Vitamin Deficiencies and Causes of Fainting

Fainting, otherwise known as syncope, occurs when your brain does not receive enough blood and your body responds by losing consciousness. Numerous variables contribute to fainting including vitamin and mineral deficiencies and electrolyte imbalances. Consuming a diet rich in nutrients can help prevent vitamin-induced fainting spells.

Your diet may help with fainting spells. (Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images)

Vitamin B12

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vitamin B12 deficiency affects one out of every 31 individuals 51 years of age and older. Vitamin B12 functions to generate red blood cells and aid in the efficiency of your nervous system. When you lack vitamin B12, you may develop anemia as a result of reduced DNA production, causing feelings of weakness, fatigue and lightheadedness. Additionally, fainting spells may occur due to loss of nerve functioning when deficient levels of vitamin B12 are present.

Folic Acid

A deficiency in folic acid can result in the development of folate-deficiency anemia. Such deficiency is found among individuals consuming large amounts of alcohol, eating poorly, possessing an impaired absorption of folic acid, overcooking food, and requiring extra supplementation such as pregnant women or infants. Folate-deficiency anemia differs from vitamin B12 deficiency due to the absence of nerve and neurological impairment. Symptoms of folic acid anemia manifest through symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, fainting, palpitations, weakness and forgetfulness.

Iron, Vitamin D and Vitamin C

The most common form of anemia results from a deficiency in iron, a mineral aiding red blood cells in the delivery of oxygen to body tissues. Iron-deficiency anemia can cause depletion or prevent absorption of vitamin D. Deficiency in vitamin C can prevent the absorption of iron, leading to iron-deficiency anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia can lead to fainting by causing decreased blood flow to the heart, lack of oxygen to bodily tissues and increased shortness of breath.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Sodium, chloride and potassium are electrolytes that play a vital role in the regulation of cell activity. Hyponatremia, a condition occurring when sodium levels are too low, results from fluid retention or excess sodium excretion. When an electrolyte imbalance occurs, the nervous system is affected, causing headaches, nausea, cramping, fatigue, confusion and fainting. This deficiency of sodium can result from prolonged exercise such as training for a marathon. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, approximately 4 percent of Ironman triathlon participants experience hyponatremia.

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