Vitamin B-12 is a nutrient crucial for healthy nerves, bones, blood and more. However, your body cannot create this vitamin on its own, so it must be through food or some form of supplement. Vitamin B-12 is primarily found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy. Because of this, vegetarian or vegan diets can lead to a deficiency without additional supplementation.
Are you struggling with low levels of B12 or want to improve your general wellness? We have the solutions for you! Book an appointment at Prime IV today!
Vitamin B-12 deficiency side effects can include anemia, fatigue, intestinal issues, muscle weakness, nerve damage, and poor mood. Let’s take a closer look at these medical symptoms.
For most people, when they are deficient in B12, it affects the body, making them feel tired. The body’s cells need B12 to function. Without B12, the production of red blood cells can decrease, impairing oxygen delivery. In some cases, a deficiency in B12 can cause megaloblastic anemia, leading to the formation of large, immature, and abnormal red blood cells. Without enough healthy red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the tissues, a person will feel tired and weak. A low amount of vitamin B12 in the body will cause someone to develop fatigue. But this can happen for those who even have B12 in the normal range.
In some cases, insufficient B12 levels can even be indicated with pale skin. This type of anemia is related to a B12 deficiency, often caused by the lack of fully-matured, healthy red blood cells. A lack of B12 can also lead to a medical condition called jaundice, making a person’s skin and the whites of the eyes look yellow. That yellowish color is caused by higher bilirubin levels, which is a waste product of broken-down red blood cells.
Low levels of B12 can also lead to a few neurological side effects, including frequent headaches. These headaches are some of the common side effects reported in both adults and children with low vitamin B12 levels. In a 2019 study with 140 people, half of them experienced migraines. Those individuals with migraines had low blood levels of B12 compared to those participants with no migraine history. Research still needs to be completed to find the link between low B12 levels and migraines.
For a healthy, functioning central nervous system, B12 is essential. Any deficiencies can impact a person’s mental health. Those with lower levels of B12 are at a greater risk of developing depression. When there is a lower level of B12, it can elevate the level of an amino acid called homocysteine. As a result, it can lead to depression by increasing DNA damage, cell death, and oxidative stress. Along with symptoms of depression , deficient B12 levels can also lead to additional mental health conditions, including other mood disorders and psychosis.
A lack of B12 can also cause constipation, nausea, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and issues with the gastrointestinal system. These problems can affect both children and adults. Remember that many of these systems can be caused by other factors, such as infections, food intolerances, and medications.
Difficulty concentrating and mental impairment
A deficiency in B12 can impact the central nervous system, causing people to have problems with concentration. These individuals might even have trouble completing tasks or concentrating. Many older adults are at risk for these side effects. When there is a lower level of B12, older adults have been associated with decreased mental functions. Cognitive abilities can improve with B12 treatments. Individuals often see significant improvements in symptoms, like forgetfulness, poor focus, and memory decline.
Pain and inflammation of the mouth and tongue
Its medical term, glossitis, refers to an inflamed, painful, and red tongue. This condition can be caused by a lack of B12. Glossitis can also appear along with stomatitis, which can cause inflammation and sores in an individual’s mouth. These medical conditions can occur in people with B12-related anemia. However, this medical condition could signify early B12 deficiencies in the body. Other nutritional deficiencies, such as folate, niacin, and riboflavin, can also be responsible for glossitis.
Paresthesia in hands and feet
A burning sensation or the feeling of “pins and needles” in certain parts of the body, like the hands and feet, is called paresthesia. Many adults and children with these symptoms are also deficient in B12. However, B12 deficiency can also overlap diabetic neuropathy symptoms. Those conditions cause nerve damage due to high blood sugar, resulting in numbness and pain in the extremities. Along with that, diabetic individuals who take metformin also have a higher risk of developing low levels of B12. This medication can reduce the person’s vitamin B12 absorption in the body. In some cases, a B12 deficiency could be misdiagnosed as peripheral neuropathy. If an individual is taking metformin, they should be regularly screened for any vitamin B12 deficiencies.
Other signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency
In addition to the above symptoms, there are other problems caused by a lack of B12, including the following:
Muscle weakness and cramps: A B12 deficiency can negatively impact sensory nerve function and motor skills, causing muscle weakness and cramps.
Impaired coordination: impaired balance and coordination is also called ataxia. It is a neurological symptom that is often caused by a lack of vitamin B12. Individuals with this medical condition can have a problem balancing or walking.
Erectile dysfunction: men with a lack of B12 might experience erectile dysfunction. This medical condition is often the result of increased homocysteine levels in the body.
Vision disturbances: A B12 deficiency will often cause vision disturbances. When there are low levels of B12 in the body, an individual could suffer potential damage to the optic nerve.
Maintaining proper vitamin B-12 levels can alleviate these symptoms and promote overall health and wellness. Some of the most prominent benefits of maintaining proper vitamin B-12 levels include:
It assists in energy production. B vitamins, including B-12, aid in converting food into the energy your body needs to be alert and active.
It helps form red blood cells. Vitamin B-12 deficiencies have been found to cause a decrease in the quantity and quality of red blood cell production. Rather than healthy small round cells, an individual with a vitamin B-12 deficiency tends to have larger and oval shaped red blood cells. These larger cells can cause many health issues including anemia, fatigue, and weakness.
It can support your brain’s health. Vitamin B-12 has been found to slow mental decline and prevent the loss of neurons in the brain. Many studies show that vitamin B-12 deficiency is associated with ailments like low cognitive function and dementia.
It may improve your mood. Vitamin B-12 plays an important part in creating and metabolizing serotonin, the chemical in charge of regulating your mood. If you are vitamin B-12 deficient, you also run the risk of decreased serotonin production and a subsequent depressed mood.
It’s good for your bones. Multiple studies have found links between low vitamin B-12 and ailments such as low bone mineral density and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
It promotes healthy skin, nails, and hair. Low vitamin B-12 can cause many symptoms such as nail discoloration, hair changes, vitiligo, hyperpigmentation and more. Vitamin B-12 supplements have been found to improve these issues in individuals with a deficiency.
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin B12?
If you want to stay healthy, you need to get the right amount of vitamin B12. Since your body doesn’t naturally make vitamin B12, you have to get this vitamin from supplements or animal-based foods.
How much do you need? That will depend on your age, current health, and eating habits. In general, the average recommended amounts are:
Infants – age 6 months and younger: 0.4 mcg
Babies – age 7-12 months: 0.5 mcg
Children – age 1-3 years: 0.9 mcg
Kids – age 4-8 years: 1.2 mcg
Children – age 9-13 years: 1.8 mcg
Teens – age 14-18: 2.4 mcg
Adults – 2.4 mcg
As previously mentioned, vitamin B12 can be found in animal food products. These sources include eggs, meat, poultry, and dairy products.
If you are struggling to get the right amount of B12, there are ways to increase your absorption levels.
Considering the many benefits of maintaining proper vitamin B-12 levels, it’s not wonder why so many are looking for the best way to boost their vitamin B-12 intake. Aside from eating foods rich in vitamin B-12, this nutrient can also be taken orally via a high dose supplement. Unfortunately, oral consumption of vitamin B-12 supplements can have a very low absorption rate due to digestive system inefficiencies. Fortunately, there are new and improved ways to boost your vitamin B-12—taking it through an IV.
Most people have a very difficult time converting B-12 (Cyanocobalamin) to its active form (Methylcobalamin) which it must be in for our body to utilize it. Most oral vitamins are not Methylated (in the active form) which means our body has to still complete this process to utilize it. This also results in better retention of this vitamin in our system as it will absorb and be utilized quicker with less chance of loss.
Prime IV offers numerous IV drips specifically formulated to improve your health and wellness—including The Revitalizer which has a double dose of vitamin B-12. Taking vitamins and nutrients intravenously puts them directly into your bloodstream and provides the maximum benefit by bypassing the less efficient absorption of the stomach. Also, waiting hours for digestion is a thing of the past! Our IVs take 30-60 minutes and have you back on the road to peak health. Find your nearest Prime IV location to book an appointment today!