Vitamin B12 definitely occurs when a person doesn’t get enough B12 from their foods they’re eating. Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells and for staining healthy nerves. If a person lacks B12, this can lead to a lack of red blood cells in the body and damaged nerves. Vegans and vegetarians may be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency because most B12-rich foods are of an animal origin. Some medical conditions can also affect a person’s absorption of B12 from food, such as pernicious anaemia.
One symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency to watch out for is migraine headaches
If vitamin B12 deficiency is left untreated, serious problems can occur affecting a person’s movement, their vision and memory.
A person deficient in B12 may also be at increased risk of infertility and stomach cancer.
To avoid these long-term health complications, it’s important to recognise the signs of vitamin b12 deficiency.
One symptom to watch out for is migraine headaches, and Thyroid Patient Advocacy outlines exactly what to look out for.
It says migraine headaches “may be preceded by a temporary blind spot in the centre of the field of vision, usually lasting about ten minutes, and sometimes followed by facial pain under the eyes”.
“After the blind spot vanishes, there may be zigzag streaks through the vision that may last up to hours,” it adds.
“Even in the same person, there may be extreme variations in the headaches themselves.
“They may be quite severe with nausea or they may be virtually nonexistent.”
But how can it be a migraine if there’s virtually no pain?
It further advises: “Doctors say it’s a migraine if the described visual problems occur, whether there is significant pain or not.”
Other vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms
Bupa lists five other symptoms of the condition to look out for:
- Feeling very tired
- Breathlessness even after a little exercise
- Heart palpitations
- A reduce appetite
- A sore mouth and tongue
Treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency
If a person is not getting enough vitamin B12 from their diet they may be advised by a GP to eat more foods fortified with vitamin B12 or to take regular supplements.
Vitamin B12 injections may also be recommended, and for those with pernicious anaemia, injections may be required for the rest of their lives.
Experts say adults aged 19 to 64 require around 1.5 micrograms (mg) a day of vitamin B12, and unless you have pernicious anaemia, you should be able to get this through your diet.
If vitamin B12 deficiency is triggered by not including enough B12 in the diet, Harvard Health Publishing, part of Harvard Medical School, offers the “A list of B12 foods” on its website.
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