Vitamin B complex includes vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. Each B vitamin has its own purpose in the body, and deficiency in any of the B vitamins can manifest as symptoms that range from barely noticeable to blindingly obvious. While the most accurate way to determine if you suffer from a vitamin B deficiency is through a blood test, you may also tune in to some important clues that your body may be giving you.
Symptoms of Vitamin B Deficiency
Pay attention to the way your body feels. Feeling sluggish and lethargic or exhibiting skin tone that is more pale then usual are two hallmark signs of vitamin B12 anemia. Vitamin B12 plays a large part in the production of red blood cells, and when this vitamin is deficient, your red blood cell count will usually decrease. When red blood cells are low, oxygen is not sufficiently circulating, leading to low energy, fatigue, and pallor of the skin.
Determine if your B vitamin levels are lacking by assessing appetite. Low levels of vitamin B3, also known as niacin, can cause a decrease in hunger. This vitamin is important in the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates, as well as circulation, insulin production, and regulation of certain hormones. Besides lack of appetite, niacin deficiency can also cause mouth sores, dizziness, and headaches.
Check for signs of irritability, nausea, acne, or loss of memory. Vitamin B9, better known as folic acid, is an important vitamin that can decrease in cases of alcoholism, malnutrition, and even aging. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit your doctor as soon as possible, as folic acid deficiency can lead to potentially serious medical conditions, such as infertility or an increased risk of atherosclerosis
Assess nervous system symptoms including presence of confusion, difficulty walking, leg cramps, or tickling or burning in the legs and feet - symptoms that are associated with a deficiency of thiamine, vital to brain and nervous system function. See your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of these symptoms; If not corrected, thiamine deficiency can lead to coma and possibly death.
Visit your primary care practitioner, who can run tests to verify or rule out a vitamin B deficiency. If you are deficient, your doctor will either prescribe a vitamin B supplement, or may refer you to a dietitian that can recommend foods that are rich in the B vitamins.
While listening to your body is an effective way to guard against illness and disease, It is never a good idea to self diagnose. Make sure to plan a visit to your primary care physician if you suspect a vitamin B deficiency.