Vitamin B12 deficiency: Symptoms include burning and itching sensations in the mouth
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the blood and nerve cells in your body healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material of all your cells. Like most processes in the body, you don’t appreciate the impact it has until it goes awry. If you become B12 deficient, it can cause a torrent of problems.
“Although many symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the disease can be irreversible if left untreated,” warns the NHS.
“The longer the disease is left untreated, the greater the risk of permanent damage.”
What causes low B12 levels?
Pernicious anemia is the most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in the UK.
Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease that affects your stomach, which means your immune system attacks cells in your stomach that produce intrinsic factor, a protein needed to absorb vitamin B12.
Some people can develop vitamin B12 deficiency because they don’t get enough vitamin B12 in their diet.
A diet that includes meat, fish, and dairy products usually provides enough vitamin B12, but people who do not eat these foods regularly can become deficient.
According to the NHS, people who follow a vegan diet and don’t take vitamin B12 supplements or eat foods fortified with vitamin B12 are at higher risk.
How low B12 levels are replenished
Treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency depends on the cause of the disease.
Most people can be easily treated with injections or tablets to replace missing vitamins.
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia (low number of red blood cells) is usually treated with vitamin B12 injections.
There are two types of vitamin B12 injections:
The most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in the UK is pernicious anemia, which is unrelated to your diet.