B12 deficiency: The texture of your poo may be a warning sign that levels are low

Dr Dawn Harper on signs of vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiency

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The next time you sit down on the toilet, moving along your bowel movements, make sure to check before you flush. If the texture of your poo is runny (indicative of diarrhoea) it could be a sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Other causes of diarrhoea may include a bowel infection, either from a virus, bacteria, or parasite. The NHS elaborated that common viral infections include norovirus or rotavirus, which can lead to diarrhoea.

As for a bacterial infection, this might include campylobacter or Escherichia coli (E. coli), which can be picked up by contaminated food.

Then there’s a parasite that causes giardiasis, which is spread via contaminated water.

Diarrhoea may also be the result of a food allergy, medication, irritable bowel syndrome, or anxiety.

So how can you tell if your diarrhoea is linked to a vitamin B12 deficiency?

Experts at John Hopkins Medicine pointed out other warning signs associated with the nutritional deficiency.

Aside from diarrhoea, people might experience numb or tingling sensations in the hands or feet, muscle weakness, or decreased appetite.

Other potential clues could be a smooth and tender tongue, a fast heart rate, and fatigue.

A vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to mood changes, causing a person to feel more irritated and nauseous.

In order for a diagnosis to occur, you will need to speak to your doctor and undergo a blood test.

Keeping on top of your health is critical, as low vitamin B12 reserves can lead to life-long complications.

Why vitamin B12 matters

A lack of vitamin B12 will lead to the formation of abnormal red blood cells, which means that oxygen supply around the body will be disturbed.

Without muscles and tissues receiving the oxygen it needs, malfunctions begin to emerge.

The NHS warned that a vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to anaemia, which could then lead to heart failure.

Even without the development of anaemia, a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to neurological symptoms.

Issues may include vision problems, memory loss, loss of physical co-ordination, and damage to the nervous system.

“If neurological problems do develop, they may be irreversible,” the health body added.

Which foods are rich in vitamin B12?

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs.

Dietary choices may not be the only cause of a vitamin deficiency, as there may be other underlying causes.

In order to get to the root cause of a vitamin B12 deficiency, it is imperative to first get a blood test, and then to discuss your blood test results with the doctor.

You may be recommended supplements to take either for a few months or for a lifetime.

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