What Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency is fairly common, at least compared to many other vitamin deficiencies. Some people are at a much higher risk for a deficiency, compared to others. Although a vitamin B12 deficiency is easily treatable, it can cause permanent damage if left untreated.
Possible Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency may include:
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Numbness or tingling (or other strange sensations) in the hands or feet
- Problems with balance
- Confusion or dementia
- Poor memory
- Soreness of the mouth or tongue
- Failure to thrive and delayed development (in infants).
The nerve damage caused by this deficiency may be permanent, even after it is corrected. Folic acid
can "mask" a vitamin B12
deficiency, making it more difficult to detect and diagnose. Although folic acid can correct anemia due to a vitamin B12
deficiency, it does not prevent the nerve damage that a deficiency can cause.