Vitamin B is a key part of the process that helps convert food into energy. It’s also vital to the health of tissues and cells throughout the body, including muscles, skin, and blood vessels. A vitamin B deficiency results in various symptoms that are usually quite easy to recognize.
Vitamin B deficiency is relatively common and can result from several factors, including an autoimmune disorder that destroys stomach epithelial cells that produce intrinsic factors. B vitamins are essential for producing red blood cells, myelin (the fatty sheath that insulates nerves), and neurotransmitters, and deficiency in any B vitamin can cause wide-ranging symptoms throughout the body.
The first signs of a deficiency include weakness, fatigue, and a loss of appetite. This is due to the deficiency’s effect on the nervous system: it can cause numbness or tingling in fingers, toes, or other extremities, as well as muscle weakness or cramps. When this happens, people often find that they’re clumsy and have trouble walking—that’s because, to keep themselves upright, their muscles work harder than usual but do not receive enough energy.
Another common symptom is insomnia. Because their bodies aren’t getting enough energy from food, people with a vitamin B deficiency often have trouble staying asleep for as long as they need. This can cause them to feel even more tired when they wake up, lessening their desire to eat and perpetuating the cycle.
Let’s dive into some of the symptoms of a vitamin B deficiency and ways to treat it.
Vitamin B deficiency can cause many symptoms, including general weakness. But how do you know if your nausea, anemia, and difficulty concentrating result from a B12 deficiency? Vitamin B is a catch-all term for several different vitamins that play important roles in your body—and they all help with energy production and the maintenance of healthy tissues.
Vitamin B plays so many roles that it’s nearly impossible to determine whether you have an actual vitamin B deficiency without doing some tests. There are four kinds of B vitamins: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and pantothenic acid (B5). They’re all essential for producing energy in the mitochondria, which are tiny structures in every cell in your body. They also help with the maintenance of cells and their proper division, as well as the creation of new red blood cells.
A person who lacks vitamin B could develop anemia and issues with their nervous system. They may also have problems absorbing folic acid and other vitamins. On top of that, vitamin B deficiency can cause a range of symptoms, including weakness, fatigue, irritability, and depression. A person with a vitamin B deficiency might also experience tenderness in the arms and legs, anemia, dry mouth, and skin rashes.