A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to serious health complications if left untreated, so spotting symptoms of the condition early is very important.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to many health problems, including pregnancy complications and nervous system disorders. These problems can occur when a vitamin B12 deficiency causes the body to produce abnormally large red blood cells that cannot function properly.
Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body using a substance known as hemoglobin.
With fewer red blood cells or abnormally low amounts of hemoglobin, different areas of the body can be negatively affected.
And one of these areas is the ears. According to Patient.info, ringing in the ears can be a sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Tinnitus in the ears can sound like wheezing, hissing, throbbing, music or singing. But it is important to note that tinnitus is not always a sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
“It is not usually a sign of any serious conditions and generally improves over time,” says the NHS.
Tinnitus may also be linked to:
• A form of hearing loss
• Meniere’s disease (a disorder of the inner ear that can lead to episodes of vertigo and hearing loss)
Thyroid disorders or multiple sclerosis
• Anxiety or depression
• Take some medications
What causes vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by conditions such as pernicious anemia, an autoimmune condition that affects the stomach. An autoimmune condition means that the immune system, the body’s natural defense system that protects against disease and infection, attacks healthy body cells.
Some people may develop a vitamin B12 deficiency as a result of not getting enough of this vitamin from their diet.
The NHS explains: “A diet that includes meat, fish and dairy products usually provides enough vitamin B12, but people who do not eat these foods regularly, such as those who follow a vegetarian diet, or who follow a very poor diet, can to have a vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin B12 deficiency treatment
Treatment for the condition depends on its cause, but it is usually treated with vitamin B12 injections.
If the condition is caused by a lack of a vitamin in your diet, you may be prescribed vitamin B12 tablets to take daily between meals.
If you are a vegetarian and looking for alternatives to the vitamin, there are foods that contain it, such as yeast extract, some fortified breakfast cereals and soy products.