Vitamin B12 is needed by the body to make red blood cells, and also to help with the production of DNA. It boosts the nervous system while keeping it healthy, added the NHS. It can be difficult to know if you’re at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency, as the symptoms develop slowly. One of the most common warning signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency is having a tingling sensation in the body, it’s been revealed.
A tingling or strange numbness in the hands, legs or feet could be caused by a B12 deficiency, claimed Harvard Medical School.
These sensations may also be linked to balance problems or difficulty walking, it said.
“Vitamin B12 deficiency can be slow to develop, causing symptoms to appear gradually and intensify over time,” it said.
“Given the array of symptoms a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause, the condition can be overlooked or confused with something else.
“Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms may include strange sensations, numbness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet, or difficulty walking [staggering, balance problems].”
You could also be at risk of the condition if you develop a swollen or inflamed tongue, it added.
A swollen tongue, which is also known as glossitis, can make the tongue appear smooth, as the taste buds stretch out and disappear.
Patients may also develop ulcers, or a feeling of pins and needles on the tongue.
“While an experienced physician may notice the symptoms and be able to detect a vitamin B12 deficiency with a good interview and physical exam, a blood test is needed to confirm the condition.
“It’s a good idea to ask your doctor about having your B12 level checked if you are a strict vegetarian or have had weight-loss surgery or have a condition that interferes with the absorption of food.”
Early diagnosis of a vitamin B12 deficiency is crucial, as it can lead to severe neurological problems or blood diseases if it’s left untreated.
Other, more common warning signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include tiredness, jaundice, and feeling dizzy.
You should speak to a doctor if you’re worried about vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
But you can top up on the vitamin by eating certain foods. The best sources of vitamin B12 include beef, liver, dairy foods, eggs, and salmon.
A vitamin B12 deficiency could be caused by pernicious anaemia – a condition that’s caused by the body’s immune system attacking healthy stomach cells.
Diagnosing the condition early is crucial, as it can lead to heart conditions and temporary infertility on rare occasions.