Vitamin B12 performs myriad functions in the body but some of the most important include making red blood cells and supporting a healthy nervous system. If you become deficient in B12, these processes become derailed and the symptoms can be wide-ranging. A case report details the way your face may betray low B12.
Writing in the BMJ, a doctor chartered his possible symptoms.
The doc wrote: “There was a doctor who developed some neurological symptoms (intermittent numbness on the left side of the face, left hand or left knee) a few weeks after an episode of shingles affecting the left side of the body.
“He saw a specialist who decided to check his Serum B12 and Serum Folate levels.”
The results indicated that his B12 level was low and intrinsic factor antibodies were negative.
READ MORE: B12 deficiency symptoms: Do you feel that? The warning sensation in your hands and feet
The doctor’s GP was very understanding and it was agreed not to treat, but to repeat the tests.
However, the doctor did agree to follow his wife’s advice to add a small amount of yeast extract on a slice of bread to his diet occasionally.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, or are looking for alternatives to meat and dairy products, yeast extract is a good source of B12.
The tests were repeated a few months after the original test. They showed the doc had normal B12 levels.
The doctor’s neurological symptoms have been investigated by another specialist who has not insisted on treatment for B12 (or Folate) deficiency.
“The symptoms have been improving despite no treatment for B12 deficiency or Folate deficiency,” the doc wrote at the time.
At the end of the article, the doc asked the question: “Are we overtreating patients with low B12 levels?”
According to the NHS, most people can be easily treated with injections or tablets to replace the missing vitamins.
“To ensure your treatment is working, you may need to have further blood tests.”