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What happens when your B vitamins are low?

b vitamins

Vitamin B complex is essential for almost every part of the body. B vitamins help maintain proper brain function, as well as the health of the ears, nerves, hair, eyes, liver, and mouth. These vitamins are also necessary for the normal maintenance of the body.

Adequate intake of B vitamins is very important for older people as these nutrients are not absorbed properly after a certain age. B vitamins are necessary for maintaining healthy cells and keeping you active and energetic. Vitamin B also helps generate energy in the body and can be effective in reducing depression and anxiety.

Vitamin B complex includes:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid or Folate)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamins)

Not all types of B vitamins have the same functions. Older people and pregnant women have higher needs for certain types of B vitamins, and different B vitamins come from different types of food.

For example, vitamin B12 is mainly obtained from meat and dairy products, while vitamins B7 and B9, as well as B1 and B2 to a lesser extent, are obtained from fruits and vegetables.

A deficiency of any of these vitamins is known as vitamin B deficiency. Vitamin B deficiency can occur due to several reasons, such as poor absorption due to certain diseases such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, HIV, or alcohol abuse.

Vitamin B deficiency causes health problems, and symptoms appear depending on the specific deficiency. Fatigue, confusion, a weakened immune system, and anemia can occur due to a deficiency of any of these vitamins. Additionally, skin rashes can also occur as a result of a vitamin B deficiency.

If you think you may have a B vitamin deficiency, see a doctor. Your doctor may suggest a physical examination and blood tests to diagnose the problem. If your doctor determines that you are not getting enough B vitamins, they may prescribe B vitamin supplements.

Signs and symptoms of vitamin B complex deficiency

According to different types of Vitamin B, the symptoms and signs that develop from them vary. The following are the symptoms for each type of Vitamin B:

Symptoms of low Vitamin B1

  • Irritable feelings
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cardiovascular effects, such as enlargement of the heart
  • Confusion
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling sensation in hands and feet
  • Memory lapses
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of appetite
  • Digestive problems, such as diarrhea

Symptoms of low Vitamin B2

  • Swollen tongue
  • Hypersensitivity to light and tired eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Blurred vision, itching in the eyes, pain, blood-like spots, and watery eyes
  • Weakness
  • Dermatitis
  • Increased risk of anemia

Symptoms of low Vitamin B3

  • Poor vision
  • Hypersensitivity to light
  • Weak and tired feelings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Swelling, burning, and redness of the skin
  • Skin hypersensitivity, including skin rashes
  • Depression
  • Loss of memory
  • Redness and pain in the tongue
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Symptoms of low Vitamin B4

  • Vomiting may occur
  • Insomnia
  • Depression can also occur
  • Slight abdominal pain may also occur
  • Burning feet
  • Increased risk of respiratory tract infection
  • Tired feeling
  • Irritable feeling

Symptoms of low Vitamin B5

  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Confused feeling
  • Muscle pain
  • Worsening of anemia symptoms
  • Mood changes, such as irritability, anxiety, and depression

Symptoms of low Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

  • Although biotin deficiency is rare, the following symptoms may occur:
  • Digestive problems
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tingling sensation in hands and feet
  • Lack of energy or tiredness for a long time
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Nerve damage
  • Mood swings
  • Hair thinning or hair loss

Symptoms of low Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) –

  • Irritability and loss of appetite may occur
  • Severe deficiency causes anemia due to larger-than-normal red blood cells made by the bone marrow
  • Tired feeling
  • Folic acid deficiency in pregnant women can cause serious problems for the baby.

Symptoms of low Vitamin B12 –

  • Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
  • Neurological problems, such as numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and difficulty walking
  • Less visible
  • Mental problems, such as depression, memory loss, and behavioral changes
  • Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
  • Yellowing of the skin
  • Greasy tongue
  • Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or formation of gas in the stomach.

Can you fix vitamin B deficiency?

Yes, you can. Different types of B vitamins can be deficient for various reasons.

Causes of vitamin B1 deficiency

  • Liver disorders
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Extreme dieting

Causes of vitamin B2 deficiency

  • Long-term use of certain drugs
  • Chronic alcohol addiction
  • Insufficient intake of vitamin B2
  • Dialysis
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Liver disorders
  • Diarrhea

Causes of vitamin B3 deficiency

  • Binge drinking
  • Malabsorption of nutrients in the digestive system
  • Anorexia (eating disorder)
  • Insufficient intake of vitamin B3 in the diet
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Diseases of the stomach and intestines, such as ulcerative colitis
  • Prolonged diarrhea
  • HIV/AIDS

Causes of vitamin B5 deficiency

Natural deficiency of vitamin B5 is very rare and occurs only in cases of severe malnutrition. People who are at risk of this include:

  • Women who take birth control pills
  • People who are addicted to alcohol
  • People with impaired absorption due to certain digestive disorders
  • Older individuals

Causes of vitamin B6 deficiency

Deficiency in Vitamin B6 is most commonly caused by:

  • Long-term dialysis procedures
  • Protein-energy undernutrition
  • Malabsorption
  • Certain types of drugs (consult a doctor)
  • Alcohol addiction

Causes of vitamin B7 deficiency

Deficiency in Vitamin B7 can result from not getting enough of it in the diet or improper absorption. Risk factors for a deficiency in biotin or vitamin B7 may include:

  • Long-term use of anti-seizure drugs
  • Heavy drinking
  • Eating large amounts of raw egg whites
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Long-term use of antibiotics
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Causes of vitamin B9 deficiency

Folate or Vitamin B9 deficiency is the most common of all B vitamins and can be caused by:

  • Abnormal metabolism
  • Conditions that increase the need for vitamin B9, such as pregnancy and lactation
  • Inadequate absorption of vitamin B9
  • Insufficient intake of vitamin B9

Causes of vitamin B12 deficiency

Deficiency in Vitamin B12 is mainly caused by not having enough of it in the diet or poor absorption. People who are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin B12 include:

  • People who have been taking antacid medicine for a long time for heartburn treatment, etc.
  • People who have had surgery to remove part of the intestine that absorbs Vitamin B12
  • People taking metformin for diabetes
  • Older individuals
  • Strict vegetarians

How to prevent deficiency in Vitamin B?

Most people don’t need to get sufficient B vitamins from supplements to stay healthy. There are plenty of foods that provide us with all the necessary nutrients naturally. To ensure you get enough B vitamins, it’s important to have a diet rich in meats, grains, vegetables, and fruits.

What is the best source of vitamin B?

Vitamin B1 – Oranges, milk, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds, peas, spinach, oats

Vitamin B2 – Chicken, fish, eggs, spinach, green leafy vegetables, some fortified cereals, milk and dairy products, yogurt, cheese

Vitamin B3 – Green peas, spinach, oats, mushrooms, fortified milk and dairy products, chicken, peanuts, eggs, broccoli

Vitamin B5 – Eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, chicken

Vitamin B6 – Bread, whole grain cereals, eggs, chicken, fish

Vitamin B7 – Spinach, broccoli, peas, chickpeas

Vitamin B9 – Green leafy vegetables, tomato juice, beans, legumes, mushrooms, chicken, eggs, oats, peas, citrus, bananas, melons

Vitamin B12 – Dairy products, eggs, chicken

If you are unable to get enough B vitamins from your diet or have a condition that affects absorption, a doctor may recommend taking B vitamin supplements. However, it’s important to only take supplements after consulting with a doctor, as taking too much of any vitamin can have side effects, especially if you’re taking other medications.

The risk of overdose with water-soluble B vitamins is lower compared to other nutritional supplements. Additionally, Vitamin B2 may interact with medications and cause adverse effects.

How is Vitamin B deficiency tested?

A deficiency in Vitamin B is diagnosed based on its symptoms and through various tests. Your doctor may ask you about your symptoms, dietary habits, and digestive health. A deficiency in B vitamins can have a significant impact on multiple body systems. The doctor may ask you to undergo the following tests:

  • A blood test to check for anemia, which will assess the number and size of red blood cells
  • A complete hemogram
  • A skin biopsy
  • A blood test to measure the levels of B vitamins in the blood
  • An ECG (Electrocardiogram) to evaluate the heart
  • A liver function test
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How can I increase my B12 level fast?

It’s essential to ensure that you’re getting enough B vitamins daily to keep your body functioning effectively. If you’re at risk of a B vitamin deficiency, try to eat a healthy and balanced diet. If you suspect that you may have any of the above symptoms, visit a doctor and consider taking B vitamin supplements.

B vitamin supplements are available in the form of capsules, powders, and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and orange juice. Fortified foods are those whose nutrient content, including vitamin B, has been artificially increased.

Which disease is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin B?

Different types of vitamin deficiencies can cause various problems, including:

Diseases caused by Vitamin B1 deficiency:

Deficiency of Vitamin B1 leads to beriberi disease and can cause severe confusion, delusions, heart problems, and memory loss.

Diseases caused by Vitamin B2 deficiency:

Prolonged Vitamin B2 deficiency can result in cataracts, heart disorders, hair fall, dry skin, insomnia, migraines, glaucoma, and anemia.

Diseases caused by Vitamin B3 deficiency:

Long-term lack of Vitamin B3 can lead to depression, schizophrenia, acne, fatigue, respiratory tract infections, stomach cramps, and a weakened immune system.

Diseases caused by Vitamin B5 deficiency:

Vitamin B5 deficiency can cause abdominal cramps, decreased immunity, insomnia, respiratory problems, depression, and fatigue.

Diseases caused by Vitamin B7 deficiency:

A lack of Vitamin B7 over a long period can result in lethargy, numbness or tingling in hands and feet, skin diseases, insomnia, hearing loss, a weakened immune system, and depression.

Diseases caused by Vitamin B9 deficiency:

Vitamin B9 deficiency can lead to mental disorders, anemia, cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and premature aging.

Diseases caused by Vitamin B1 deficiency:

A deficiency of Vitamin B12 can result in infertility, anemia, neurological changes, colon cancer, and birth defects.