B12 is a necessary vitamin, such that when the body lacks thereof, it could suffer from a number of health issues. A deficiency from vitamin B12 can be treated except if the cause is internal, wherein the body couldn’t absorb the vitamin. However, if it is caused by not eating the right kinds of food that contain vitamin B12, you could still treat it. Experiencing shortness of breath could indicate you levels are too low.
According to a case report from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital published in The New England Journal of Medicine, a 62-year-old man who lacked vitamin B12 became progressively short of breath.
Breathlessness can arise when the body lacks red blood cells, as it needs these to get enough oxygen to the body’s cells.
Thyroid Patient Advocacy explains shortness of breath can occur without chest pain and adds it can occur when walking just a few yards.
If a person becomes anaemic due to a B12 deficiency, they may also feel short of breath and a bit dizzy, especially if exercising.
This is because your body lacks the red blood cells it needs to get enough oxygen to your body’s cells.
However, these symptoms can have many causes, so if you notice that you are unusually breathless, you should speak to your doctor to investigate the cause.
Another symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency linked to a person’s cardiovascular system is heart palpitations.
Heart palpitations are heartbeats that suddenly become more noticeable, according to the NHS.
It explains: “Your heart may feel like it’s pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly, often for just a few seconds or minutes. You may also feel these sensations in your throat or neck.”
While heart palpitations may appear alarming, in most cases they’re harmless.
But if you do experience shortness of breath of heart palpitations it’s important to see your GP.
One of the ways to treat vitamin B12 deficiency is to go for vitamin B12 supplementation.
There are instances when you may need to get injections upon the recommendation of your doctor.
You may also treat the deficiency by eating foods that are rich in vitamin B12.
Some of these foods include milk, fish, poultry, and eggs.
By increasing your food intake of these vitamin B12-rich foods, you would be able to provide your body with the right amount of vitamin B12 it needs.
Am I at risk?
There are two primary causes of B12 deficiency – pernicious anaemia and strictly following certain diets.
Pernicious anaemia is an autoimmune disease that prevents the body from making intrinsic factor – a protein made by the stomach and needed to absorb vitamin B12 in the intestine.
According to the NHS, pernicious anaemia is the leading cause of B12 deficiency in the UK.
Adhering strictly to a vegan or vegetarian diet can also raise your risk of becoming deficient in B12.