Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to an array of symptoms. Take stock of what your eyes are telling you. A lack of the essential nutrient may become apparent in the way your skin looks.
Without adequate amounts of vitamin B12, the production of blood cells is disturbed.
Responsible for transporting oxygen around the body, a lack of functioning blood cells can result in alarming consequences.
The visual clue that your body is feeling the effects of a vitamin B12 deficiency is yellowing of the skin.
Red blood cells
Ken Hub – an educational platform for those going into medicine, nursing and physiotherapy – details information about red blood cells.
Red blood cells, medically known as erythrocytes, are produced in the bone marrow – a process called erythropoiesis.
Their function is to pick up inhaled oxygen from the lungs and transport it to the body’s tissues.
From there, it picks up carbon dioxide waste at the tissues, and transports it to the lungs to be exhaled (breathed out).
This all happens in the bloodstream, where healthy red blood cells survive between 100 and 120 days.
Ken Hub added: “Megaloblastic anaemia is caused by deficiency of vitamin B12.”
The National Organisation for Rare Disorders (NORD) explained what megaloblastic is.
“Megaloblastic anaemia is a condition in which the bone marrow produces unusually large, structurally abnormal, immature red blood cells (megaloblasts),” it stated.
The condition develops slowly, after many years, with symptoms beginning to appear the longer you’ve been deficient in vitamin B12.
NORD confirmed that “a slight yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice) may occur”.
Such a deficiency can result from an inadequate diet or trouble absorbing vitamin b12 in the gut.
Vitamin B12 can be found in meat, fish and eggs, so vegetarians are encouraged to eat food fortified with vitamin B12.
Find yourself eating plenty of fish, meat or eggs? Then your gut may have issues with absorbing vitamin B12.
In such cases, malabsorption can be the result from surgery on the intestines, intestinal diseases (such as Crohn’s disease) or a bacterial infection.
Additionally, another culprit may be due to pernicious anaemia, which happens when an intrinsic factor protein is missing.
This protein is responsible for binding with vitamin B12 to ease absorption.
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