Vitamin B12 deficiency: Three signs related to the feet warning your levels are too low

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient which keeps the body functioning properly. Symptoms of a B12 deficiency include fatigue, low mood and nerve problems. There are other warnings you may be lacking in the essential vitamin which include burning feet, walking difficulties and balance problems.

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

It can be hard to tell B12 deficiency caused by pernicious anaemia apart from general B12 deficiency but there are some unique characteristics.

Some of the most pronounced symptoms are associated with neurological problems linked to pernicious anaemia.

According to the Pernicious Anaemia Society (PAS), one distinctive sign is burning feet, which is also known as Grierson-Gopalan Syndrome.

It happens when low levels of B12 damage nerves in the body’s extremities, such as feet.

Walking difficulties and balance problems are other warning signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency which could end up affecting your day-to-day life.

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Different types of blood tests can be arranged by a GP to diagnose a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Blood tests can measure the levels of vitamin B12 in a person’s blood, as well as the levels of folate and check if the red blood cells are larger than normal.

One limitation of blood tests, however, is that it measures the total amount of vitamin B12 in the blood regardless if it can or can’t be used by the body.

This is why discussing all your symptoms with your GP is imperative in order to make a proper diagnosis.

There are many reasons why someone may not get enough B12 but the two most common are diet and pernicious anaemia.

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

It 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).

The popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets may account for the majority of dietary-related causes.

Vitamin B12 is found naturally in a wide variety of animal foods and is added to some fortified foods.

Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia is usually treated with injections of vitamin B12.

There are two types of vitamin B12 injections:



“If your vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by a lack of the vitamin in your diet, you may be prescribed vitamin B12 tablets to take every day between meals,” explains the NHS.

B12 is naturally found in the following foods:

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

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