Vitamin B12 can be found in many foods, including meat, fish, and dairy products. However, people with certain dietary restrictions, like vegetarians and vegans, can’t consume most of the best vitamin B12 sources. If you suspect you are suffering from a vitamin B12 insufficiency or deficiency, vitamin B12 injections at Soza Clinic in Richardson, TX may be right for you. Read on to discover what happens if you don’t get enough of this vital micronutrient and much more.
What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Vitamin B12?
One of the most common signs of low B12 is fatigue. Each of your body’s cells requires a sufficient amount of vitamin B12 to function properly. When you’re not getting enough B12 from your diet, your body won’t produce enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout your body efficiently. Specifically, B12 deficiency can result in megaloblastic anemia. Besides causing impaired DNA synthesis, this condition can result in blood cells that are:
When your circulatory system struggles to deliver oxygen throughout your body, you may develop fatigue. Usually, this chronic weakness and tiredness affect people physically. However, people with low B12 can also experience mental fatigue.
Vitamin B12 insufficiency or deficiency can also result in jaundice and other skin problems. Jaundice is a condition that turns the whites of your eyes and skin yellow. This is a result of excessive bilirubin levels. Bilirubin is the waste product left over when your body breaks down red blood cells. In addition to jaundice, low B12 can cause anemia due to an insufficient amount of completely mature, healthy red blood cells.
Headaches are another common sign of low vitamin B12 levels. In fact, research shows that people with sufficient B12 levels are only 20% as likely to suffer from such neurological symptoms as migraines or headaches as others.
Due to the importance of B12 for healthy central nervous system function, if you don’t have enough B12 in your system, you may frequently feel foggy-headed. Additionally, you may struggle to finish projects that you start, and you may notice concentrating is extremely difficult. Generally, the older you are, the more likely it is that you will notice serious signs of cognitive impairment if you have low B12 levels. Examples of benefits you can expect from treatment include:
- Improved short-term memory formation
- Better focus
- Less forgetfulness
There is also a possibility that you need B12 injections if you are experiencing signs of major depressive disorder. When you don’t have enough B12 in your blood, you have a high risk of experiencing elevated homocysteine levels. This is an amino acid that contains sulfur, and too much of it can increase oxidative stress, cell death, and DNA damage. Eventually, this can result in MDD. Low B12 can also cause other mental conditions, including anxiety and psychosis.
Vitamin B12 is also very important for the health of your nerves. If you have low B12 levels, one sign you may experience is paresthesia; the feeling of pins and needles in certain body parts. Most commonly, the hands and feet are affected by this condition. Fortunately, increasing your B12 levels can reverse this nerve disorder.
Note that diabetic neuropathy and B12 deficiency symptoms often overlap. In the case of diabetic neuropathy, nerve endings become damaged due to sustained high blood sugar levels. Additionally, you should be aware that your risk of developing B12 deficiency is greater if you suffer from diabetes and take metformin. Regardless of whether you have diabetes, a medical professional can diagnose low B12 quickly and accurately with just a CBC and B12 blood test level.
Mouth and Tongue Pain
You also may benefit from B12 injections if your tongue is red, inflamed, and painful or if you have inflammation or sores in your mouth. Glossitis and stomatitis are two conditions that can be caused by B12 deficiency-related anemia. However, it is very important that you have your vitamin levels tested.
Folate, B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin) deficiencies can all cause glossitis. If you are having tongue problems, it is important that you discover what is causing the condition so you can be treated effectively.
Ataxia is another common neurological symptom of low B12. If you have trouble with your balance and coordination, B12 injections may benefit you. It is particularly important that you schedule an appointment with a medical professional as soon as possible if you have balance issues that often result in you falling when you try to walk. Falls may seem only a little embarrassing, but bone fractures can occur due to falls.
Moderate or severe GI distress is another sign of low B12. Some people who don’t get enough of this essential vitamin experience such symptoms as bloating, constipation, and gas. Others suffer from chronic diarrhea or nausea. It is very important that you schedule an appointment with a medical professional if you experience GI problems, especially if medicine doesn’t seem to help. There are a number of potential causes of GI distress, including:
- Food intolerances
Other Signs of Low B12 Levels
Other signs of low B12 levels include vision disturbances, erectile dysfunction, muscle cramps, and muscle weakness. Research suggests that people with B12 insufficiency or deficiency experience vision problems due to optic nerve damage. Erectile dysfunction in men is caused by excess homocysteine levels in the body. Muscle weakness can be caused by fatigue or motor and sensory nerve dysfunction caused by low B12 levels.
How Common Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is a condition that affects millions of Americans every year. Approximately 3% of people between the ages of 20 and 39 suffer from this condition. Furthermore, roughly 4% of people who are 40 to 59 years of age. If you are over the age of 59, there is a 6% chance that you will develop vitamin B12 deficiency.
What Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Frequently, vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by people not getting enough vitamin B12 in their diet through meat, fish, dairy, and fortified food sources. However, there are several other factors that can result in B12 deficiency. For instance, gastritis, or stomach lining inflammation, can result in an insufficient amount of hydrochloric acid in your stomach. This acid is necessary for the absorption of B12. Digestive system diseases, like Crohn’s or celiac, can also affect absorption.
Alcohol use disorder is another common cause of B12 deficiency due to the damage alcohol consumption causes to your digestive system. Additionally, people who undergo gastric bypass (weight loss) surgery are prone to becoming B12 deficient. Moreover, transcobalamin II deficiency can cause B12 deficiency because it impairs your body’s ability to transport this essential vitamin. In rare cases, B12 deficiency can be caused by pernicious anemia.
What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
While vitamin B12 deficiency can affect anyone, age is a very significant risk factor for the development of vitamin B12 deficiency. If you are over the age of 75, there is a strong likelihood that your body can no longer absorb all of the vitamin B12 in your diet. Digestive system disorders also significantly increase the risk of developing this deficiency. Moreover, you are more likely to be deficient in this vitamin if you take certain medications, like:
- Histamine H2 blockers
- Oral contraceptives
Chronic alcoholism can also damage your digestive system to the point that it can no longer sufficiently absorb vitamin B12. Moreover, people with Sjögren’s syndrome are six times more likely to develop B12 deficiency than people who don’t suffer from the condition. Another very significant risk factor for developing B12 deficiency is a vegan or vegetarian diet. Some of the best B12 sources include milk, eggs, fish, and meat.
Am I a Good Candidate for B12 Injections?
An initial consultation is required to determine if you are a good candidate for B12 injections. There is a good chance this treatment will benefit you if you want to combat fatigue and difficulty focusing.
Find Out Today If Vitamin B12 Injections Are Right for You
Vitamin B12 injections may benefit you if you are experiencing such symptoms as fatigue, depression, or stomach problems. If you are noticing any of these low B12 signs, contact us now at Soza Clinic in Richardson, TX, to schedule an initial evaluation. We welcome the opportunity to meet you and tailor a treatment plan that addresses all of your concerns.