How to know if you're not getting enough vitamin B

MEAT eating meatIlya S. Savenok/GettyVitamin B12 is found in meat, among other things

  • Vitamin B comes in a variety of forms and can be found in many different foods.
  • If you experience a deficiency in the vitamin, it’s likely a lack of B12, which is only found in meat, eggs, dairy, and fish.
  • Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include brain fog, weakness, balance problems, and anemia.
  • People most at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency are vegetarians,vegans, and anyone who has undergone weight loss surgery.

How often do you think about your vitamin B intake? Chances are, it’s not all that often, because, let’s face it –vitamins can be confusing. Sure, well-publicised vitamins like C and D are easy enough to understand in their forms of citrus fruits and sunlight, respectively, but B is often left by the wayside.

But, as is the case with most underappreciated things, there’s a lot vitamin B can do for you – and, if you don’t get enough of it, the results can be pretty grim.

INSIDER talked with Lisa DeFazio, a registered dietitian and author of “The Women’s Health Big Book of Smoothies and Soups,” to find out what can happen if you don’t get enough vitamin B, and what you need to do to make sure you get enough of it.

A vitamin B deficiency might make you feel tired and weak, among other symptoms

Woman tired fatigue sleepingDavid Prado Perucha/ShutterstockTiredness is a symptom of a vitamin B deficiency.

Vitamin B comes in a wide variety of forms, like B6 (found in chickpeas, whole grains, salmon, and spinach, according to Healthline) and B1 and B2, which can come from milk, eggs, and dark green vegetables. But if you are deficient in the vitamin, it’s likely going to be from a lack of B12. This is because B12 can only be found naturally in a few foods, like meat, eggs, dairy, and fish.

According to DeFazio, if you are deficient in vitamin B12, you may experience numbness or tingling in your extremities, balance problems, an inflamed tongue, brain fog, weakness, and overall tiredness.

You might also develop anemia, which is a condition in which the body lacks red blood cells and is characterised by shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, and pale skin.

People most at risk of being B12 deficient are vegans, vegetarians, and anyone who has undergone weight-loss surgery

Eating Salad Brendan Hoffman/Getty ImagesVegans are at risk of a vitamin B deficiency.

“Plants don’t make vitamin B12,” DeFazio told INSIDER. Because of this, it may be worth investing in a B12 supplement if you follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet.

You may also develop a lack of vitamin B12 if you have had weight loss surgery, such as a gastric bypass or a sleeve gastrectomy.

“People who have weight loss surgery are more likely to be low in vitamin B12 because the operation interferes with the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food,” DeFazio told INSIDER.

This can also be remedied with a B12 supplement.

Not sure what’s going on? Talk with a doctor. They will be able to tell you how to get all the vitamin B you need, whether it comes in the form of food or supplements.

Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

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