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Lorraine: Dr Amir says spine could shrink if deficient in vitamin D

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Vitamin B12’s contribution to the body is invaluable. Among other things, it helps make red blood cells and keeps your nervous system operating efficiently. Having consistently low B12 levels therefore deals a hammer blow to your body causing ataxia which in turns affects a number of body parts. What to look out for?

According to the NHS, a lack of vitamin B12 can cause neurological problems, which affect your nervous system, betapace digoxin such as:

  • Vision problems
  • Memory loss
  • Pins and needles
  • Loss of physical co-ordination (ataxia), which can affect your whole body and cause difficulty speaking or walking
  • Damage to parts of the nervous system, particularly in the legs.

What is ataxia?

Ataxia describes a lack of muscle control or coordination of voluntary movements, such as walking or picking up objects.

A sign of an underlying condition, ataxia can affect various movements and create difficulties with speech, eye movement and swallowing.

Persistent ataxia usually results from damage to the part of your brain that controls muscle coordination (cerebellum). 

In a study published in the National Library of health, vitamin B12 deficiency presenting as acute ataxia was investigated.

The study looked at the case of a seven-year-old hospitalised for evaluation of acute ataxia and failure to thrive, initially suspicious for an intracranial mass.

Laboratory studies revealed megaloblastic anaemia while an initial MRI of the brain showed no evidence of mass lesions or other abnormalities.

A dietary history revealed the child subscribed to a restrictive vegan diet with little to no intake of animal products or other fortified foods and was diagnosed with presumed vitamin B12 deficiency.

“Neurological symptoms resolved promptly within several days after starting therapy,” noted the study.

It concluded: “This case underlines the importance of assessing nutritional status in the evaluation of neurological dysfunction.”

Other symptoms of a B12 deficiency include:

  • A pale-yellow tinge to your skin
  • A sore and red tongue (glossitis)
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Pins and needles (paraesthesia)
  • Changes in the way that you walk and move around
  • Disturbed vision
  • Irritability
  • Depression.


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