Vitamin B12 deficiency: The signs you’re lacking found in your hands or feet

Dr Dawn Harper on signs of vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiency

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Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that keeps the body functioning properly. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include fatigue, low mood, and nerve problems. What are the signs to spot in your hands or feet?

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and keeping nerves healthy.

If a person lacks B12, their red blood cell count may be lower and their nerves risk becoming damaged.

Complications that can arise out of these two things happening include loss of physical co-ordination and cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause “pins and needles” in the hands or feet.

This symptom occurs because the vitamin plays a crucial role in the nervous system, and its absence can cause people to develop nerve conduction problems or nerve damage.

In the nervous system, vitamin B-12 helps produce a substance called myelin, said Medical News Today.

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The site added: “Myelin is a protective coating that shields the nerves and helps them transmit sensations.

“People who are vitamin B-12 deficient may not produce enough myelin to coat their nerves. Without this coating, nerves can become damaged.

“Problems are more common in the nerves in the hands and feet, which are called peripheral nerves.

“Peripheral nerve damage may lead to tingling in these parts of the body.”

Sometimes the tingling can appear as a sharp stabbing pain in the palm of one or both hands, says Thyroid Patient Advocacy.

It explains: “This occurs suddenly and for no apparent reason in a spot directly below the ring finger, approximately where the first palm crease is.

“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.”

It is important to consume foods that contain vitamin B12 on a regular basis.

Adults need around 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 each day.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is present in animal-based foods, such as:

  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Fish

If a person does not eat animal products, they will need to add vegetarian and vegan sources of vitamin B12 to their diet.

These include fortified cereals, plant milks, bread, and nutritional yeast.
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