Vitamin B12 deficiency: Two signs felt on the body warning of dangerously low levels

Vitamin B12 supports the central nervous system, helps to form red blood cells and turns the food that you eat into energy. When a person becomes deficient in the vitamin, these vital processes are impeded, and unusual warning signs ensue. Feeling either pain in your hands or nerve shock on the body could mean your levels are dangerously low.

Pain in hands

Sharp stabbing, tingling pain in the palm of one or both hands may be an indication that your B12 levels are dangerously low.

This occurs suddenly and for no apparent reason in a spot directly below the ring finger, approximately where the first palm crease is, explained the Thyroid Patient Advocacy.

The site continued: “If B12 deficiency is not treated, a tingling pain may begin to occur along the outside edge of the hand, starting from the wrist.

“This pain occurs when the wrist is flexed backward.”

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Nerve shock on body

Nerve shock in the side of the body is another warning sign of low B12 levels.

“It can be felt coming on a few seconds before it hits, and then it hits almost like a mild but deep electric shock and quickly subsides,” said the Thyroid Patient Advocacy.

“It can occur at the side of either hip or on either side of the upper body, along the ribs.

“Worse yet, it can occur consecutively in at least two or three locations, one right after the other.”

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Other B12 deficiency symptoms include:

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Lack of energy (lethargy)
  • Breathlessness
  • Feeling faint
  • Headaches
  • Pale skin
  • Hearing sounds coming from inside the body, rather than from an outside source (tinnitus)
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

Vitamin B12, like all B vitamins, is water-soluble, which means the body expels what it does not use, explained Harvard Health.

The site added: “Its main job is to maintain healthy nerve cells, support proper brain function, and assist in the production of DNA and RNA.

“Low levels of B12 can cause fatigue, nervousness, dizziness and numbness.

“Diet is the best way to get B12 and the average adult should consume 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12 a day, according to the National Institutes of Health.”

How to know if you are deficient in B12

A blood test done at the GP’s clinic can determine whether or not somebody is deficient in vitamin B12.

The doctor will also want to discuss symptoms and look at your medical history to help form a diagnosis.

Typically, B12 injections or prescribed oral supplements will be prescribed to treat the nutrient deficiency.

Treatment may be for a few weeks, months, or lifelong, depending on the underlying reason behind the vitamin B12 deficiency.

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