The body can’t produce vitamin B12, meaning you must get it exclusively from your diet. But if you’re like most people, you don’t get enough vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy while also aiding in DNA production. Vitamin B12 also prevents megaloblastic anemia, which makes people tired and weak. Thus, vitamin B12 is important to the body.
There are several tell-tale signs that you may notice if you are low in vitamin B12. This article explores 5 of the most common symptoms to ensure you aren’t suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency and unaware of it.
1. You feel tired, even when you get enough sleep
Fatigue is one of the first and most telling signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. Because your body relies on this vitamin to produce red blood cells and carry oxygen to your organs, a deficiency will cause fatigue no matter how much rest you get.
If tiredness is your only symptom, you shouldn’t automatically conclude that you’re B12 deficient. However, if you’re tired and experiencing other symptoms, you’re likely low in B12.
2. Your muscles feel tired
Without enough oxygen to your muscles, you will feel weak and unable to do the activities you once did. If you’re struggling to get through your workouts or feel exhausted just carrying grocery bags, a B12 deficiency might be the culprit.
3. You struggle with routine daily tasks or information
Many individuals who are B12 deficient have a difficult time remembering the names of friends or family members, or don’t remember how to do basic everyday tasks. This is alarming to some people, who feel as if they have early stages of Alzheimer’s or another serious condition. However, when seen in combination with other symptoms, this is a typical sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
4. Your skin is pale or has a yellow tone
If you’re pale or your skin has a yellow undertone, that may also be a sign of low B12. The red blood cells you have are flimsy when you’re deficient, and, when broken, they release bilirubin pigment. This gives the skin a yellow hue.
5. You feel anxious or depressed
A lack of B12 can destabilize your moods and even cause depression or anxiety in some cases. Doctors believe this is because B12 plays a role in synthesizing brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.
Are you vitamin B12 deficient?
Because your body can’t produce B12, you must get it either from animal products or from supplements. And if you haven’t been getting it from either source, a B12 deficiency is likely to blame for your problems.
If you have a combination of the symptoms above and don’t eat meat, don’t eat much meat, or don’t take a supplement, a B12 deficiency may be the culprit. By increasing your intake of B12 you can reboot your energy, strengthen your red blood cells, and fuel your body with oxygen to ensure you can power through your daily life – and your next workout!