Vitamin B12 is best gained from foods of an animal origin, such as meat and dairy, so people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet may be at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Also, certain medical conditions, such as pernicious anaemia, can affect a person’s absorption of B12 from foods.
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Vitamin B12 is vital in the production of red blood cells and keeping the nervous system healthy.
A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to complications, particularly if a person has been deficient for some time.
Potential complications include problems with the nervous system, temporary infertility, heart conditions, and pregnancy complications and birth defects.
Spotting the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can help avoid these complications, and one sign to look out for is cold fingers.
A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause nimbleness, tingling and a cold feeling in the fingers, according to Medical News Today.
It adds in more serious cases, it can also cause a swollen tongue, cognitive problems and memory loss.
But it’s important to note cold fingers aren’t always a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
The cause of holds hands can be as simple as being in a cold environment or the body’s natural response to maintain its normal temperature.
But if you have ongoing problems with cold hands, there could be a number of other causes.
Mayo Clinic advises: “Having cold hands could signal a problem with your blood circulation or the blood vessels in your hands.”
Other causes of cold hands include:
- Buerger’s disease
- Raynaud’s disease
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Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
The NHS says you may experience the following if you have anaemia caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency:
- 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
- Changes in the way you think, feel and behave
- A decline in your mental abilities, such as memory, understanding and Judgement (dementia)
The health body states: “Some of these symptoms can also happen in people who have a vitamin B12 deficiency but have not developed anaemia.”
If you experience symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency you should contact your GP.
Most causes of vitamin B12 can be easily treated with injections or tablets to replace the missing vitamins.
How much vitamin B12 do you need to avoid a deficiency?
As long as you don’t have a condition that may affect your absorption of B12 from food, you should be able to get all the vitamin B12 you need by eating a varied and balanced diet, says the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Some vegans and vegetarians who aren’t getting enough vitamin B12 in their diet may choose to take B12 supplements.
But the DHSC warns: “If you take vitamin B12 supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful.
“Taking 2mg or less a day of vitamin B12 in supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.”
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