Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important water-soluble vitamin. It plays an essential role in the production of your red blood cells and DNA, as well as the proper functioning of your nervous system. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods, including meats, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy. However, it can also be found in products fortified with B12, such as some varieties of bread and plant-based milk.
Unfortunately, B12 deficiency is common, especially in the elderly. You’re at risk of deficiency if you don’t get enough from the food you eat. We listed 10 main symptoms for you of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Check them out to see if you need more of the vitamin.
1. Weakness, lightheadedness, fatigue
According to chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, Michael Roizen, weakness and tiredness are one of the most common symptoms of lagging B12 levels. When the supply of the vitamin decreases, your body produces fewer red blood cells that are necessary for spreading oxygen. As a result, you feel sleepy, tired, exhausted, and even lightheaded.
Many people confuse these symptoms with a poor sleep schedule, long working hours, and stress. However, if your overall state is getting worse, consult with your doctor and take a blood test to check your B12 levels.
2. Shortness of breath
One of the possible physiological signs of vitamin B12 insufficiency is shortness of breath on exertion. Vitamin B12 contributes to the production of hemoglobin – the oxygen-transport protein in your bloodstream. Deficiencies in the vitamin can diminish oxygen flow to your tissues causing anemia that leads to shortness of breath and weakness.