B vitamins are part of the class of 8 key nutrients, each of which has a unique role in the human body. However, the bad news is that many individuals suffer from this deficiency. Vitamin B deficiency refers to having low levels of this spectrum of nutrients. Getting tested on time and making sure you’re eating the right foods with B vitamins is key to preventing this from happening. Here’s everything you need to know about B vitamin deficiencies, the symptoms, the risks, and how to avoid them.
Who is at risk of vitamin B deficiency?
Here is a list of people at risk of vitamin B deficiency:
- People with sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV or AIDS.
- People with type 2 diabetes.
- People abusing alcohol.
- Seniors and anyone with symptoms of heart failure.
- People who have recently had bariatric surgery.
- People with a lactose allergy or who follow a strict plant-based diet.
- Athletes who do not eat meat.
- Pregnant women who are vegan.
- People with malnutrition as well as anorexia nervosa.
- People with AIDS and alcohol use problems (AUD).
- People affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- People diagnosed with carcinoid syndrome.
- People with fat malabsorption.
- People who suffer from celiac disease.
- People suffering from cystic fibrosis.
- People who have undergone weight loss surgery.
Vitamin B5 deficiency is a very exceptional case. Only people with a pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN) double mutation are known to have it.
Vitamin B6 deficiency is often associated with pathologies, such as kidney disease, autoimmune disorders, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with alcohol use disorders, and people with metabolic disorders are at risk.
- Young children, for example, need more B8 than adults due to their rapid growth.
- Elderly people are also at increased risk due to lower absorption rate and reduced consumption of B8-rich foods.
- Vegans and vegetarians may be at risk, as they are likely to consume fewer animal products, which are a major source of the vitamin.
- People with gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease are at risk since they may have difficulty absorbing vitamin B8 from food.
People who abuse alcohol, suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and any other health condition that interferes with nutrient absorption suffer from vitamin B9 deficiency.
People who have recently had gastric bypass or stomach surgery, celiac disease, and the elderly show symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. Additionally, lifelong vegans who have not used vitamin B12 supplements are also at risk.
How does a deficiency in B vitamins manifest itself?
Keep in mind that the symptoms of a B vitamin deficiency depend on each person. No one is the same, and everyone’s nutritional needs are different. If you’re wondering what the symptoms of a B vitamin deficiency are, check out the full list for reference:
Deficiency is often associated with weight loss, muscle atrophy, mood and memory problems, poor appetite and poor reflexes. People may also suffer from heart problems and experience tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.
Vitamin B2 deficiency is manifested by skin disorders, hair loss, itchy red eyes, inflammation of the throat or mouth, and split lips.
Symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency are depression, rough patchy skin, skin discoloration, reddish tongue, diarrhea, and constipation.
Symptoms of vitamin B4 deficiency are fatigue, muscle weakness and depression.
Vitamin B5 deficiency is marked by the onset of headaches, lack of appetite, a state of irritability, sleep disturbances and some agitation.
Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include: anemia, swollen tongue, scaly lips, depression, confusion, and weak immune system.
Fatigue, brittle nails, hair loss and depression are the telltale signs of vitamin B7 deficiency.
Symptoms of this deficiency are hair loss, rashes and fatigue. If left untreated, biotin deficiency can lead to neurological problems such as depression and hallucinations.
People with vitamin B9 deficiency have problems. Such as general weakness, mouth sores, heart palpitations, irritability and headaches. These symptoms may also be accompanied by changes in the hair, nails and skin.
Common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are depression, lack of appetite, fatigue, memory problems, numbness in hands and feet, and constipation.
How should vitamin B deficiency be prevented?
First, eat a balanced diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Leafy green vegetables are particularly rich in B vitamins. If you don’t eat meat or poultry, be sure to include other sources of vitamin B12 in your diet or take a supplement.
You should also consider taking a daily multivitamin supplement to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need. Finally, try to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Stress can cause your body to deplete its stores of B vitamins more quickly.