Published On: Fri, Aug 10th, 2018

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: Pins and needles could be a sign

Vitamin B12 is needed by the body to make red blood cells, according to the NHS.

It’s also used to keep the nervous system healthy, and it helps with the production of DNA.

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms include headaches, fatigue, and a loss of appetite.

But you could also be at risk of the condition by analysing your feet, it’s been revealed.

You may need more vitamin B12-rich foods in your diet if you often get pins and needles in your feet, said nutritionist Helen West.

Pins and needles are a tingling or prickling feeling in the feet. The tingling may feel stronger when standing up or walking.

It’s usually nothing to worry about, and everyone gets pins and needles during their lifetime.

But it could be a sign of something more serious if it keeps coming back, or if it lasts for a long time.

Vitamin B12 is needed to help protect the nervous system, said West. It’s used by the body to produce myelin.

Myelin is a fatty substance that surrounds nerves. But, without enough vitamin B12, the nerves become exposed, and may lead to pins and needles, she said.

“Unfortunately, symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to show up, and diagnosing it can be complex,” said West.

“One of the more serious side effects of a long-term B12 deficiency is nerve damage.

“Without B12, myelin is produced differently, and your nervous system isn’t able to function properly.

“One common sign of this happening is paresthesia, or the sensation of pins and needles, which is similar to a prickling sensation in your hands and feet.

“That said, sensations of pins and needles are a common symptom that can have many causes, so this symptom alone is not usually a sign of B12 deficiency.”

Other signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include a yellowing of the skin or changes to mobility.

You could top up on vitamin B12 by eating more beef, liver, salmon, egg or dairy foods.

See a GP if you’re worried that you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Most cases can be easily treated with vitamin B12 supplements and diet changes.

It’s important for the condition to be diagnosed early, as it can lead to heart conditions and temporary infertility on rare occasions.

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Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: Pins and needles could be a sign