Vitamin B12 is needed to produce DNA. The nutrient is naturally found in a wide variety of animal foods and is added to some fortified foods so not getting enough of it in your diet is one of the primary causes of a B12 deficiency. A person could have a vitamin B12 deficiency if they’re constantly having headaches, loss of appetite or always feeling tired. There is another warning sign of a deficiency which lies in a person’s tongue.
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The body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, nerves, DNA and to carry out other functions in the body.
Some people do not consume enough of this important vitamin, no matter how much they take in.
As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common, especially among older people.
The tongue can hold many clues to one’s health. Stanford Medicine said: “The most common cause of a B12 deficiency is a smooth tongue.
“Nutritional deficiencies include iron, folate and vitamin B12 deficiency.
“B12 deficiency will also make the tongue sore and beefy-red in colour.
“Glossitis, by causing swelling of the tongue, may also cause the tongue to appear smooth.”
Glossitis is a term used to describe an inflamed tongue.
If you have glossitis, your tongue changes colour and shape, making it painful, red and swollen.
The inflammation can also make the tongue look smooth, as all the tiny bumps on the tongue that contain your taste buds stretch out and disappear.
As well as being painful, glossitis can change the way a person eats and speaks.
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Studies have shown that a swollen and inflamed tongue that has long straight lesions on it could be an early sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Additionally, some people with a B12 deficiency may experience other oral symptoms such as mouth ulcers, feelings of pins and needles in the tongue or a burning and itching sensation in the mouth.
An early sign of a B12 deficiency may be a red and swollen tongue.
Other symptoms of a B12 deficiency include breathlessness, disturbed vision, mood changes, a high temperature, pale skin, weakness and experiencing a sensation of pins and needles.
The NHS said: “See a GP if you think you may have a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency.
“These conditions can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of a blood test.
“It’s important for vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
“This is because although many of the symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the condition can be irreversible.
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