Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: Is weight gain a sign you could be lacking B12?

Vitamin B12 mostly comes from your diet. But is weight gain linked to a deficiency in the nutrient?

When you’re deficient in vitamin B12, the NHS explains the body begins to produce abnormal red blood cells that can’t function properly.

Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen around the body.

This could lead to symptoms of muscle weakness, pins and needles and feeling extremely tired.


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One observational study from Duzce University, School of Medicine, in Turkey, reports a low level of vitamin B12 is associated with obesity.

Involving 976 patients – with 414 classified as obese; 212 overweight participants; and a control group of 351 – vitamin B12 levels were significantly lower in those with an unhealthy weight.

Conversely, additional research from Bastyr University Research Institute, in the US, found that those who took B12 supplements over a 10-year period were less heavy than those who didn’t.

The researchers concluded: “Further study is necessary before recommendations regarding these supplements can be made.”

It’s clear more research is needed in this area to determine whether or not the consumption of B12 can lead to weight gain.

However, the NHS outlines specific signs that reveal you are lacking in vitamin B12.

It may be beneficial to be aware of these to ensure you have your nerve cells and red blood cells in tip-top condition.

The NHS states a sore and red tongue could be a sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Another telling sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency includes mouth ulcers.

Disturbed vision, problems with memory, understanding and judgement can all be symptoms you need to get more vitamin B12 into your body.

A lack of vitamin B12 in your diet is more common if you’re a vegan.

This is because this nutrient isn’t found in plant foods – unless they’re fortified with vitamin B12.


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Instead, beef liver and clams are great sources of vitamin B12.

Other foods rich in the nutrient include fish, meat, dairy products and some breakfast cereals.

Most cases of vitamin B12 deficiency can be easily treated with injections to replace the missing vitamin.

Sometimes, vitamin B12 injections are needed for the rest of your life.

A healthcare professional, such as a nurse, can administer B12 injections.

Alternatively, NHS guidelines state people can be prescribed tablets for a B12 deficiency.

Although uncommon, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to unwanted complications.

Such complications include issues with the nervous system, heart conditions and temporary infertility.

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