Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin. This means that the body requires vitamin B12 to work properly. Vitamin B12 can be found in foods such as meat, fish, and dairy products. It can also be made in a laboratory. It is often taken in combination with other B vitamins.
Vitamin B12 is required for the proper function and development of the brain, nerves, blood cells, and many other parts of the body.
Vitamin B12 is injected into the body for pernicious anemia, to prevent and treat vitamin B12 deficiency, and to prevent and treat a nervous system disorder called myelopathy, which can occur in people who are vitamin B12 deficient. It is also used for tremors, to treat Imerslund- Grasbeck disease, cyanide poisoning, nerve damage caused by shingles, diabetic nerve damage, tiredness or fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome, hepatitis C, a condition in which the body products too much thyroid hormone, bleeding, cancer, psoriasis, and liver and kidney disease. It is also injected in the body to prevent arteries from re-clogging after surgery.
Common symptoms associated with B12 deficiency include:
- Feeling weak, tired or lightheaded
- Memory loss and / or disorientation
- Having pale skin, or white spots on the skin, resulting from melatonin becoming absent in the area
- A sore, red or itchy tongue. Some may experience sores at the corners of the mouth.
- Numbness or tingling in fingers and / or toes
- Sharp stabbing pain in the palm of one or both hands
- Eye twitch, usually in one eye or the other. It can occur on the eyelid or just below.
How is Vitamin B12 Deficiency Treated?
Treatment is usually shots of vitamin B12 in your arm or another muscle. Typically, injections once a month will reduce mild symptoms of deficiency within a few days.