What are vitamin B deficiency symptoms? Vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy metabolism, so if we eat a poor diet or are otherwise lacking in essential nutrients, it is not long before we begin to suffer from the physical repercussions. The B group of vitamins are all water soluble and help to maintain healthy hair and skin, promote cell growth, and keep our immune system in good condition.
Vitamin B is made up of a complex group of individual B vitamins, each of which plays a separate but vital role in the human body. Years ago, B vitamins were thought to be one vitamin, but scientists now recognise that each individual B vitamin is chemically separate, although they often co-exist in the same foods.
What are the vitamin B deficiency symptoms?
A vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency leads to beriberi, a disease of the nervous system that causes severe fatigue, plus a host of other serious complications. Thankfully, beriberi is very rare in developed countries. However, other symptoms of thiamine deficiency include emotional disturbances such as depression, and in patients with serious alcohol dependency, a vitamin B1 deficiency can cause irreversible dementia.
A vitamin B2 (riboflavin) deficiency leads to cracked and red lips, mouth ulcers, inflammation inside the mouth and on the tongue, dry and scaly skin, and the symptoms of anaemia.
A vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency can cause a number of unpleasant side effects, including high cholesterol levels, dermatitis and skin lesions, and in the worst of cases, a condition known as Pellagra that causes fatigue, mental confusion, dementia, and eventually death.
A vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) deficiency can cause skin blemishes and acne, lack of energy and fatigue, feelings of stress and anxiety, and parasthesia, a condition that causes “pins and needles” or numbness on the skin for no apparent reason.
A vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) deficiency will cause depression, skin inflammation, a sore tongue, and if left untreated, cognitive decline and convulsions. It can also lead to anaemia.
A vitamin B9 (folic acid) deficiency causes all kinds of health problems, in particular megatoblastic anaemia. This type of anaemia affects red blood cells and causes a lack of energy, pale skin tone, dizziness and fainting spells. In the long term, a folate deficiency can also lead to stress related disorders and an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
A vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency causes pernicious anaemia, which can lead to the symptoms of dementia and psychosis.
Vitamin B deficiency symptoms in women
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) is extremely important for pregnant women, which is why women are always encouraged to take a vitamin supplement during pregnancy. Folic acid deficiencies can cause neurological birth defects in the unborn foetus, including spina bifida and anencephaly. Pregnant women lacking in vitamin B9 are also more susceptible to going into labour early.
Vitamin B deficiency symptoms in children
A deficiency of vitamin B2 in children due to poor nutrition will cause a failure to thrive and reduced growth. A lack of vitamin B7 (biotin) will not cause any problems in adults, but the effects are severe in babies—a vitamin B7 deficiency leads to a failure to grow and serious neurological disorders. A vitamin B9 deficiency in infancy can lead to stunted growth, impaired neurological development, and an increased risk of childhood leukaemia.