Vitamin B12 deficiency: Symptoms of the condition that can occur during the day and night

Dr Oscar Duke issues warning over ‘fizzy’ vitamins

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Manifestations of a vitamin B12 deficiency occur when the body has been lacking the vital nutrient for some time. As the deficiency becomes more pronounced, a number of debilitating symptoms are likely to develop.

The leading cause of B12 deficiency in the UK is pernicious anaemia, according to the NHS.

Pernicious anaemia is an autoimmune disease that prevents the body from making intrinsic factor (a protein made by the stomach and needed to absorb vitamin B12 in the intestine).

B12 deficiency caused by pernicious anaemia can produce a number of behavioural changes.

According to a research paper published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, excessive daytime sleepiness can occur in severe B12 deficiency cases, but it also noted it as a “rare cause”.

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Daytime fatigue is one of the main symptoms of a B12 deficiency, because when this vitamin is low, the body has fewer red blood cells.

The primary job of those red blood cells is to transport oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.

A lack of red blood cells translates to fatigue.

One meta-analysis looked at two case studies of patients who were administered vitamin B12 supplements to help with their sleep-wake rhythm disorder.

One of the case studies was a 15-year-old girl who received 1.5 mg of B12.

Shortly afterward her sleep-wake rhythm was improved and her 24-hour sleep-wake rhythm was maintained.

The other case study was a 55-year-old man suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome for 18 years of age.

After administration of VB12 at the daily doses of 1.5 mg, his sleep-wake rhythm disorder was improved.

The research concluded that vitamin B12 supplements might help to improve sleep disorders.

Other symptoms of low B12 levels include:

  • A pale yellow tinge to your skin
  • A sore and red tongue (glossitis)
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Pins and needles (paraesthesia)
  • Changes in the way that you walk and move around
  • Disturbed vision
  • Irritability
  • Depression.

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