Has your vitamin B12 deficiency progressed to megaloblastic anaemia? Warning signs to spot

Has your vitamin B12 deficiency progressed to megaloblastic anaemia? Warning signs to spot

Dr Oscar Duke issues warning over ‘fizzy’ vitamins

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“There is no doubt that you have heard about the ever-trending concept of supplements, with endless influencers bombarding you with vitamin and supplement advertisements and sponsorships,” said Dr Ioannis Liakas, Medical Director at Vie Aesthetics. “But how do you know if you need them?” The expert shared the tips to help you identify a vitamin B12 deficiency and foods that could help to replenish your stores.

Like many other vitamins, B12 can’t be synthesised naturally by your body.

While most people get enough of this vitamin from their diet, vitamin B12 isn’t contained in a great amount in the usual food suspects, such as fruits, vegetables and grains.

This might mean that some people on restrictive diets, such as veganism, won’t be able to get enough.

Also, you might not be able to absorb this vitamin from your diet which can cause the deficiency.

Dr Liakas said: “A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to disruption in the nervous system and the circulatory system. 

“Vitamin B12 deficiencies can lead to megaloblastic anaemia, a condition where the bone marrow produces large, abnormally shaped red blood cells that do not function properly.”

The NHS explains that when you suffer from a lack of folate or vitamin B12, it can affect your body’s ability to produce fully functioning red blood cells.

“Most people with vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia have underdeveloped red blood cells that are larger than normal,” they share about the condition.

The expert recommended to look out for these problems to help you spot the deficiency:

  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Balance problems
  • Poor memory
  • Soreness of the mouth or tongue
  • Mouth ulcers.

You should see your GP if you’re struggling with the symptoms of vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia, the NHS advises.

Dr Liakas continued: “Many people are not aware but a sore and red tongue as well as mouth ulcers are a common symptom of a vitamin B12 deficiency. 

“If you are experiencing such symptoms, there are several actions you can take to help you alleviate them. 

“One of the key methods to improve a sore, red tongue and mouth ulcers is maintaining good oral hygiene and rinsing the mouth with saltwater.

“It has also been said that sucking on ice can help you too.”

For the mouth ulcers, the expert recommended drinking plenty of water and avoiding hot and spicy foods in order not to exacerbate the painful sign.

How to get more vitamin B12 from your diet?

“One of the simplest ways of increasing your vitamin B levels is by making certain changes in your everyday diet,” the expert noted.

Good food sources of vitamin B12 include:

  • Meat
  • Salmon and cod
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Eggs.

Dr Liakas added: “By having a diet that incorporates meats, grains, fruits and vegetables, we can ensure a good, healthy balance in our lifestyle.

“If you do not eat meat, eggs, or dairy, you can still get vitamin B12 from fortified foods or nutritional yeast to help fight the deficiency.”

However, he also added that some people might want to consider taking a daily supplement “to ensure adequate intake”.

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