Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: The feeling you get when you may be lacking B12

Vitamin B12 is a vital nutrient that you may not be benefiting from. Over time, a deficiency reveals itself in surprising ways. Which feeling reveals you lack vitamin B12?

John Hopkins Medicine explained that a reduction in red blood cells – due to a vitamin B12 deficiency – results in tissues and organs not receiving the oxygen it needs.

Without enough oxygen circulating in the body, things start to work less effectively.

Although symptoms vary from person to person, one may experience an increase in irritability when lacking vitamin B12.


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Irritability is regarded as a feeling of agitation – when you’re more likely to become frustrated and upset more easily than usual.

This is to be suspected if you’re currently under a lot of stress, or you’ve not had a good night’s sleep.

But irritability that comes out of nowhere may be a sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

In addition to irritability, a person with a vitamin B12 deficiency can feel a range of feelings.

This ranges from the physical – experiencing a numb or tingling feeling in the hands and feet – to simply losing your appetite.

Other signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include nausea, fatigue and weak muscles.

Some people may experience trouble walking, weight loss, diarrhoea or a fast heart rate.

Why does this happen?

The main cause for a vitamin B12 deficiency is the absence of intrinsic factor.

Intrinsic factor is a protein made in the stomach that binds with vitamin B12 from the foods eaten, which then helps the gut reabsorb vitamin B12 during digestion.

Either intrinsic factor is destroyed by the body’s own immune system – as the body mistakes it for an intruder.

Or, a surgical procedure (gastrectomy) that removed the end of the small intestine is the culprit.

This is because the end of the small intestine is the part of the gut responsible for absorbing vitamin B12.


  • Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: The tingling sensation you may feel

People with autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and Crohn’s disease, are more at risk of developing a B12 deficiency.

Additionally – as vitamin B12 comes from animal products – vegetarians are at risk of being deficient in this vitamin.

However, there are many food products available to buy that are fortified with vitamin B12, including supplements.

A simple blood test taken at the doctor’s clinic can determine if you’re deficient in vitamin B12.

Should you suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency, treatment can include diet adjustments, B12 injections and folic acid pills.

It’s best to verify, sooner rather than later, whether or not you have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

This is because – although many symptoms improve with treatment – some problems caused by the condition can be irreversible.

The NHS concluded: “The longer the condition goes untreated, the higher the chance of permanent damage.”

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