Vitamin B12 deficiency is known to be more common in the elderly, especially since people develop an autoimmune deficiency for reasons that are not yet understood.
Physical manifestations of vitamin B12 deficiency occur when the body has been lacking vital nutrients for some time. When the deficiency becomes more noticeable, it is more likely to turn into anemia.
The Mayo Clinic has confirmed that one of the warning signs of anemia is skin discoloration, which may turn pale or yellow. This does not mean that people with this natural coloring suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency and anemia.
When a person’s skin turns pale or yellow now, there may be a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Another physical manifestation of anemia (and vitamin B12 deficiency) is severe weight loss. Which happens without changing your diet or getting more exercise.
It is known that when a person eats fewer calories and exercises more, he loses weight. However, if weight loss is achieved without changing diet or exercise, something is likely to happen.
Other indicators of anemia include:
- Shortness of breath
Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.
Mental confusion or forgetfulness
Vitamin B12 helps form healthy red blood cells, which is why anemia can occur if the body does not retain the vitamin.
To illustrate, the Mayo Clinic states, “Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body.” If there is a deficiency of vitamin B12, red blood cells begin to form abnormally, so oxygen is not transported throughout the body as it should.
This is why symptoms of anemia appear when vitamin B12 deficiency is present.
Harvard Medical School notes more general signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency, such as:
A swollen and inflamed tongue
Why does vitamin B12 deficiency occur?
Pernicious anemia occurs when an autoimmune response results in a deficiency of an intrinsic factor.
The CNY Fellowship of Hematology and Oncology explained, “Intrinsic factor is a protein made in the stomach.” It helps your body absorb vitamin B12. “
When the immune system attacks the parietal cells that line the stomach, the intrinsic factors cannot be formed.
Without intrinsic factors, the body cannot transport vitamin B12 to the small intestine, where it can be absorbed.
Where does vitamin B12 come from?
Vitamin B12 can be found in a variety of foods, including eggs, beef, chicken, cheese, yogurt, shellfish, and fish.
Sometimes the small intestine can’t absorb vitamin B12 properly due to “too much of the wrong type of bacteria in the small intestine.”
“Available vitamin B12 is consumed by bacteria before the small intestine can absorb it,” explained the National Federation of Hematology and Oncology in CNY.