Does b12 deficiency harm the body?

Vitamin b12 and health

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people should acquire the majority of their nutrients through food and beverages. Vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other health-promoting ingredients can be found in foods. When meeting nutritional demands for one or more nutrients is difficult, fortified foods and dietary supplements can help (e.g., during specific life stages such as pregnancy).

Vitamin B12 binds to the protein found in our diets. Hydrochloric acid and enzymes in the stomach break down vitamin B12 into its free form. Vitamin B12 then binds with a protein known as intrinsic factor, allowing it to be absorbed deeper down in the small intestine.

Vitamin B12 serves a variety of functions in your body. It helps nerve cells function normally and is required for red blood cell production and DNA synthesis.

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for most individuals is 2.4 mcg, while it is higher for pregnant or breastfeeding women (1Trusted Source).

Vitamin B12 can support your body in a variety of ways, including increasing energy, improving memory, and preventing heart disease.

Harmful effects of b12 deficiency on body


You’ll probably feel tired if your B12 levels are low or inadequate.

B12 is required for optimal cell activity. As a result, low B12 levels can reduce normal red blood cell synthesis, compromising oxygen supply (8Trusted Source).

Megaloblastic anemia can be caused by a B12 or folate deficiency. This disorder causes big, aberrant, and immature red blood cells to develop, as well as defective DNA synthesis.

Pale or yellow skin

Pale or yellow skin is another indicator of B12 insufficiency.

Anemia caused by a lack of completely grown, healthy red blood cells in the body, similar to iron deficiency anemia, can cause your complexion to become pale.

Jaundice is a condition in which your skin and the whites of your eyes get a yellowish tone due to a B12 deficiency.

High amounts of bilirubin cause the color. a waste product produced when your body breaks down red blood cells.


B12 shortage and inadequacy can cause neurological symptoms such as headaches.

Indeed, headaches are one of the most prevalent symptoms of B12 insufficiency in both adults and children.

According to several types of research, those who suffer from certain types of headaches often are more likely to have low B12 levels.

Depressive symptoms

B12 is necessary for the proper functioning of your central nervous system, and a lack of it can have negative consequences for your mental health.

B12 deficiency, in particular, has been linked to an increased risk of depression.

Low amounts of B12 can lead to an increase in homocysteine, a sulfur-containing amino acid. As a result, increased oxidative stress, DNA damage, and cell death in the body may contribute to the development of depression.

Gastrointestinal issues

Diarrhea, nausea, constipation, bloating, gas, and other gastrointestinal symptoms can all be signs of a B12 deficiency.

Both adults and children might be affected by these difficulties.
However, keep in mind that many of these symptoms are non-specific and could be caused by a variety of different circumstances. Food intolerances, drugs, and infections, for example, can all cause diarrhea.

Difficulty concentrating and Mental impairment

People with low or inadequate B12 levels may feel foggy-headed and have difficulty concentrating and finishing tasks because B12 deficiency has a negative impact on the central nervous system.

Because the risk of B12 insufficiency grows with age, older persons are more susceptible to these side effects.

Low B12 levels have been linked to poorer mental function in older persons in numerous studies.

Fortunately, studies demonstrate that B12 medication helps alleviate mental impairment caused by low B12 levels.

For example, a 2020 study administered B12 replacement medication to 202 persons with minor mental impairment, low or sub-normal B12 levels, and increased homocysteine levels for three months.

84 percent of participants reported significant improvements in symptoms such as poor focus, memory loss, and forgetfulness after treatment.

Pain and inflammation of the mouth and tongue

A medical name for an inflamed, red, and painful tongue is glossitis. A B12 shortage may be to blame.

Glossitis can arise alongside stomatitis, which is characterized by ulcers and inflammation in the mouth, in patients who have this deficit.

Problems like Glossitis and stomatitis are common in persons with B12 deficiency-related anemia, but they can also occur without anemia and be a symptom of B12 deficiency.

This problem can be caused by dietary deficiencies such as folate, riboflavin (B2), and niacin (B3).

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