VITAMIN B12 deficiency symptoms are important to recognise because left untreated, a number of health complications can occur, including problems with the nerves and infertility. Three signs to watch out for could be hidden in your skin.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms can begin to show when a person lacks the essential vitamin in their diet. B12 plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells and keeping the nerves healthy. A lack of vitamin B12 means a lack of red blood cells, and those that are produced can be abnormally large and have a short lifespan. If the body doesn’t get enough red blood cells, then tissues and organs become deprived of oxygen, triggering the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can be easier to spot than others – three are associated with a person’s skin.
A yellow tinge to skin
This yellow tinge to skin could be a sign of jaundice, which has been linked to vitamin B12 deficiency. Jaundice is when your skin and the white of your eyes turn yellow, explains the NHS.
It can be a sign of something serious, such as liver disease, in which case you need to get urgent medical help. But experts say jaundice can also develop when a person’s body is not able to produce enough red blood cells.
The skin gets its normal colour by red blood cells circulating under the skin. Vitamin B12 can also weaken red blood cells, which the body then breaks down more quickly.
When the red blood cells are broken down by the liver, bilirubin is released. Bilirubin is a brown-coloured substance that gives skin the yellowish tone.
It’s important to note jaundice can also be a sign of liver disease.
Pale skin may also appear if a person has jaundice as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency. “If you have vitamin B12-deficiency anaemia, you may also look pale.”
Again, a person may be pale due to a lack of red blood cells circulating under the skin.
White spots on the skin can be a symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, according to charity Thyroid Patient Advocacy. These spots may develop in someone with a vitamin B12 deficiency because of a lower level of melanin.
The spots are more likely to appear on the forearm, and many be dry and flakey. But it’s important to note these white spots could also be another condition, such as sunspots.
If you experience any of these symptoms see your GP.