Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin B12 deficiency can have serious consequences, yet up to 40% of American adults are believed to have below-normal levels of vitamin B12.

Deficiency symptoms include weakness, loss of appetite, constipation, numbness or tingling in the arms and legs, difficulty maintaining balance, and shortness of breath.

Effects on the brain can manifest as:

  • brain fog
  • memory loss
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • confusion
  • disorientation
  • hallucinations
  • schizophrenia

If left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a host of neurological problems including gait abnormalities, neuropathy, neuropsychiatric manifestations, and impaired vision, taste, and smell.

In the long term, this can ultimately lead to permanent nerve and brain damage, brain atrophy, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Who’s at Risk for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

You are at increased risk for B12 deficiency if you:

  • are a vegetarian or vegan
  • are age 60 or over
  • take acid-suppressing drugs
  • take metformin for diabetes
  • have a chronic digestive disorder such as Crohn’s, celiac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome
  • have an eating disorder
  • have had weight loss surgery
  • have H. pylori, the bacteria that causes ulcers
  • abuse alcohol or nitrous oxide
  • are HIV-positive
Make sure you speak with a doctor if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and you can discuss the proper treatment plan.