What Are the Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

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Some signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include constipation, general body weakness, pale skin, bleeding gums and weight loss. The best way to avoid getting vitamin B12 deficiency is by eating foods rich in the nutrient, notes WebMD.

Some of the risk factors associated with vitamin B12 deficiency include being vegetarian, drinking too much alcohol, intestinal problems, cancer treatment and pregnancy. A lack of adequate vitamin B12 in the body may lead to a condition called vitamin B12 deficiency anemia.

Individuals that lack this vitamin in the body may end up developing a sore tongue and a rapid heartbeat. They are also likely to bruise easily and lose weight. Other symptoms that may be experienced due to vitamin B12 deficiency include the skin turning pale, stomach upset, rapid breathing, diarrhea or constipation and light-headedness.

Heavy drinking, long-term acid-reducing drug use and immune system disorders such as lupus and Graves' disease also result in vitamin B-12 deficiency. Conditions that affect the small intestine, including parasites, growth of bacteria, celiac disease and Crohn's disease, can also result in lowered B-12 and B-12 deficiency. Weight loss surgery or other surgeries that require removal of part of the small intestine or stomach are additional causes.

To treat the condition, doctors recommend a change in the diet, notes Mayo clinic. Some foods that may act as good sources of vitamin B12 include eggs, seafood, poultry and meat. Vitamin B12 supplements may also be a good way to manage the condition. If there is an underlying cause leading to this condition, doctors often deal with the issue in order to resolve the deficiency.

Vegan or vegetarian diets can result in a deficiency in B-12 if the vegetarian or vegan does not consume an adequate amount of dietary B-12, notes WebMD. Pregnant vegetarian women may give birth to babies who are deficient in vitamin B-12.