Vitamin B12 deficiency develops when the body does not get enough B12. Vitamins play an important role in the production of red blood cells and help nerves stay healthy. Someone who is deficient in B12 will usually lack red blood cells, and nerves can become damaged. B12 is best obtained through a diet, which is why some people can be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vegans and vegetarians may be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency because most B12-rich foods come from animals.
And some medical conditions can also affect a person's absorption of B12 from food, such as destructive anemia.
If vitamin B12 deficiency is left untreated, serious health problems can occur, which can affect a person's movement, vision, and memory.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can also put people at increased risk of infertility and gastric cancer.
To avoid this complication, it is important to recognize all symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
One symptom to watch out for can appear on the tongue.
According to Advocacy Thyroid patients, itching or tingling tongues can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Explaining what happened, said: "The tongue suddenly itches from time to time without warning. This occurs on the edge of the tongue, on one side or on the other side or at the end.
"There is an irresistible desire to scratch the tongue in the teeth to stop itching. Some people experience sting, pain, or tingling instead of itching. "
Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
Bupa lists five other symptoms of conditions to watch out for:
- Feel very tired
- Shortness of breath even after a little exercise
- Heart palpitations
- Decreased appetite
- A sore mouth
Treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency
If someone does not get enough vitamin B12 from their diet, they may be advised by a general practitioner to eat more foods fortified with vitamin B12 or to take regular supplements.
Vitamin B12 injections can also be recommended, and for those who experience pernicious anemia, injections may be needed for the rest of their lives.
Experts say adults aged 19 to 64 need around 1.5 micrograms (mg) of vitamin B12 per day, and unless you suffer from pernicious anemia, you should be able to get it through a diet.
If vitamin B12 deficiency is triggered by not including enough B12 in the diet, Harvard Health Publishing, part of Harvard Medical School, offers a "List of B12 foods" on its website.