A vitamin B12 deficiency can result in abnormal red blood cell production, leading to anaemia. There’s a sign in your chest that alerts you to this malnutrition and health condition.
Healthcare provider Bupa had Consultant Haematologist Dr Prem Mahendra provide an explanation of what anaemia is.
Dr Mahendra said: “Anaemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough red blood cells or haemoglobin to meet your body’s needs.
“Your red blood cells use haemoglobin to carry oxygen around your body in your blood.”
When tissues and organs don’t receive the oxygen it needs, symptoms of anaemia can occur.
For example, the NHS confirmed that a person with anaemia may feel noticeable heart palpitations in their chest.
Additionally, a person may feel extremely fatigued and lethargic, out of breath and faint.
Dr Manhendra states lacking in vitamin B12 can result in the body not making enough red blood cells, hence anaemia.
Moreover, people with a vitamin B12 deficiency may have a sore tongue or changes in their sense of taste.
Sources of vitamin B12
Good sources of vitamin B12 include: red meat, such as beef and lamb; eggs; milk and other dairy products; as well as salmon and cod.
Vegetarians are able to consume vitamin B12 by eating fortified soy, bread and cereal products.
However, as people age, the body becomes less efficient at absorbing vitamin B12 from the diet.
A deficiency in B12 can cause specific symptoms, highlighted by the national health service.
For instance, a sore and red tongue (glossitis), mouth ulcers and a pale, yellow tinge to the skin can be signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
The condition can lead to pins and needles (paraesthesia), and a long-term deficiency can lead to cognitive distortions.
Cognitive distortions include irritation, depression, and changes in the way you think, feel and behave.
B12 supplements can boost the levels of the vitamin in the body, and your GP may be able to prescribe these to you.
Treatment can range from a couple of months to life-long medication in order to receive the adequate amount of vitamin B12 needed in the body.
The most common type of B12 injection used is hydroxocobalamin, which tends to be administered every two to three months.
Routine blood tests may need to be carried out to make sure the treatment is working for you.
It’s vital to overturn a vitamin B12 deficiency, especially if it leads to anaemia, as there are severe consequences.
The NHS stresses that anaemia can lead to heart and lung complications, such as heart failure.
In addition, long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can result in irreversible problems.
One such problem may be the loss of physical coordination (ataxia), which can affect your whole body and cause great difficulty in speaking or walking.