Vitamin B12 isn’t created on its own in the body. Although most people can absorb the nutrient from food, some people may suffer from malabsorption issues. Are you deficient in the nutrient?
The Mayo Clinic identifies canker sores (aphthous ulcers) as one sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency in the mouth.
The canker sores are small, white or yellow lesions – with a red border – that develop inside the mouth.
They can appear on the soft tissues of the inside cheeks, by the gum line and even on (or under) the tongue and the soft palate.
These types of canker sores can be extremely painful and can take up to six weeks to heal.
Major canker sores can also leave extensive scarring. Herpetiform – unlike the name would suggest – aren’y caused by the herpes virus.
They are pinpoint in size, and can occur in clusters from 10 to 100, or merge into one large ulcer.
Herpetifrom ulcers may also have irregular borders (akin to major ulcers), but they can heal without scarring in up to two weeks, like the minor ulcers.
The NHS noted other symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency to be aware of, which includes extreme tiredness.
People with a vitamin B12 deficiency may suffer from a lack of energy, breathlessness, headaches and pale skin.
Moreover, some can experience heart palpitations and tinnitus (hearing sounds coming from inside the body).
Alternative symptoms may be loss of appetite and weight loss, to feeling faint.
As with many other conditions, the sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency shares symptoms with other disorders.
Routine blood work could help determine whether or not you’re suffering from a B12 deficiency.
A blood test could check whether you have a lower level of haemoglobin (a substance that transports oxygen) in the body.
It could identify if the red blood cells are larger than normal, the level of vitamin B12 in the blood, and the levels of folate in the blood.
Should the doctor suspect you’re suffering from malabsorption issues, you’re likely to be referred to a gastroenterologist.
A gastroenterologist specialises in conditions that affect the digestive system.
It could be that you’re suffering from pernicious anaemia, or have a different disturbance in the gut.
If you’re worried you may be deficient, and you’re presenting symptoms, do contact your GP.