A Warning Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Around one-in-four people may have a vitamin B12 deficiency, according to research.

Around one-in-four people may have a vitamin B12 deficiency, according to research.

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.”

The study was published in the journal Nutrients (Conzade et al., 2017).

An Alarming Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

B12 deficiency early in life can lead to these cognitive problems.

B12 deficiency early in life can lead to these cognitive problems.

Difficulties with memory and thinking skills can be signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, research finds.

People with a deficiency in this vitamin can find it hard to recall memories or to concentrate.

A study finds that low levels of vitamin B12 in infancy would result in poor development and performance on visuospatial skills and social perception tasks later on.

Social perception and visuospatial abilities are part of cognitive functioning, like understanding information and responding to them, or making judgments about social rules.

In this study, children low in vitamin B12 at 5 years of age scored poorly in cognitive tests such as recognising other children’s feelings and solving puzzles.

Dr Ingrid Kvestad, the study’s first author, said:

“Our results clearly demonstrate associations between early vitamin B12 status and various measures on development and cognitive functioning, as for example the ability to interpret complex geometrical figures, and the ability to recognize other children`s emotions.”

Their findings suggest that vitamin B12 deficiency causes harm or delays the development of children’s brains.

Previous studies have found that vitamin B12 is important for the developing brain, learning, problem solving skills, and memory.

Dr Kvestad said:

“The number of children in low-income countries that do not develop according to their potential is large.

Our results indicate that correcting children`s vitamin B12 status early may be one measure to secure a healthy development for these vulnerable children.

We are currently in the process of confirming our results in randomized controlled trials.”

Red meat is a good source of vitamin B12, but in South Asia and countries with low incomes, animal products are limited, thus low B12 status is often seen in those population.

For this study, 500 infants in Nepal underwent a blood test to estimate their vitamin B12 levels.

Then five years later, these children underwent several cognitive development tests.

Dr Kvestad said:

“Most of the Nepalese children participating in the study did not have severely low levels of vitamin B12, but their levels were suboptimal, below the recommendations for best possible growth and development.

It’s like a hidden deficiency of the vitamin in these children’s bodies, making their cells work rigorously to signalize imminent danger.

Our study is one contribution in the big puzzle to understand the implications low B12 levels might have on small children’s cognitive development.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Kvestad et al., 2021).

Cognitive Decline Can Be A Sign Of This Vitamin Deficiency

Up to one-in-eight people may have this vitamin deficiency.

Up to one-in-eight people may have this vitamin deficiency.

Thinking and memory problems can be signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, research finds.

Deficiency in the vitamin has been linked to brain shrinkage with age and even dementia.

Vitamin B12 is crucial to the production of red blood cells and the healthy functioning of brain cells.

Its effect on cognitive decline is likely down to its involvement in in the production of myelin.

Myelin is a material that surrounds neurons (brain cells) and also the connections between them, known as axons.

Fortunately, vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to correct either with supplementation or a change in diet.

Foods high in vitamin B12 include dairy, beef, salmon, eggs and low-fat milk.

Fortified breakfast cereals also contain vitamin B12.

Reviewing the methods of detecting levels of B12 in the body, Dr Georgios Tsiminis and colleagues write:

“Increased levels of vitamin B12 have been shown to reduce the likelihood of older adults transitioning from mild cognitive impairment to dementia and in at least one case may help reverse the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia, as previously shown in a B12 recovery treatment program.

The growing number of studies indicating the significance of the relationship between vitamin B12 and cognitive health cannot be ignored.”

People who may have difficulty getting enough vitamin B12 include vegetarians, older people and those with some digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease.

Dr Georgios Tsiminis, the study’s first author, said:

“Vitamin B12 deficiency has been shown to be a potential modifiable risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and is associated with cognitive decline.

Older adults are particularly at risk of B12 deficiency due to age-related reduction in absorbing vitamin B12 received through their diet.

The study was published in the journal Applied Spectroscopy Reviews (Tsiminis et al., 2019).

The Vitamin Linked To Higher IQ

Deficiency in this vitamin is very common.

Deficiency in this vitamin is very common.

Higher vitamin D levels during pregnancy are linked to higher IQ among children, research finds.

Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is common in the general population and especially among Black people.

Around 80 percent of Black pregnant women may be deficient in vitamin D.

Ms Melissa Melough, the study’s first author, explains:

“Melanin pigment protects the skin against sun damage, but by blocking UV rays, melanin also reduces vitamin D production in the skin.

Because of this, we weren’t surprised to see high rates of vitamin D deficiency among Black pregnant women in our study.

Even though many pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin, this may not correct an existing vitamin D deficiency.

I hope our work brings greater awareness to this problem, shows the long-lasting implications of prenatal vitamin D for the child and their neurocognitive development, and highlights that there are certain groups providers should be paying closer attention to.

Widespread testing of vitamin D levels is not generally recommended, but I think health care providers should be looking out for those who are at higher risk, including Black women.”

The study included over 1,500 women and their children, who were tracked over five years.

The results showed that children had higher IQs at 4-6 years old when their mothers had higher vitamin D levels during pregnancy.

Ms Melough said:

“Vitamin D deficiency is quite prevalent.

The good news is there is a relatively easy solution. It can be difficult to get adequate vitamin D through diet, and not everyone can make up for this gap through sun exposure, so a good solution is to take a supplement.”

The recommended daily intake for vitamin D is 600 IU.

The average intake in the US is just 200 IU, with the remainder required from exposure to the sun.

Unfortunately, most people do not get enough exposure to the sun, especially in the winter months.

Foods that contain high levels of vitamin D include cow’s milk, breakfast cereals, fatty fish and eggs.

Ms Melough said:

“I want people to know that it’s a common problem and can affect children’s development.

Vitamin D deficiency can occur even if you eat a healthy diet.

Sometimes it’s related to our lifestyles, skin pigmentation or other factors outside of our control.”

The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition (Melough et al., 2020).

Vitamin D Deficiency: How To Tell If You Have It

Up to 50 percent of the population of the world is deficient in vitamin D.

Up to 50 percent of the population of the world is deficient in vitamin D.

Weak muscles can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency, research finds.

Older people with weak muscles are twice as likely to have a vitamin D deficiency.

Skeletal muscles which are connected to bones, give us the ability to move, balance, and perform physical activities.

Keeping skeletal muscles healthy is important for successful ageing because better mobility and reduced weakness will improve quality of life.

The signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can vary, but some common ones include:

  1. Fatigue and tiredness
  2. Bone pain and muscle weakness
  3. Depression
  4. Impaired wound healing
  5. Hair loss
  6. Bone deformities
  7. Frequent infections or illnesses
  8. Slow wound healing
  9. Soft or brittle bones

Many of these symptoms can also be caused by other factors and some people may not experience any symptoms at all.

Vitamin D and muscle strength

Adequate levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D appear to be as important as resistance training, such as weight exercises, in maintaining muscle function.

To determine the relation between poor muscle function and vitamin D, the study analysed data from 4,157 people who were 60 years and older.

They were given some physical performance tests, including the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) and hand grip strength to measure participants muscle strength and physical function.

Their serum 25(OH)D concentration was also measured for vitamin D status.

Vitamin D deficiency was defined as a serum level below 30 nmol/L, the cut-off point which is used for bone disease.

They found that muscle weakness in people with vitamin D deficiency was double the rate than those with adequate levels of vitamin D.

Also, poor physical performance and low muscle strength was three times higher in participants with vitamin D deficiency.

Dr Maria O’Sullivan, the study’s co-author, said:

“Our results show that vitamin D deficiency increased the likelihood of poor muscle function in older adults and confirms the protective effect of physical activity.

Maintaining muscle function is incredibly important, and often overlooked, in promoting healthy ageing.

Addressing this through multimodal approaches that incorporate physical activity, reversing vitamin D deficiency and other modifiable diet and lifestyle components require further investigation.”

50% are vitamin D deficient

According to experts, up to 50 percent of the population of the world is deficient in vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to poor immune function, sleep quantity and quality, low mood, muscle fatigue, difficulties with learning and memory, gut problems, and headaches.

Another study reveals that people with low levels of vitamin D are likely to wake more during the night and to have less sleep overall.

Dr Eamon Laird, the study’s co-author, said:

“Vitamin D deficiency and physical activity are modifiable factors.

Some countries, for example Finland, have successful implemented a vitamin D food fortification policy which has all but eliminated deficiency in the population.

Such a policy could similarly be implemented in the UK and Ireland for older populations.”

The study was published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging (Aspell et al., 2019).

A Common Mineral Deficiency Linked To Mental Health Issues (M)

One-quarter of the world’s population has this mineral deficiency that is linked to anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

One-quarter of the world’s population has this mineral deficiency that is linked to anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

An iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency and it can impact mental health, research finds.

Low iron levels can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

Many people with depression, for example, have a history of anaemia.

Higher rates of anxiety disorders, sleep disorders and psychotic disorders are linked to an iron deficiency.

It has been linked to mental health problems in both young and old.

An iron deficiency is frequently linked to symptoms of fatigue — which often combines with depression.

Dr Stephanie Weinberg Levin, the study’s first author, said:

“We don’t always go looking for nutrient deficiencies, but they can really take a large toll on well-being.

Iron is the most common nutrient deficiency and can have a big impact.

You can be iron-deficient without having anemia, but many mental health care providers aren’t aware that iron deficiency by itself has been linked to worse symptoms, or that supplementation has been linked to improved symptoms.

But there is evidence there.”

Mild iron deficiency

The researchers examined multiple studies on the connection between iron deficiency and mental health.

Many have found that iron supplementation appear to improve the symptoms of those with and without mental health diagnoses.

Supplementation can even help with relatively mild iron deficiency.

The usual benchmark for iron deficiency is 30 ng/mol.

However, one study found that supplementation for those with levels below 100 ng/mol was beneficial for negative mood and fatigue (Mikami et al., 2022).

Which type of supplement?

Iron deficiency should be treated by supplementation, since the typical diet cannot provide enough, the study’s authors write.

Most types of iron supplementation will work, however, the disadvantages of supplementation are that 70 percent of people experience side-effects.

These can include a metallic taste in the mouth, vomiting, nausea and constipation/diarrhoea.

So, the key is to find the type that has the lowest side-effects.

Ferrous sulfate is the cheapest, but other forms, such as ferrous iron protein succinylate and ferrous bisglycinate may have fewer gastrointestinal side-effects (but they are more expensive).

How much iron?

As for the amount, there is no clear guidance, but the study’s authors suggest:

“The maximum amount of oral iron that can be absorbed is approximately 25 mg/d of elemental iron.

A 325 mg ferrous sulfate tablet contains 65 mg of elemental iron, of which approximately 25 mg is absorbed and utilized.”

Supplements should be taken for 6 to 8 weeks and it may take 6 months for the body’s iron stores to be replenished.

Dr Levin concluded:

“Iron supplements are inexpensive and can really make a significant impact in someone’s mental health if they’re deficient.”

Note that a physician should be consulted: people with inflammatory bowel conditions, chronic kidney disease or the pregnant should not take iron supplements orally.

The study was published in the journal Current Psychiatry (Levin & Gattari, 2023).

A Throbbing Sign Of A Vitamin D Deficiency

Diseases linked to vitamin D deficiency include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Diseases linked to vitamin D deficiency include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Throbbing pains in the back or knees could be signs of vitamin D deficiency.

The pain can feel like a penetrating ache sensed deep in the body.

Aching bones are linked to vitamin D deficiency because it is vital to bone health.

The substance is required to help regulate the levels of calcium and phosphate in the body.

A 10 mcg supplement is typically enough during the winter months to supplement dietary intake.

Vitamin D deficiency can be detrimental to overall health as well.

Deficiency in this vitamin has also been linked to multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Other possible signs of vitamin D deficiency include depression, feeling sleepy and a lack of energy.

Some studies estimate that up to 70 percent of people could have a vitamin D deficiency.

Much of the body’s vitamin D is produced in response to sunlight on the skin.

That is why levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in northern latitudes.

Getting outside for a 20-minute walk a few times a week can be enough for the body to produce the required amounts of vitamin D.

Some of the best dietary sources of vitamin D are eggs, oily fish and mushrooms.

One study of postmenopausal women found very high levels of vitamin D deficiency.

The study’s authors recommend that:

“A healthy lifestyle should include exposure to the sun for 15 minutes three to four times per week when the weather permits since 90% of vitamin D is synthesized upon the skin having contact with sunlight.”

Many health problems could be linked to vitamin D deficiency, said Dr Faustino Pérez-López, the study’s first author:

“We believe that many diseases can be aggravated by a chronic deficiency of vitamin D.

Healthcare professionals should be aware that this is a common problem which affects a large part of the population in Europe, even those who live in sunny places.”

Vitamin D supports the mineral density of bones and aids neuromuscular function as well as reducing the risk of fracture.

Other disease linked to vitamin D deficiency include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

The study was published in the journal Maturitas (Pérez-López et al., 2012).

The Vitamin That Prevents Type 2 Diabetes Developing

High dosage of this vitamin can help prevent diabetes developing, a new study has found.

High dosage of this vitamin can help prevent diabetes developing, a new study has found.

High doses of vitamin D for prediabetic people can increase glucose metabolism, which in turn slows down the disease’s development.

The action of insulin in muscle tissue improved when vitamin D3 was given to newly diagnosed diabetes patients, the study found.

Researchers used a dosage of 5,000 IU per day over a 6-month period, which is about 5 to 10 times more than the recommended daily vitamin D intake.

There are different types of Vitamin D: the two major forms are vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol.

According to a new CDC report, more than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes.

Prediabetes is linked to higher blood glucose levels than normal.

Prediabetes is a fast growing problem that, if not treated, can lead to type 2 diabetes in 5 years.

Type 2 diabetes can cause serious diseases including kidney failure, nerve damage, cardiovascular diseases and blindness.

People at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes can have low levels of vitamin D.

The effect of vitamin D in prediabetes or new diabetes patients was recently studied by Dr Claudia Gagnon and colleagues from Université Laval in Quebec.

They measured glucose metabolism and markers of insulin function before and after six months supplementation with vitamin D and found that insulin sensitivity was significantly improved.

High insulin sensitivity makes our cells use blood glucose more efficiently and so blood sugar will decrease in the body.

People who are not sensitive to insulin suffer from a condition called insulin resistance (IR), a factor that leads to type 2 diabetes.

Dr Gagnon says:

“The reason we saw improvements in glucose metabolism following vitamin D supplementation in those at high risk of diabetes, or with newly diagnosed diabetes, while other studies failed to demonstrate an effect in people with long-standing type 2 diabetes is unclear.

This could be due to the fact that improvements in metabolic function are harder to detect in those with longer-term disease or that a longer treatment time is needed to see the benefits.”

She adds:

“Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes are a growing public health concern and although our results are promising, further studies are required to confirm our findings, to identify whether some people may benefit more from this intervention, and to evaluate the safety of high-dose vitamin D supplementation in the long term.

Until then I would suggest that current vitamin D supplementation recommendations be followed.”

The study was published in the European Journal of Endocrinology (Lemieux et al., 2019).

A Worrying Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Over half the people in the study had a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Over half the people in the study had a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Depression and lethargy can be signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency, research finds.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to rectify with supplements or by dietary changes.

The body uses vitamin B12 to make red blood cells and to keep the nervous system healthy.

Other common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include experiencing muscle weakness and being constipated.

Over half the people in the study had a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Professor Heather Keller, the study co-author, said:

“The negative effects of a B12 deficiency are considerable.

This is of particular importance in the context of our aging population with more Canadians requiring long-term care.”

The study included 412 older people entering care homes.

Just over half had low vitamin B12 levels, with 14 percent being deficient.

Kaylen Pfisterer, the study’s first author, said:

“In spending time in long-term care homes, you often see depression and loneliness.

This is why we need to do everything in our power to enhance quality of life and quality of care in this setting.

Screening for B12 deficiency is a first step to targeting B12 treatment to those who may benefit most.”

Vitamin B12 levels can be boosted through supplementation or by eating foods such as dairy, liver, salmon and eggs.

The study was published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism (Pfisterer et al., 2019).

The Mild Nutrient Deficiency Linked To Memory Loss (M)

Supplementation reversed the effects of age-related memory loss.

Supplementation reversed the effects of age-related memory loss.

A diet low in flavanols is linked to age-related memory loss, a large study finds.

However, taking a daily flavanol supplement over three years reversed these losses.

Many people already get enough flavanols from a healthy diet, however those with a poorer diet will probably benefit.

Flavanols, which are a type of flavonoid, are found in nearly all fruits and vegetables, as well as in tea.

Participants in the study with a mild flavanol deficiency experienced boosts to their cognitive functioning of 16 percent over the three years of the study.

Professor Adam Brickman, the study’s first author, said:

“The improvement among study participants with low-flavanol diets was substantial and raises the possibility of using flavanol-rich diets or supplements to improve cognitive function in older adults.”

Neurons in the hippocampus

Professor Scott Small, study co-author, has been studying age-related memory loss for many years.

His lab has shown that changes in the dentate gyrus, a part of the hippocampus, are central to memory decline.

Flavanols, though, enhance neuron and blood vessel growth in this region.

Professor Small said:

“The identification of nutrients critical for the proper development of an infant’s nervous system was a crowning achievement of 20th century nutrition science.

In this century, as we are living longer research is starting to reveal that different nutrients are needed to fortify our aging minds.”

The current study included over 3,500 healthy adults given either a flavanol supplement or a placebo over three years.

The supplement contained 500 mg of flavanols, including 80 mg of epicatechins, a type of flavanol thought to be particularly effective.

The memories of those with mild flavanol deficiencies improved by 10.5 percent compared to placebo and by 16 percent compared to their scores at the start of the study.

Dramatic improvements

While the study provides strong evidence for the benefits of a healthy dietary flavanol intake, Professor Small is cautious:

“We cannot yet definitively conclude that low dietary intake of flavanols alone causes poor memory performance, because we did not conduct the opposite experiment: depleting flavanol in people who are not deficient.”

Next, Professor Small wants to look at the effects of rectifying a severe flavanol deficiency:

“Age-related memory decline is thought to occur sooner or later in nearly everyone, though there is a great amount of variability.

If some of this variance is partly due to differences in dietary consumption of flavanols, then we would see an even more dramatic improvement in memory in people who replenish dietary flavanols when they’re in their 40s and 50s.”

High-flavanol foods

Foods that containing high levels of flavanols include:

  • pears,
  • olive oil,
  • wine,
  • tomato sauce,
  • kale,
  • beans,
  • tea,
  • spinach,
  • broccoli,
  • apples,
  • and oranges.


The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Brickman et al., 2023).