Vitamin B12 deficiency causes the body to produce abnormally large blood cells that can’t function properly. Left untreated, complications can occur, such as vision problems, memory loss and damage to the nervous system. The vitamin is best gained through diet, but if a person isn’t eating enough vitamin B12-rich foods then the condition will develop. It’s important to notice symptoms to avoid complications, and one experts says to note is shortness of breath.
According to a case report a 62-year-old man who lacked vitamin B12 became progressively short of breath
According to a case report from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, a 62-year-old man who lacked vitamin B12 became progressively short of breath.
Shortness of breath can occur as a result of the decreased capacity of the blood to carry oxygen.
But this isn’t the only symptom to note. The NHS lists:
- A pale yellow tinge to the skin
- A sore and red tongue (glossitis)
- Mouth ulcers
- Pins and needles (paraesthesia)
- Changes in the way that you walk and move around
- Disturbed vision
- Changes in the way you think, feel and behave
- A decline in your mental abilities, such as memory, understanding and judgement (dementia)
Another sign of vitamin B12 deficiency that can occur is blurry vision.
Blurry vision can occur when untreated B12 deficiency causes nervous system damage to the optic nerve that leads to your eyes.
This was the finding of a study titled ‘B12 deficiency with neurological manifestations in the absence of anaemia’.
The damage can play havoc on the nervous signal that travels from the eye to the brain, therefore impairing vision.
Optic neuropathy is the medical term for this condition.
Adults require 1.5mg of vitamin B12 a day, and you should be able to get enough from your diet.
Foods such as meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs and some fortified breakfast cereals are good sources of vitamin B12.
But as vitamin B12 isn’t naturally found in foods like fruit, vegetables and grains, vegans may not be able to get enough of it, and may need to take supplements or get injections.
The Department of Health advises if you take vitamin B12 supplements, not to take too much as the could be harmful.
Taking 2mg or less a day of vitamin B12 supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.
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