Are you experiencing unexplained mood changes? Do you feel irritable and depressed? Symptoms like these often indicate a mental health condition or a hormonal imbalance, which doctors diagnose and treat as such.
However, nutritional deficiencies may also be a factor in your mental health symptoms, especially if you are already living with an autoimmune disease or another chronic inflammatory condition.
B vitamin deficiency can affect anyone, but those who are more susceptible include individuals with:
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Common Symptoms of Vitamin B Deficiency
B vitamins include B6, B9, and B12, and each deficiency can cause varying symptoms.
However, the most common symptoms of a deficiency in any of these vitamins include:
- Brain fog
- Unexplained weight loss
- Numbness or tingling in extremities
- Mood swings
Do these symptoms sound familiar to you? If so, keep reading, and we’ll break down the function of each individual B vitamin and the symptoms associated with too little (or too much) of these nutrients.
”“Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have subnormal vitamin B6 status, both quantitatively and functionally. Impaired vitamin B6 status could be a result of inflammation, and these patients may have higher demand for vitamin B6.”
Vitamin B6 is responsible for helping you form red blood cells (which carry oxygen throughout your body) and keeping infections at bay. If you’re deficient in this nutrient, you may experience frequent infections, neurological abnormalities, unexplained rashes, and mood changes.
It’s also important to note that you can actually overdose on vitamin B6. According to the Mayo Clinic, an excess of vitamin B6 in the body can cause ataxia, skin lesions, heartburn, nausea, photosensitivity, numbness, and a reduced ability to sense pain or extreme temperatures.
This is why, if you suspect a deficiency in B vitamins is causing your symptoms, it is vitally important to get your levels checked before supplementing on your own!
Vitamin B9 (folate) is essential for a healthy immune system, nervous system, and digestive system. It is also responsible for energy production, the formation of red blood cells, DNA and RNA synthesis, and proper cell division.
Symptoms of a deficiency in this vitamin include heart palpitations, fatigue, shortness of breath, weakness, and difficulty with concentration.
Left untreated, vitamin B9 deficiency can lead to a serious condition called megaloblastic anemia, which prevents your red blood cells from fully developing, preventing your body from transporting enough oxygen throughout your system.
Vitamin B12 is essential to the creation of red blood cells, nerves, and DNA. Those who have had weight-loss surgery or follow a vegetarian diet are at an increased risk for developing a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include balance problems, staggering, numbness and/or tingling in the extremities, weakness, fatigue, difficulty with thinking and reasoning, anemia, and a swollen, inflamed tongue.
Now You Can Test Your B Vitamin Levels at Home
If you believe your symptoms could be related to a vitamin B deficiency, it’s important to have your blood levels checked so you and your doctor can design a nutrition or supplement program specifically for you.
However, if your doctor doesn’t take your request for such a test seriously, if you lack health insurance, or if you have difficulty leaving your home due to mental or physical illness, you may enjoy the convenience of testing your vitamin B levels at home.
With EverlyWell, everything you need comes in one easy-to-use kit with free shipping both ways. (They also accept HSA and FSA accounts, so you might not have to pay a penny out-of-pocket!)
Here’s how it works:
- Once you order, the test materials are delivered to your doorstep.
- Enter the barcode included with your kit at EverlyWell.com.
- Complete a simple finger prick collection and return with prepaid shipping.
- An independent board-certified physician will review your results.
- Once verified, you’ll receive your results on their secure platform within days.
Once you receive your results, you should share them with your current doctor (or a new one if your doctor isn’t taking you seriously).
The good news is, if your mood changes and other symptoms are caused by a deficiency in B vitamins, it’s a pretty easy fix, and proper dietary changes and supplements can have you feeling better in no time!