Small white spots on the skin can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency.
The white spots often appear on the outside of the forearm, but can be anywhere.
Around one-in-four people may have a vitamin B12 deficiency, according to a recent study.
The body uses vitamin B12 to make red blood cells and to keep the nervous system healthy.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to low levels of melatonin, which contributes to the white spots on the skin.
Other, more common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include feeling tired, experiencing muscle weakness and being constipated.
Vitamin B12 levels can be boosted through supplementation or by eating foods such as dairy, liver, salmon and eggs.
The study examined blood samples from 1,079 older adults in Germany.
The results showed that 27 percent were deficient in vitamin B12.
Along with this, over half were vitamin D deficient.
Ms Romy Conzade, the study’s first author, said:
“The results are very clear.
Fifty-two percent of the examined older adults had vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L and thus had a suboptimal vitamin D status.”
Dr. Barbara Thorand, study co-author, said:
“Our study also shows that regular intake of vitamin-containing supplements goes along with improved levels of the respective vitamins.
However, vitamin-containing supplements are not a universal remedy, and particularly older people should watch out for maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Nutrients (Conzade et al., 2017).