Vitamin B12 is used by the body to make red blood cells, according to the NHS. It’s also used to produce DNA, and to keep the nervous system healthy, it said. You could have a vitamin B12 deficiency if you’re constantly having headaches, lose your appetite, or if you’re always feeling tired. You may be at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency if you notice some small spots on your skin.
Some small spots on your skin may be one of the earliest warning signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency, revealed charity Patient Thyroid Advocacy.
The spots appear appear with white tops, and are most likely to be found on the forearm, it said.
Left untreated, these spots can become very dry and flaky, and they could even expose raw patches of skin.
“If you have any unusual undiagnosed symptoms, perhaps you should consider whether you have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
“The symptoms often come on so slowly that a B12-deficient individual may become accustomed to them, and not complain until the symptoms become severe.
“White spots in the skin, resulting from melatonin becoming absent in the area.
“These often occur on the outside of the forearm, but may occur in other places. The longer these spots are there, the whiter they get.
“As time goes by, the spots become very dry and flaky to the extent that small raw spots of skin may be exposed.”
But you could also be at risk of the condition if you also develop an itchy tongue, added the charity.
The tongue may feel itchy on rare occasions, and it may develop without any prior warning.
Some patients could even feel a stinging or tingling pain, and there can be an “irresistible” urge to scrape the tongue with the teeth.
Other, more common vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms include feeling very tired and run down, and difficulty breathing.
But, you could lower the chances of the condition by eating more vitamin B12-rich foods.
The best sources of the vitamin include beef, liver, dairy foods, eggs, or salmon. Alternatively, you could try taking vitamin B12 supplements.
A vitamin B12 deficiency could be caused by pernicious anaemia – a condition that’s caused by the body’s immune system attacking healthy stomach cells.
Diagnosing the condition early is crucial, as it can lead to heart conditions and temporary infertility on rare occasions.