Vitamin B12 is important in the production of red blood cells and keeping nerves healthy. It’s best gained through diet, from foods with an animal origin, which why vegans and vegetarians may find they lack the vitamin. A lack of B12 in the body may also occur as a result of some health conditions, such as pernicious anaemia. If a person lacks B12, there red blood cell production will low and there nerves will start to be affected.
This is when the symptoms of vitamin B12 are triggered.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to vision problems, memory loss, loss of physical co-ordination, and heart failure if left untreated, so recognising the symptoms is very important.
One symptom which could mean you’re at risk of the condition is painful sores at the corner of the mouth.
Raw spots at the corner of the mouth may be a sign of vitamin b12 deficiency, Patient Thyroid Advocacy warns.
The spots may appear as blisters and tend to come and go.
They can sometimes extent right the way along the edge of the lip.
Bupa lists five other signs to look out for. If you experience any of these, see your GP:
It adds: “If you have vitamin B12 deficiency you may also look pale or jaundiced (have a yellowy tinge to your skin and the whites of your eyes).”
If a person if not getting enough vitamin B12 from their diet they may be advised by a GP to eat more food fortified with vitamin B12 or to take regular supplements.
Vitamin B12 injections may also be recommended, and for those with pernicious anaemia, injections may be required for the rest of their lives.
Experts say adults aged 19 to 64 require around 1.5 micrograms (mg) a day of vitamin B12, and unless you have pernicious anaemia, you should be able to get this through your diet.
If vitamin B12 deficiency is triggered by not including enough B12 in the diet, Harvard Health Publishing, part of Harvard Medical School, offers the “A list of B12 foods” on its website.