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What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?

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If you have vitamin B12 deficiency, you could become anemic. A mild deficiency may cause no symptoms, but if untreated, it may lead to symptoms such as:

  • Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • A smooth tongue
  • Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or gas 
  • Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
  • Vision loss
  • Mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes

From: Vitamin B12: What to Know WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension: "Facts About Vitamin B12."

University of Arizona’s Arizona Telemedicine Program: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Pernicious Anemia."

Harvard Health Publications: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Vegetarians, elderly may not get enough vitamin B12, says the Harvard Health Letter."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "Pernicious Anemia."

Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute: "Vitamin B12."

Kaiser Permanente: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia."

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin B12."

MedlinePlus: "Anemia -- B12 deficiency."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 19, 2019

SOURCES:

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension: "Facts About Vitamin B12."

University of Arizona’s Arizona Telemedicine Program: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Pernicious Anemia."

Harvard Health Publications: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Vegetarians, elderly may not get enough vitamin B12, says the Harvard Health Letter."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "Pernicious Anemia."

Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute: "Vitamin B12."

Kaiser Permanente: "Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia."

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin B12."

MedlinePlus: "Anemia -- B12 deficiency."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 19, 2019

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How is a vitamin B12 deficiency treated?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.