Home Heart Failure Symptoms Vitamin B12 deficiency: Nine symptoms to watch out for and what foods to eat to avoid one

Vitamin B12 deficiency: Nine symptoms to watch out for and what foods to eat to avoid one

4 min read

Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, its full name, also known as folate deficiency anaemia, causes the body to have fewer red blood cells than normal and can also cause red blood cells to be abnormally large.

If you don’t have enough red blood cells your tissues and organs may not get enough oxygen and this can lead to the symptoms of anaemia.

Anaemia can lead to heart and lung complications as the heart struggles to pump oxygen to the vital organs.

Adults with severe anaemia are at risk of developing an abnormally fast heart beat, and heart failure. So what symptoms of the condition do you need to watch out for?

The NHS lists nine symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • A lack of energy
  • Pins and needles
  • A sore and red tongue
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Muscle weakness
  • disturbed vision
  • Psychological problems, which may include depression and confusion
  • Problems with memory, understanding and judgement

The health body advises: “See your GP if you think you may have a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency.

“These conditions can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of a blood test.

“It’s important for vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible because, although many of the symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the condition can be irreversible.”

So how can you avoid a vitamin B12 deficiency happening in the first place?

The body doesn’t make vitamin B12 but the best way to get it is from a balanced diet.

There are specific vitamin B12-rich foods health experts recommend you eat. Holland & Barrett lists six.

Beef, pork, eggs, milk, cheese and fish are all good sources of B12.

The high street health store adds: “If you are vegetarian or vegan, it may be that you aren’t able to get enough B12 as you are excluding those food groups.

“B12 can be found in some breakfast cereals and nutritional yeasts.”

Alongside recommendations for changes in their diet, people with vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia may be treated by their doctor with injections of vitamin B12 or given tablets.

Another food you may want to consider adding to your diet to prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency is cottage cheese.

Dieticians of Canada says a 250ml (one cup) of cottage cheese contains 1.1 to 1.5mcg of vitamin B12.

The website adds: “Some soy and rice beverages as well as soy based meat substitutes are fortified with vitamin B12.

“To see if a product contains vitamin B12 check the nutrition facts on the food label.”

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