Vitamin B12 plays a key role in the production of red blood cells, as well as in helping to form DNA, and the normal functioning of your nervous system. Given its importance, it is hardly surprising the impact low B12 levels can have on the body. Many of the warning signs can emerge in the mouth.
According to Holland and Barrett, if you have a B12 deficiency you can experience a range of mouth issues.
These include ulcers, a feeling of pins and needles in your tongue, or burning and itching sensations in the mouth.
It is also possible to experience glossitis, whereby your tongue is inflamed, notes Holland and Barrett.
“Glossitis can also change the way you eat and speak,” the health body adds.
READ MORE: Vitamin B12 deficiency: ‘Psychological problems’ – doctors warn it may be a sign
Other possible symptoms include:
- Changes in the way that you walk and move around
- Disturbed vision
- Changes in the way you think, feel and behave
- A decline in your mental abilities, such as memory, understanding and judgement (dementia).
How to respond
According to the NHS, you should see a GP if you’re experiencing symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
“These conditions can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of a blood test,” explains the health body.
It’s also important for vitamin B12 deficiency to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Statins side effects: One symptom you should not ignore [ADVICE]
Vitamin B12 deficiency: Glossitis is a sign [INSIGHT]
High blood pressure: Herb to lower BP [TIPS]
“Although many of the symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the condition can be irreversible if left untreated,” warns the NHS.
Am I at risk?
There are primary causes of vitamin B12 deficiency – pernicious anaemia and diet.
Pernicious anaemia – the most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in the UK – is an autoimmune condition that affects your stomach.
If you have pernicious anaemia, your immune system, attacks the healthy cells in your body that produce the intrinsic factor, a protein that enables the body to absorb B12.
You can get recommended amounts of vitamin B12 by eating a variety of foods including the following:
- Beef liver and clams, which are the best sources of vitamin B12.
- Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products, which also contain vitamin B12.
- Some breakfast cereals, nutritional yeasts and other food products that are fortified with vitamin B12.
How to treat B12 deficiency
The treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency depends on what’s causing the condition.
“Most people can be easily treated with injections or tablets to replace the missing vitamins,” explains the NHS.