Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve cells and red blood cells healthy, and also facilitates the production of DNA, the genetic information contained within the body’s cells. Most people derive a sufficient quantity of vitamin B12 from the foods they eat (the required amount can vary based on age and other factors). In some cases, however, this does not occur naturally, such as when an individual has pernicious anemia, a condition that inhibits the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from foods and supplements.
Common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Balance problems
- Poor memory
- Mouth and tongue soreness
If you suspect that you might have a vitamin B12 deficiency, an experienced physician can confirm or rule out that possibility through a physical examination, interview, and blood test. Early detection is vital because, when left untreated, a deficiency can lead to neurologic problems and blood diseases.
The most appropriate treatment for a vitamin B12 deficiency will depend on its cause. For instance, a change in diet may be recommended to ensure consumption of adequate amounts of red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products (for vegans, B12-fortified foods and supplements can be good alternatives). On the other hand, if absorption is an issue, a doctor might prescribe vitamin B12 injections, which can help protect the body from nerve damage and provide a variety of other health benefits, including increased energy and an enhanced immune system. Additionally, prompt treatment of an underlying condition like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or alcoholism can sometimes resolve a B12 deficiency.
To learn more, or if you are interested in receiving vitamin B12 shots, please contact or visit the doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic today.