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What is vitamin B deficiency?

Vitamin B (B complex) is a group of vitamins that include the following:

  • B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6 (pyridoxine)
  • B7 (biotin)
  • B9 (folic acid)
  • B12 (cobalamine)

These all are crucial for cell functioning, brain functioning and cellular metabolism. Deficiency of vitamin B complex can lead to complex disorders.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Symptoms of vitamin B deficiency widely vary due to deficiency of several components. Yet, there are certain general symptoms of B complex deficiency, which include:

What are the main causes?

Vitamin B deficiency can be caused due to poor intake food articles that are rich in vitamin B complex, which is referred to as a primary deficiency. Certain diseases like celiac disease, chronic diarrhoea, pancreatic insufficiency, liver cirrhosis, giardiasis, ascariasis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, etc. can lead to vitamin B complex deficiency.

How are they diagnosed and treated?

A thorough medical examination along with clinical history helps in determining the diagnosis. Along with that, a therapeutic trail (of giving vitamin B complex supplement for symptoms) can help in establishing the diagnosis of vitamin B deficiency. Apart from these certain blood investigations like serum vitamin B1, B2, B6, B9, B12 levels, homocysteine levels along with other routine blood investigations like complete blood count (CBC) can help in confirming the diagnosis of vitamin B deficiency.

Treatment of vitamin B deficiency lies in fulfilling the demands of vitamin B levels either by increasing the diet that is rich in vitamin B complex or by taking oral or injectable supplements of vitamin B complex.

  • Food for Vitamin B – eggs, fish, liver etc. are non-vegetarian sources of vitamin B; while milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables (like spinach, fenugreek, kale etc.), fruits (like oranges, banana, watermelon, strawberries etc.), beans, nuts, beet and avocados are vegetarian sources.
  • Supplements: Oral or injectable vitamin B complex supplements can help in correcting the deficiency.
  1. Medicines for Vitamin B Deficiency
  2. Doctors for Vitamin B Deficiency
Dr. Tanmay Bharani

Dr. Tanmay Bharani

Endocrinology
15 Years of Experience

Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra

Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra

Endocrinology
23 Years of Experience

Dr. Parjeet Kaur

Dr. Parjeet Kaur

Endocrinology
19 Years of Experience

Dr. M Shafi Kuchay

Dr. M Shafi Kuchay

Endocrinology
13 Years of Experience

References

  1. healthdirect Australia. B12 deficiencies. Australian government: Department of Health
  2. National Institutes of Health; Office of Dietary Supplements. [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; Vitamin B12.
  3. Fiona O’Leary, Samir Samman. Vitamin B12 in Health and Disease . Nutrients. 2010 Mar; 2(3): 299–316. PMID: 22254022
  4. National Health Portal [Internet] India; Vitamin B12 Deficiency
  5. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Vitamin B

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