Pernicious anaemia – an acquired autoimmune condition – occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the stomach cells, resulting in intrinsic factor not being made, and vitamin B12 being excreted. The nutrient is abundant in animal products, such as meat, fish and dairy. However, if the body is unable to reabsorb vitamin B12, you’ll experience symptoms of a deficiency over time.
In the beginning, it can be very easy to brush off any niggling symptoms, such as pale skin or fatigue.
However, vitamin B12 is vital for numerous processes in the body, including red blood cell production.
As your vitamin B12 levels deplete more and more, dangerous side effects could start to take place, some of which are irreversible.
You might notice that you’re feeling more out of breath lately, as pointed out by Medical News Today.
Over time, peripheral nerve damage – which may start off as tingling and numbness in your extremities – can lead to movement issues.
Vitamin B12 plays a “crucial role in the nervous system”, helping to produce a substance called myelin.
“Myelin is a protective coating that shields the nerves and helps them transmit sensations,” explained Medical News Today.
Without an adequate supply of myelin, nerves can become damaged.
These vitamin B12 shots are only available via prescription, so you will need a pernicious anaemia diagnosis beforehand.
Am I deficient in vitamin B12?
Only a blood test can determine your vitamin B12 levels, but symptoms might include:
- Feeling faint
- Depression or irritability
- Difficulty maintaining balance
- Sore, swollen tongue, which may be pale, yellow, or very red
- Heart palpitations
- Mouth ulcers
- Paraesthesia (pins and needles)
- Vision changes.
Correcting a vitamin B12 deficiency can reduce the risk of numerous diseases, including heart disease and neurological disorders.