Dr Oscar Duke issues warning over ‘fizzy’ vitamins
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The Mayo Clinic says vitamin deficiency anaemia usually develops slowly over several months to years. It suggests pale or yellowish skin may be a sign. The NHS also states a pale yellow tinge to your skin can indicate vitamin deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia is a condition in which your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells, due to a lack of vitamin B12.
The NHS warns that it is important for vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, as though many of the symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the condition can be irreversible if left untreated.
“The longer the condition goes untreated, the higher the chance of permanent damage,” the health body explains.
You can see a GP if you’re experiencing symptoms of vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia, as these conditions can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of a blood test.
If your deficiency is due to a restrictive diet, you may seek the advice of a nutritionist.
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The NHS says other general symptoms of anaemia may include extreme tiredness, breathlessness, feeling faint and headaches.
You may also notice that you have noticeable heartbeats, are hearing sounds coming from inside the body, rather than from an outside source, as well as noticing a loss of appetite and weight loss.
If you have anaemia caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency, you may have other symptoms that affect your behaviour.
The NHS says you may notice irritability, depression, changes in the way you think, feel and behave, and a decline in your mental abilities, such as memory, understanding and judgement.
Some of these symptoms can also happen in people who have a vitamin B12 deficiency but have not developed anaemia.
If you have anaemia caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency, you may have other symptoms, such as a sore and red tongue, mouth ulcers, pins and needles, changes in the way that you walk and move around, and disturbed vision.
There are several risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia including a family history of the disease, autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes and Crohn’s disease.
They also include HIV, some medicines, strict vegetarian diets, and being an older adult, according to The Johns Hopkins University.
Both vitamin B12 deficiency and folate deficiency are more common in older people, affecting around one in 10 people aged 75 or over and one in 20 people aged 65 to 74, says the NHS.
The NHS warns: “Taking doses of folic acid higher than 1mg can mask the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, which can eventually damage the nervous system if it’s not spotted and treated.”
The NHS says those aged 19 to 64 need about 1.5 micrograms a day of vitamin B12.
The health body explains if you eat meat, fish or dairy foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet. It says taking 2.0 micrograms or less a day of vitamin B12 in supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.
According to the NHS, if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, perhaps caused by a lack of the vitamin in your diet, you may be prescribed vitamin B12 tablets to take every day between meals.
Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia is usually treated with injections of vitamin B12.
The Mayo Clinic notes: “People who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet might be prone to deficiency because plant foods don’t contain vitamin B12.
“Older adults and people with digestive tract conditions that affect absorption of nutrients also are susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency.”
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