Vitamin B12 deficiency develops when the body does not have enough B12. Vitamin plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and helps the nerves to stay healthy. A person who lacks B12 will usually miss red blood cells and nerves can be damaged. Vitamin B12 is best achieved through diet, which is why some people may be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vegans and vegetarians may be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency because most B12-rich foods are of animal origin.
And some medical conditions can also affect the uptake of B12 by food, such as pernicious anemia.
If vitamin B12 deficiency is not treated, 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 stomach cancer.
To avoid these complications, it is important to recognize all the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
A symptom to be wary of may appear on the tongue.
According to the defense of thyroid patients, an itchy or tingling tongue can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Describing what happens, he says: "The tongue suddenly itches from time to time without warning. This occurs on the edge of the tongue, along one side or the other or at the tip.
"There is an irresistible need to scratch one's tongue over teeth to stop itching. Some individuals experience sting, pain or tingling instead of itching."
Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
Bupa lists five other symptoms of the condition to watch out for:
- Feeling very tired
- Shortness of breath even after a little exercise
- To reduce the appetite
- A sore mouth
Treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency
If a person does not get enough vitamin B12 from their diet, it can be recommended by a general practitioner to eat more foods fortified with vitamin B12 or take regular supplements.
Vitamin B12 injections may also be recommended, and for those with pernicious anemia, injections may be required for the rest of their lives.
Experts say that adults between the ages of 19 and 64 require about 1.5 micrograms (mg) of vitamin B12 a day and, unless you have pernicious anemia, you should be able to do it through diet.
If vitamin B12 deficiency triggers not by including a sufficient amount of vitamin B12 in the diet, Harvard Health Publishing, part of Harvard Medical School, offers "A list of B12 foods" on its website.