Vitamin B12 is used by the body to make red blood cells, according to the NHS. It’s also used to produce DNA, and to keep the nervous system healthy, it said. You could have a vitamin B12 deficiency if you’re constantly having headaches, lose your appetite, or if you’re always feeling tired. But you could also be at risk of the condition if you often feel a sharp pain in your hands, it’s been revealed.
People that develop a pain or numbness in their hands may need to add more vitamin B12 to their diet, said charity Thyroid Patient Advocacy.
The pain may suddenly appear without any warning, and is most common around the ring finger.
Left untreated, the tingling sensation could spread to other parts of the hand, and subsequently up to the wrist, it warned.
“If you have any unusual undiagnosed symptoms, perhaps you should consider whether you have a vitamin B12 deficiency,” said the charity.
“The symptoms often come on so slowly that a B12-deficient individual may become accustomed to them and not complain until the symptoms become severe.
“Sharp stabbing, tingling pain in the palm of one or both hands [could be caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency].
“This occurs suddenly and for no apparent reason in a spot directly below the ring finger, approximately where the first palm crease is.
“If B12 deficiency is not treated, a tingling pain may begin to occur along the outside edge of the hand, starting from the wrist. This pain occurs when the wrist is flexed backward.”
You could also be at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency if you suddenly find small, white spots appearing on your skin.
The spots may be caused by an absence of melatonin in the area, and is most likely to be found on the forearm.
Left untreated, the spots become more white, and may eventually become dry and flaky.
A vitamin B12 deficiency could be caused by pernicious anaemia – a condition that’s caused by the body’s immune system attacking healthy stomach cells.
It’s important for the condition to be diagnosed early, as it can lead to heart conditions and temporary infertility on rare occasions.
But, you could boost the amount of vitamin B12 in your diet by eating more beef, liver, dairy foods, eggs, or salmon.
You should still speak to a GP if you’re worried about the signs or symptoms of a deficiency, however.
Most cases can be easily treated with vitamin B12 supplements and diet changes.