5 Subtle Signs You Need More Vitamin B12 That May Explain Why You've Been So Moody Lately
Sometimes mood swings are just that: mood swings. They swing by for a brief moment, but pretty soon, you feel like you're back to normal, and you don't even think twice about it. Other times, though, you start feeling moody out of nowhere, and no matter how much sleep you get or how many yoga poses you do, something's still not right. If you've been feeling off for a while, but can't seem to figure out what the exact cause is, then you might want to know about some of the subtle signs you need more vitamin B12, because yes, believe it or not, a vitamin B12 deficiency really could be the culprit behind your mood swings, along with a whole host of other annoying symptoms.
According to Healthline, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for the production of red blood cells and DNA, and is also important for the functioning of your nervous system. Vitamin B12 is typically found in animal-based products, like dairy, eggs, meat, and fish. If you're vegan or vegetarian, Healthline reports you can find B12 in plant-based milk, too. It's also possible to take B12 supplements, if you can't seem to get enough of it in your diet.
If you think your body might be lacking vitamin B12, the only way to know for sure is to take a blood test. Healthline notes that vitamin B12 deficiencies can happen slowly over several years' time, so the best strategy might just be a proactive one — i.e. paying attention to your symptoms, and doing your best to keep this vitamin in your diet as much as you can along the way. In the meantime, here are five signs that probably mean you need more B12.
1. You're Noticing You're Much Paler Than Usual
This one's kind of tough, since your skin tone is, well, your skin tone, and you know it better than anyone else. But, according to Bustle, if your skin looks paler than usual, or even a little bit jaundiced (meaning your skin has a yellow tint to it), then it could be a sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Keeping track of your skin tone is always a good idea in general, but especially so if you think you might be lacking this essential vitamin.
2. Your Hands And Feet Feel Really Tingly A Lot Of The Time
If you're feeling pins and needles in your hands and feet, then that could definitely be a sign you're not getting enough vitamin B12 in your system. "Over time, a lack of B12 can lead to nerve damage, causing numbness," Megan Casper, MS, RDN, told Bustle.
I know that sounds pretty scary, but it's not necessarily cause for total alarm. If you continue to work toward getting more B12 in your system, the tingling should go away. Plus, it's never a bad idea to talk to your doctor about what treatment or strategy may be best for you when it comes to these things.
3. You Feel Lightheaded Pretty Often, And You Bruise Easily, Too
Since vitamin B12 is important for the production of red blood cells, it makes sense that a vitamin B12 deficiency could cause mild to severe anemia. According to LIVESTRONG, this mild anemia would most likely present itself in the form of constant fatigue, or even shortness of breath. Anemia can often result in your body bruising easier than normal, too, which is also something to watch out for here.
4. You're Noticing These Weird, Painful Sores In Your Mouth
If the inside of your mouth is suddenly in pain, and you notice these blister-like sores all up in there, Healthline reports that it could just be a vitamin B12 deficiency, and while it's nothing to get too worried over, you could end up getting something called glossitis. According to Healthline, glossitis is when "your tongue changes color and shape, making it painful, red and swollen," which could also change the way you talk and eat over time.
Of course, if you notice any swelling or strange color changes in your mouth or on your tongue, then you should definitely talk to your doctor ASAP to see what exactly is going on, and what you can do about it.
5. Your Mood Swings Are All Over The Place
When it comes to mood swings that seem to happen with no rhyme or reason, you might think it's related to your period, or maybe even an astrological retrograde. Strangely enough, though, the culprit behind those mood swings just might be vitamin B12, or a lack thereof in your system. "Low B12 levels can wreak havoc on our emotions, possibly because B12 is necessary for the production of neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin," Casper told Bustle.
If you notice one or more of these symptoms in yourself, it's in your best interest to keep track of them to see if any patterns emerge — and seriously, to put your mind at ease, it never hurts to check in with a health care professional about what's going on.