SYMPTOMS of a vitamin B12 deficiency can be serious, including disturbed vision, memory loss, depression and problems with balance. Here’s how to find out if you’re lacking in the essential vitamin.
Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in our wellbeing, keeping the nervous system and blood cells healthy, and helping to make DNA.
A wide array of symptoms could signal a lack of the vitamin. According to the NHS, these include extreme tiredness, pins and needs, mouth ulcers, muscle weakness and disturbed vision.
More serious symptoms of a B12 deficiency include psychological problems such as depression, and issues with memory, understanding and judgement.
Low vitamin B12 levels are also associated with walking and balance problems, possibly due to the effect of the deficiency on the central nervous system.
Our bodies don’t make the vitamin, so we need to get it from meat, sardines, eggs, dairy products, fortified breakfast cereals or supplements.
Medical website WebMD notes that levels need to be regularly topped up as our bodies can’t store the vitamin for long.
Adults need about 1.5mcg of the vitamin everyday, and eating the right foods should help you to reach that target.
But as we age, it gets harder to absorb B12. Because of this, it’s advised that people over 50 ensure they get enough from fortified foods or supplements, rather than relying solely on meat and other food sources.