Vitamin B12 deficiency: Symptoms in the face that signal a lack of B12

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important water-soluble vitamin. It plays an essential role in the production of the red blood cells and DNA in the body. It also helps keep proper functioning of the nervous system. Unfortunately, B12 deficiency is quite common among most, especially in the elderly. A person is at risk of being deficient if they don’t get enough from their diet or are not able to absorb enough from the food they eat. Luckily the deficiency can be turned around by spotting the early signs and eating the correct diet with the added supplements. What is the symptom on the face signalling a B12 deficiency?

People with a B12 deficiency will experience a myriad of symptoms when it comes to the body. Symptoms such as pins and needles, feeling extremely weak and tired, experiencing a change in mobility, feeling breathlessness and dizziness, getting mouth ulcers, having disturbed vision, and experiencing severe mood changes. But what about the signs on the face?

People with a B12 deficiency will notice an often pale colour on their face.

This could also have a slight yellow tinge to the skin and the whites of the eyes will also be affected, appearing less white and more yellow.

The reason for this colour change in the face is due to the body lacking the essential B12 vitamin and this causes problems with the body’s red blood cell production.

When the body lacks B12 it is not able to make red blood cells as easy as those who have high levels of B12 in their system.

Without it, the instructions for building the cells are incomplete, and cells are unable to divide.

This in turn causes a type of anaemia known as megaloblastic anaemia, in which the red blood cells produced in the bone marrow are large and fragile.

These red blood cells are too large to pass out of the bone marrow and into the circulation.

Therefore, a person does not have as many red blood cells circulating around the body, and the skin will appear pale in colour.

The fragility of these cells also means that many of them break down, causing an excess of bilirubin.

Bilirubin is a slightly red or brown-coloured substance which is produced by the liver when it breaks down the old blood cells.

Large amounts of bilirubin are what gives the skin and eyes a yellow tinge.

For most people this pale or yellow tinge to the skin can be easily rectified. Eating a diet rich in beef, liver, chicken, fish, shellfish, fortified breakfast cereal, low-fat milk, yogurt, eggs and cheese will ensure you are getting adequate amounts of vitamin B12.

Taking a B12 supplement is also an excellent way to ensure the body is receiving the right amount of vitamin B12 to operate efficiently.

If you suspect you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency, speak with your GP who can offer recommendations.

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