homocysteine levels, contributing to depression by increasing oxidative stress, DNA impairment, and cell demise in the body.

A study found that people with depression had lower B12 levels and higher homocysteine levels than those without depression.

Besides depressive symptoms, low B12 levels may lead to other mental conditions, such as psychosis and mood disorders.

Gastrointestinal Issues

A B12 deficit may cause diarrhea, nausea, constipation, bloating, gas, and gastrointestinal symptoms, affecting adults and children. However, many of these signs are non-specific and could be caused by other factors. For instance, food intolerances, medications, and infections may lead to diarrhea.

Mental Impairment

Deficiency in B12 adversely affects your nervous system. People with low B12 levels may feel dizzy and have a problem focusing and meeting deadlines. As the risk of B12 deficiency grows with age, adults are particularly at risk of such side effects.

Studies have also proven low B12 levels causes worsened mental function in older adults. Fortunately, mental impairment because of low B12 levels can improve with B12 treatment.

Extended Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

B12 deficiency may also lead to the following:

  • Muscle Cramps and Weakness

B12 deficiency negatively affects motor and sensory nerve function, causing muscle cramps and weakness. It may even contribute to joint pain in some older adults.

  • Impaired Coordination

Impaired coordination is also called ataxia, and it is a neurological symptom caused by B12 deficiency. A person with severe B12 drought may have trouble;e walking and balancing.

  • Erectile Dysfunction

Men with a B12 deficit may encounter erectile dysfunction as levels of homocysteine increase in their bodies.

  • Vision Disturbances

B12 deficiency may compel vision disturbances, possibly due to damaged optic nerve. It can cause diverse symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, depression, pale or yellow skin, mental impairment, and pain and inflammation.

Many symptoms are not specific to B12 deficiency, causing the condition to go undetected.

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, you must visit a healthcare professional to get tested and proper treatment. Book an appointment with the best Nutritionist in Islamabad through marham for more information.



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