You might be familiar with vitamin deficiencies such as scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) and rickets (vitamin D deficiency). Vitamin B12 deficiency also may be a serious problem for some people.
Here are a few of the common signs of B12 deficiency:
Weakness, fatigue, lightheadedness
Shortness of breath
Constipation, diarrhea, gas
Tingling, muscle weakness, nerve issues
Behavioral, mood, memory changes
The proteins along the GI tract that enable the absorption of vitamin B12 can be impaired by over-the-counter digestive aids such as antacids, histamine type 2 receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. Certain antibiotics, anticonvulsants, and metformin also can deplete B12. Growing children, vegans, vegetarians, pregnant women, the elderly, smokers, and others taking various pharmaceutical medications, all are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Since 10-30 percent of older people don’t properly digest vitamin B12, it’s recommended that anyone over 50 should take a B12 supplement daily.