Vitamin B12 performs a number of pivotal roles in the body and these roles are responsible for both physical and mental processes. Take its role in supporting the nervous system. The nervous system transmits signals between the brain and the rest of the body, including internal organs.
Constant fatigue is one of the main symptoms of a B12 deficiency, because when this vitamin is low, the body has fewer red blood cells.
The primary job of those red blood cells is to transport oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.
A lack of red blood cells translates to fatigue.
That’s why no matter how much sleep you get, if there aren’t enough of these cells coursing through your body, then you’ll still spend the day exhausted.
Feeling unusually tired or weak is one of the most common warning signs of the condition, says medical website Healthline.
If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, your body may struggle to make new red blood cells.
Red blood cells are key to delivering oxygen around the body.
Without enough oxygen in your cells, you may start to feel generally tired or run down.
A lack of B12 can also lead to less red blood cells being made and can lead to nerve damage.
If the condition is left untreated for a long time, it could put a person at risk of heart problems.
To avoid complications it’s important to recognise all the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, and one symptom to be wary of is a change in breathing.
Experts say shortness of breath, even after a little exercise, can be a sign of the condition.
According to a case report from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital published in The New England Journal of Medicine, a 62-year-old man who lacked vitamin B12 became progressively short of breath.
Breathlessness can arise when the body lacks red blood cells, as it needs these to get enough oxygen to the body’s cells.
Thyroid Patient Advocacy explains shortness of breath can occur without chest pain and adds it can happen when walking just a few yards.
A blood test is usually ordered to screen for a vitamin B12 deficiency, which can also measure the size of the red blood cells in the body.
This factor is important as vitamin B12 helps to create healthy shaped red blood cells.
Inadequate amounts of the vitamin in the body can lead to abnormally large red blood cells.
However, a blood test has its limitations – it can measure the amount of vitamin B12 in the body but can’t determine whether the body is able to use it.