Vitamin B12 deficiency – the five ‘peculiar’ warning signs you should never ignore

Vitamin B12 is a crucial ingredient for the healthy running of the body, as it’s needed to make red blood cells. Signs of a deficiency can develop very slowly, so it may be difficult to diagnose the condition. But, these are the five “peculiar” signs you should know about.

People with undiagnosed symptoms should consider that they may have a vitamin B12 deficiency, according to charity Thyroid Patient Advocacy.

While it’s unlikely that your symptoms are caused by the condition, there are still many people that have a lack of B12.

A quick blood test could reveal whether you should be adding more B12 to your diet.

One of the most peculiar signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency is developing star, stabbing pains in the palm of your hands.

The pain tends to occur suddenly, without any prior warning.

It usually affects the spot just below the ring finger, around where the palm crease lies, it said.

Left untreated, this pain can start to move toward the outside edge of the hand, stemming from the wrist.

Another unusual sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency is finding whites spots on the outside of your skin.

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These spots tend to appear on the outside of the forearm, and tend to get whiter the longer they’re left untreated.

Some patients also develop sores at the corners of their mouths, said the charity.

They’re raw spots which tend to come and go, and can stretch across the edge of the lip.

A B12 deficiency can also lead to an itchy or tingling tongue. Patients usually have an irresistible urge to scratch their tongue.

The tingling is most commonly found on the edge of the tongue, along one side in particular, or at the tip.


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Meanwhile, an eye twitch may also be caused by the condition, it added.

It can affect just one, or both eyes, and isn’t usually painful – it’s just annoying.

“Borderline B12 deficiency can sometimes cause symptoms so dramatic that B12 deficiency may be rejected as a possible cause, because it may be thought that such symptoms wouldn’t be caused by a mere borderline deficiency,” said the charity.

“B12 deficiency sometimes goes undiagnosed until the symptoms become moderate to severe, although this is not necessarily the fault of the medical profession.


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“The symptoms often come on so slowly that a B12-deficient individual may become accustomed to them and not complain until the symptoms become severe.”

Other, more common warning signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include tiredness, jaundice, and feeling dizzy.

You should speak to a doctor if you’re worried about vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.

But you can top up on the vitamin by eating certain foods. The best sources of vitamin B12 include beef, liver, dairy foods, eggs, and salmon.

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