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Vitamin B12 deficiency: An unusual and deep pain felt on the body is a sign you’re lacking

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

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Many cases of vitamin B12 deficiency are overlooked or sometimes even misdiagnosed. Health experts claim that the vitamin is arguably the most important; from fighting fatigue and keeping the bodies’ nerve and blood cells healthy to producing DNA. Lacking in the essential vitamin may cause this unusual shocking pain.

Nerve shock in the side of the body is a sign of a B12 deficiency.

It can be felt coming on a few seconds before it hits, and then it hits almost like a mild but deep electric shock and quickly subsides, said the Thyroid Patient Advocacy

The site added: “It can occur at the side of either hip or on either side of the upper body, along the ribs.

“Worse yet, it can occur consecutively in at least two or three locations, one right after the other.”

People who are vitamin B12 deficient may not produce enough myelin to coat their nerves.

Without this coating, nerves can become damaged.

Problems are more common in the nerves in the hands and feet, which are called peripheral nerves.

Peripheral nerve damage may also lead to tingling sensation in these parts of the body.

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A case was reported and published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health pertaining to unusual pain being a cause of a B12 deficiency.

The 28-year-old female experiencing progressive burning painful sensations on the upper trunk, paraesthesia and numbness of the upper and lower limbs for a period of five years.

“Before presenting to us, she had consulted in numerous health institutions for which she had been treated for diverse pathologies with no relieve of symptoms,” noted the study.

It continued: “After clinical and laboratory evaluation, a diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency-associated neuropathy was made.

“She was placed on oral vitamin B12 supplements at 2 mg daily for three months with a follow up which was marked by a good clinical recovery after one month of therapy.”

The study concluded that vitamin B12 deficiency neuropathy is a rare debilitating disease that affects mostly the elderly, however, young adults with neuropathic symptoms warrant a high index of suspicion too.

What is the link between vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anaemia?

Anaemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues, said Medline Plus.

The health site added: “Pernicious anaemia is a decrease in red blood cells that occurs when the intestines cannot properly absorb vitamin B12.

“A special protein, called intrinsic factor (IF), binds vitamin B12 so that it can be absorbed in the intestines.

“This protein is released by cells in the stomach. When the stomach does not make enough intrinsic factor, the intestine cannot properly absorb vitamin B12.”


For those suffering with a vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia where the body can absorb B12, oral vitamin B12 supplementation and diet adjustments may be an effective treatment.

Vitamin B12 injections are another treatment option and can be given daily or weekly until the B12 levels return to normal.

After your vitamin B12 levels are normal, you may only need to get the shot once per month.

Ensuring your diet is rich in beef, chicken, fish, fortified breakfast cereals, low-fat milk and eggs will also help to correct any pain or nerve damage and increase your B12 levels.
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  • Posted on May 28, 2021