Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: Watch out for this slight change in your bowel habits

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: Watch out for this slight change in your bowel habits

Vitamin B12 deficiency is usually referred to as vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia. The vitamin is very important when it comes to health function of the body, as it is vital for making red blood cells and keeping the nervous system working properly. A lack of B12 causes red blood cells to become abnormally large and to have a short lifespan, which can deprive tissues and organs of oxygen, leading to the symptoms of anaemia.

Some of the most notable symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia are feeling very tired, breathlessness even after little exercise, a sore mouth and tongue and heart palpitations.

But another symptom can also affect a person’s bowel habits.

Having a vitamin B12 deficiency can play havoc on your digestive tract, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and this can cause diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea is identified as faeces being discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid form.

But it should also be noted that diarrhoea and constipation can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, a food intolerance or a change in diet.

The best way to find out the cause is to see your GP.

How to avoid and treat vitamin B12 deficiency

One cause of vitamin B12 deficiency is not eating enough vitamin B12-rich foods.

Adults (aged 19 to 64) need about 1.5 microgram a day of vitamin B12.

The body doesn’t make vitamin B12 but the best way to get it is from a balanced diet.

There are specific vitamin B12-rich foods your GP may recommend you eat:

  • Meat
  • Simon and cod
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Eggs

But if you’re vegetarian or vegan you will need to look to alternatives to meat and dairy products.

Plant-based B12 foods include:

  • Yeast extract (including marmite)
  • Some fortified breakfast cereals
  • Soy products

In many cases, particularly in more serious cases, vitamin B12 is treated with injections or tables to replace the missing vitamins.

The NHS explains: “Vitamin B12 supplements are usually given by injection at first. Then, depending on whether your B12 deficiency is related to your diet, you’ll either require B12 tablets between meals or regular injections.

“These treatments may be needed for the rest of your life.”

Another symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency to note is bad breath, according to Dr Craig Maxwell from the Integrative Medical Center in the US.

Published at Tue, 26 Feb 2019 07:06:00 +0000