Vitamin B12 deficiency: Strange skin disorder may indicate your levels are low

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Vitamin B12 is a nutrient which help supports the body’s vital functions by helping keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helping to make DNA. The nutrient’s contribution is easily overlooked if you are getting enough of it, but when levels do become low a strange skin disorder may arise.

If a person lacks B12, their red blood cell count may be lower, and nerves can become damaged.

Vitamin B12 deficiency, left untreated, can cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system. It can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

These complications can be avoided by spotting the symptoms of the condition early.

One symptom to be aware of is white spots on a person’s forearm.

These can occur as a result of melatonin becoming absent in the area, according to Thyroid Patient Advocacy (TPA).

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates a person’s sleep-wake pattern and has been shown to be linked to vitamin B12 intake.

TPA explains: “These often occur on the outside of the forearm but may occur in other places.”

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Melatonin is a hormone that regulates a person’s sleep-wake pattern and has been shown to be linked to vitamin B12 intake.

TPA added: “These often occur on the outside of the forearm but may occur in other places.

“The longer these spots are there, the whiter they get.

“As time goes by, the spots become very dry and flaky to the extent that small raw spots of skin may be exposed.”

Other skin disorders caused by low levels of B12

A study in the National Library of Health looked at hyperpigmentation and other skin disorders indicating low B12 levels.

Hyperpigmentation with generalised weakness may be the initial presentation of several systemic conditions with a vitamin B12 deficiency being present very rarely as hyperpigmentation, said the study.

It added: “The cutaneous manifestation of Vitamin B12 deficiency is skin hyperpigmentation, vitiligo, hair changes, and recurrent angular stomatitis.

“Hyperpigmentation of the extremities, especially over the dorsum of the hands and feet, with accentuation over the interphalangeal joints and terminal phalanges associated with pigmentation of the oral mucosa is characteristic of vitamin B12 deficiency.”

How to treat vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia is usually treated with injections of vitamin B12.

There are two types of vitamin B12 injections:

Hydroxocobalamin

Cyanocobalamin.

According to the NHS, if your vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by a lack of the vitamin in your diet, you may be prescribed vitamin B12 tablets to take every day between meals.

“Or you may need to have an injection of hydroxocobalamin twice a year,” explains the health body.
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