Vitamin B Deficiency--Signs and Symptoms

Malabsorption of B vitamins is common in those with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. You may find vitamin b deficiency symptoms in cracked lips, headaches, flaky skin, indigestion, low energy, low stamina, nervousness, weakness, panic attacks, weak muscles, and tired eyes. While it is hard to imagine that people living in the abundance of the United States or other western countries could have third world diseases like pellagra, beriberi, rickets or scurvy, it is actually not uncommon among those with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. The problem is not availability of food, it is malabsorption of food.

The B vitamins are a complex of organic compounds that act as co-enzymes. That is, they assist enzymes in performing their functions. These are essential vitamins that need to be consumed and absorbed daily. Because they are water soluble, the body will excrete any excess of most of them through the kidneys.

If you aren't digesting well, then it is a good idea to take a complete multivitamin that contains the entire B complex every day. Rather than a tablet, use a vitamin in the form of a capsule or gelcap as it is much easier to digest. Liquid vitamins are also available. Make sure that they are gluten free. I take the gluten free vitamins on this page, myself.

Symptoms of Vitamin B Deficiency

B1-Thiamine. Serious Thiamine deficiency will result in beriberi, a nervous system disease that causes severe fatigue, emotional disturbances, nervousness,irritablility, swelling of body tissues (edema), confusion, poor coordination,and weak muscles.

B2-Riboflavin. Deficiency results in blurred vision, cracks at corners of mouth, cracked lips, depression, hair loss, seborrheic dermatitis, inflamed tongue, and light sensitivity.

B3-Niacin. A lack of niacin causes pellagra.(if also tryptophan deficient). Pellagra causes redness and swelling of the mouth and tongue, a skin rash, which over time will cause skin to thicken and slough off, diarrhea, memory loss, and hallucinations. A less serious deficiency will result in canker sores, bad breath, confusion, memory impairment, diarrhea, skin rash, and emotional instability.

B5-Pantothenic Acid. A deficiency of pantothenic acid can result in acne, numbness, burning feet, abdominal pains, hair loss, eczema, low blood pressure, muscle spasms, insomnia and immune impairment.

B6-Pyroxidine. Lack of pyroxidine can lead to anemia, high blood pressure, eye inflammation, depression, water retention, dermatitis, mouth lesions, hair loss.

B7-Biotin. In infants, impaired growth and neurological disorders; in adults, eye inflammation, muscle weakness, and insomnia.

B9-Folic Acid. Deficiency causes macrocytic anemia, apathy, fatigue, diarrhea, headaches, shortness of breath. In pregnant women a deficiency can cause birth defects in the baby like neural tube defects. (spina bifida).

B12-Cobalamin. A lack of Cobalamin causes macrocytic anemia, peripheral neuropathy (numbness or tingling of hands and feet), depression, constipation, elevated homocystine, gait disturbances, memory loss, dizziness, intestinal disturbances, sore tongue, fatigue,low stomach acid, mouth lesions, and irritability.

DNA synthesis, fatty acid synthesis, and energy production are affected by a lack of B12. It can also lead to demylenization of nerves and spinal cord which may be irreversible. It may be implicated in the development of Alzheimer's and Cancer. It can be the cause of gait ataxia.

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