B12 deficiency: The 4 uncomfortable signs on your tongue you could be low on B12

Dr Dawn Harper on signs of vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiency

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Vitamin B12 is found in a lot of animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy. A deficiency can lead to a type of anaemia as well as more severe complications such as heart problems, temporary infertility and problems with the nervous system. Common symptoms of the deficiency include fatigue and muscle weakness.

However, symptoms can also appear on the tongue.

According to WebMD people with B12 deficiency could discover they have ulcers on their tongue.

It says: “You may get these ulcers on your gums or tongue.

“The sores usually clear up on their own, but it helps to avoid ingredients that might be irritating or painful, like vinegar, citrus, and hot spices like chilli powder.

“Some over-the-counter medicines could soothe your pain.

”The health body also states that a smooth or sore tongue is a sign.

“Your doctor might call it atrophic glossitis,” it says.

“Tiny bumps on your tongue called papillae start to waste away.

“That makes it look and feel kind of smooth and glossy. Infections, medication, and other conditions can cause it, too.

“But if not enough B12 or other nutrients is to blame, your tongue also may be sore.”

And Harvard Health cites a “swollen, inflamed” tongue as an “overlooked” symptom.

It says: “Vitamin B12 deficiency can be slow to develop, causing symptoms to appear gradually and intensify over time.

“It can also come on relatively quickly.

“Given the array of symptoms a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause, the condition can be overlooked or confused with something else.”

Other signs of a B12 deficiency include:

  • A lack of energy
  • Pins and needles (paraesthesia)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Disturbed vision
  • Psychological problems, which may include depression and confusion
  • Problems with memory, understanding and judgement.

The NHS advises that adults between the ages of 19 and 64 require about 1.5 micrograms a day of vitamin B12.

Good sources of B12 are:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Some fortified breakfast cereals
  • Marmite.

It is also possible to get B12 supplements from chemists, or a GP may prescribe a course of injections if you are not able to properly absorb B12 on your own.

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