Vitamin B12 deficiency: The painful sensation in your mouth that may signal you have it

Vitamin B12 deficiency: The painful sensation in your mouth that may signal you have it

Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis, processes which work synergistically to keep your body operating efficiently. Lacking the vitamin can therefore have a pronounced effect on your body, causing a number of physiological changes.

One unsettling sign of a B12 deficiency is burning mouth syndrome.

According to Medical website LiveStrong, burning mouth syndrome can cause burning sensations in the tongue, lips, gums, palate, throat or entire mouth.

Other symptoms may include dry mouth, increased thirst, sore mouth, taste loss or changes, tingling or numb sensation, explains the health body.

“Symptoms of burning mouth syndrome can come and go intermittently and may worsen as the day progresses,” it adds.

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How to treat it

The treatment for vitamin B12 depends on what’s causing the condition.

Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia for example, which occurs when a lack of vitamin B12 or folate causes the body to produce abnormally large red blood cells that cannot function properly, is usually treated with injections.

There are two types of vitamin B12 injections:

  • Hydroxocobalamin
  • Cyanocobalamin

According to the NHS, if your vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by a lack of the vitamin in your diet, you may be prescribed vitamin B12 tablets to take every day between meals.

People who find it difficult to get enough vitamin B12 in their diets, such as those following a vegan diet, may need vitamin B12 tablets for life, however.

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, or are looking for alternatives to meat and dairy products, there are other foods that contain vitamin B12.

As the NHS explains, alternative sources of B12 include yeast extract (including Marmite), as well as some fortified breakfast cereals and soy products.

If you are not following a vegan or vegetarian diet, B12 can be found in the following sources:

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

Check the nutrition labels while food shopping to see how much vitamin B12 different foods contain, advises the NHS.

If your vitamin B12 deficiency is not caused by a lack of vitamin B12 in your diet, however, you’ll usually need to have an injection of hydroxocobalamin every two to three months for the rest of your life, says the health site.

To ensure your treatment is working, you may need to have further blood tests.

Most people who have had a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency will not need further monitoring unless their symptoms return or their treatment is ineffective, explains the NHS.

“If your GP feels it’s necessary, you may have to return for an annual blood test to see whether your condition has returned,” it adds.

Published at Tue, 03 Mar 2020 12:09:00 +0000