This Morning: Guest reveals symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
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B12 is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in animal products, and is generally not present in plant foods. A short-fall of B12 damages the nerve endings, giving rise to multi-sensorial symptoms throughout the body. Feelings such as pins and needles are often concentrated in the extremities but occasionally may arise in the tongue too.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be slow to develop, with symptoms often intensifying over time.
The nutrient is stored mainly in the liver, propranolol 10 mg and can often sustain the nervous system for years after absorption.
A deficiency can be difficult to diagnose for a number of reasons, but mainly because symptoms are ever-changing.
What’s more, people often put warning signs to increasing age, for example, fatigue, memory lapses and clumsiness.
READ MORE: Vitamin B12 deficiency may increase risk of depression in older people – symptoms to spot
Harm typically arises when the nerves become damaged, which is known as peripheral neuropathy.
Damage incurred in the later stages of peripheral neuropathy can be difficult to fix or reverse, so the early warning signs should never be ignored.
These typically include pins and needles which can arise in the tongue.
Healthline writes: “Having low levels of vitamin B12 or vitamin B9 can make your tongue sore and swollen and affect your sense of taste.
“You might also have a tingling sensation in the tongue and in your hands and feet.”
Additional symptoms seen in the tongue can include a beefy-red colour and swelling, with a smooth texture.
A tingling tongue is not always caused by a deficiency, however, and could alternatively result from a dental procedure, a burn or allergic reaction explains Medical News Today.
Who is at risk?
B12 deficiency is often associated with diet, with vegans and vegetarians at high risk.
Other causes exist too, however. Weight loss surgery is a precursor for deficiency because operations can interfere with the body’s ability to extract B12 from food.
Harvard Health notes: “Conditions that interfere with nutrient absorption, such as celiac or Crohn’s disease, can cause B12 trouble.
“So can the use of commonly prescribed heartburn drugs, which reduce acid production in the stomach (acid needed to absorb vitamin B12.”
The health body adds that older people are more vulnerable to the deficiency too because of a cutback in stomach acid production.
Cases of severe B12 deficiency can be treated with supplementation or injections available through the NHS.
Injections, which are very effective at raising levels of B12, are prescribed by a doctor and administered intramuscularly.
Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet should eat bread, cereals and other grains fortified with B12 to avoid a deficiency.
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