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10 Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency

As we age, vitamin B12 becomes even more important — our mood, memory, nerve cells, and blood cells depend on it. A B12 deficiency can cause lightheadedness, fatigue, shortness of breath, confusion, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Vitamin B12 is needed for healthy blood cells, nerve cells, and DNA.

  • Vitamin B12 is found naturally in meat, eggs, and dairy. If you are vegetarian/vegan, you have a high likelihood of developing a deficiency.

  • You can be deficient in vitamin B12 if you don’t get enough in your diet or your gut has difficulty absorbing it.

Low B12 levels can cause a type of anemia. Sometimes the blood cells become large, before a person becomes anemic.

Symptoms of anemia might include:

  • Feeling tired or having low energy

  • Feeling short of breath, especially with movement

  • Having less of an appetite or losing weight without trying

  • Headaches

  • Feeling dizzy or like you might faint

Some people with B12 deficiency may also have mouth sores or a swollen, painful tongue.

Symptoms of nerve damage from B12 deficiency can include:

  • Tingling, or a pins-and-needles sensation

  • Depression, irritability, or confusion

  • Changes in vision

  • Memory loss

  • Problems with balance

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