Vitamin B12 is used by the body to make red blood cells, according to the NHS. It’s also used to produce DNA, and to keep the nervous system healthy, it said. You could have a vitamin B12 deficiency if you’re constantly having headaches, lose your appetite, or if you’re always feeling tired. You may also be at risk of the condition if your skin suddenly turns a yellowish colour, it’s been revealed.
Pale, or yellow-coloured skin could be a warning sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency, according to medical website Medical News Today.
The condition, which is also known as jaundice, is caused by the body not producing enough red blood cells.
Jaundice could also be a sign of something more serious, including liver disease, so it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor straight away.
“Many of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency arise because it causes a lack of healthy blood cells.
“The body needs plenty of these cells to get oxygen around the body and keep the organs in good health.
“A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to both physical and psychological problems.
“Pale or yellow skin, called jaundice, may be a symptom of vitamin B-12 deficiency. Jaundice develops when a person’s body is not able to produce enough red blood cells.
“Red blood cells circulating under the skin provide it with its normal colour. Without enough of these cells, the skin may look pale.”
Jaundice could also cause the whites of the eyes to appear more yellow, and may even lead to darker urine and paler poo, said the NHS.
Other causes of jaundice include pancreatitis, hepatitis, sickle cell disease, and gallstones.
You should call NHS 111 straight away if your skin and whites the eyes appear yellow. It could also be accompanied by itchy skin, it said.
Other, more common warning signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include tiredness, feeling dizzy, and irritability.
You should speak to a doctor if you’re worried about vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
But you can top up on the vitamin by eating certain foods. The best sources of vitamin B12 include beef, liver, dairy foods, eggs, and salmon.
A vitamin B12 deficiency could be caused by pernicious anaemia – a condition that’s caused by the body’s immune system attacking healthy stomach cells.
Diagnosing the condition early is crucial, as it can lead to heart conditions and temporary infertility on rare occasions.