This deficiency can show up in your mouth and eyes

If you pay close enough attention, your body will let you know when something’s amiss. Case in point: symptoms of a vitamin deficiency. Vitamin B12 is vital for many functions throughout your body. It produces adrenal hormones, metabolizes folate, fat and carbohydrates, forms red blood cells, aids in iron absorption, helps ensure proper circulation, promotes reproductive health and supports nervous system function, among other things. Clearly, B12 is important. Yet people aren’t getting enough.

According to the USDA, nearly 40% of Americans have marginal B12 status and 9% are deficient. Vitamin B12 insufficiency and deficiency increase your risk of serious health problems, many of which mimic more serious neurological diseases and can easily lead to misdiagnosis and improper treatment.

Some people have a greater risk than others for vitamin or mineral deficiencies, but in this case vegans and vegetarians are at particular risk because B12 is derived from animal products. Additionally, older adults and people with gastrointestinal and malabsorption issues are also at risk.

A B12 deficiency can cause a variety of symptoms, and some of them can show up in your mouth and/or in your eyes. Signs of a B12 deficiency to look for in your mouth include: a red, swollen, “beefy” tongue with fewer papillae bumps containing taste bloods, and mouth sores or ulcers. Signs of a B12 deficiency to look for in your eyes include: blurry or double vision, or shadows in your field of vision, caused by optic nerve damage.

Other symptoms of a B12 deficiency include: a numb, tingly, “pins and needles” sensation in your hands, legs or feet, jaundice, dizziness and memory loss.

Animal products — whether dairy, poultry or meat — are excellent sources of vitamin B12. If you suspect you're not getting enough B12, here are some foods you should consider adding to your diet (make sure that you're getting these from high-quality sources to keep yourself safe from chemicals and other harmful materials used in conventional farms):

  • Sardines
  • Grass fed beef
  • Pasture-raised organic eggs
  • Mussels

By Dr Joseph Mercola / Physician and author

Dr. Joseph Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO), he treated thousands of patients for over 20 years.

Dr. Mercola finished his family practice residency in 1985. Because he was trained under the conventional medical model, he treated patients using prescription drugs during his first years of private practice and was actually a paid speaker for drug companies.

But as he began to experience the failures of the conventional model in his practice, he embraced natural medicine and found great success with time-tested holistic approaches. He founded The Natural Health Center (formerly The Optimal Wellness Center), which became well-known for its whole-body approach to medicine.

In 1997, Dr. Mercola integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the Internet. He founded the website to share his own health experiences and spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health. is now the world’s most visited natural health website, averaging 14 million visitors monthly and with over one million subscribers.

Dr. Mercola aims to ignite a transformation of the fatally flawed health care system in the United States, and to inspire people to take control of their health. He has made significant milestones in his mission to bring safe and practical solutions to people’s health problems.

Dr. Mercola authored two New York Times Bestsellers, The Great Bird Flu Hoax and The No-Grain Diet. He was also voted the 2009 Ultimate Wellness Game Changer by the Huffington Post, and has been featured in TIME magazine, LA Times, CNN, Fox News, ABC News with Peter Jennings, Today Show, CBS’s Washington Unplugged with Sharyl Attkisson, and other major media resources.

Stay connected with Dr. Mercola by following him on Twitter. You can also check out his Facebook page for more timely natural health updates.

(Source:; January 22, 2020;
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