What Are the Signs of a Deficiency in Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid?

Common symptoms of vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency include feeling lightheaded or weak, a loss of appetite, behavioral changes and concentration problems, explains WebMD. Those with a vitamin B12 deficiency can also experience heart palpitations, shortness of breath, constipation, vision loss and nerve issues. Visible signs include having a smooth tongue and pale skin. People who lack enough folic acid can have memory problems and weight loss issues as well.

Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that works with both vitamin C and vitamin B12 to help with the process of breaking down, using and creating new proteins, according to MedlinePlus. Because folic acid is water-soluble, the body does not store it in fat tissues and discards unneeded amounts through the urine. A deficiency in folic acid can cause gray hair, a swollen tongue, mouth sores and poor growth. Common complications of folate deficiency include anemia or a low red blood cell count and low levels of platelets and white blood cells. Folic acid is especially important for pregnant women because a deficiency in the vitamin can result in neural tube defects.

Vitamin B12 is necessary for the body’s cells to multiply properly, explains MedicalNewsToday. A drop in vitamin B12 levels can lead to a decrease in the production of red blood cells, possibly causing anemia.