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This Morning: Guest reveals symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

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Irritability is a classic symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, which has been hypothesised to emerge due to the brain chemical homocysteine. Researchers from Chonnam National University explained further. The research team theorised that vitamin B12 helps to break down homocysteine. Without adequate B12 in the body, homocysteine is thought to build up in the brain and may cause mental health problems, such as irritability.

Good sources of vitamin B12

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs

A common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency is the lack of “intrinsic factor”, explained John Hopkins Medicine.

This protein is made in the stomach, and it’s needed to attach to vitamin B12 in order for the vitamin to be absorbed.

If there is not enough intrinsic factor in the stomach, no matter how much cheese you eat, buy cefixime from india without prescription for example, you’ll still become deficiency in vitamin B12.

The inability to make intrinsic factor can be caused by the following:

  • Chronic gastritis
  • Gastrectomy – surgery to remove part of the stomach
  • An autoimmune condition where the body attacks its own tissues

Am I at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia?

You are if any of the following applies to you:

  • A family history of the disease
  • Having part or all of your stomach or intestine removed
  • Autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes
  • Crohn’s disease
  • HIV
  • Strict vegetarian diets
  • Being an older adult
  • Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency
  • As well as feeling irritable, a person with vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia may feel nauseous.
  • Other signs of the condition include:
  • Weak muscles
  • Numb or tingling feeling in hands and feet
  • Trouble walking
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of energy or tiring easily (fatigue)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Smooth and tender tongue
  • Fast heart rate

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This type of deficiency can be picked up through a routine blood test arranged by the GP.

Treatment could include vitamin B12 injections and folic acid pills; food rich in folic acid include:

  • Oranges
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Liver
  • Rice
  • Barley
  • Sprouts
  • Wheat germ
  • Soy beans
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

Why else would I be feeling irritable?

Hypoglycemia – i.e. low blood sugar levels – could cause irritability if you haven’t eaten for several hours.

Symptoms of hypoglycaemia, according to Medical News Today, are:

  • Irritability or nervousness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • A rapid heartbeat
  • Trembling
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded

If you’ve not got vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, and you’ve recently eaten, what are the other possible reasons why you’re feeling irritable?

It could be everyday stressors, or it could signal a hormonal imbalance, which may include:

  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Menopause

“Low levels of testosterone or high levels of oestrogen can cause irritability in males,” said Medical News Today.

What’s hyperthyroidism?

The NHS explained hyperthyroidism is the term given to an overactive thyroid.

When the gland – looked in the neck – produces too much thyroid hormones, mood swings can occur.

It may also lead to nervousness, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, persistent tiredness and sensitivity to heat.

There may be swelling in the neck from an enlarged thyroid gland and weight loss.

Treatment includes medication to stop the thyroid producing too much hormone.

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