Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for good health. Most people can get it from a varied diet that includes animal products. However, people on a plant-based diet can only get vitamin B12 from fortified foods or supplements.
A less well-known symptom to know about is white spots on a person’s forearm.
These can occur due to the lack of melatonin in the area, according to Thyroid Patient Advocacy (TPA).
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates a person’s sleep-wake rhythm and has been shown to be related to vitamin B12 intake.
TPA warns, “These often occur on the outside of the forearm, but can occur in other places.
“The more these spots are there, the whiter they become.
“Over time, the spots become very dry and scaly to the point that small, raw patches of skin can be exposed.”
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Vitamin B12 deficiency is common and can present itself in a variety of ways, making it difficult to identify.
If you are at risk and have any of the above symptoms, talk to your doctor.
For most people, vitamin B12 deficiency should be easy to prevent just by making sure you get enough vitamin B12 in your diet.
Treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency
If a person is not getting enough vitamin B12 from their diet, a general practitioner may advise them to eat more foods fortified with vitamin B12 or to take regular supplements.
Vitamin B12 injections may also be recommended, and for people with pernicious anemia, injections may be needed for the rest of their lives.
Experts say adults between the ages of 19 and 64 need about 1.5 microgram (mg) per day of vitamin B12, and unless you have pernicious anemia, you should be able to get it through the through your diet.
Vitamin B12 supplements are available as tablets or liquids that a person can take under the tongue (sublingually).
People on a plant-based diet may need extra vitamin B12 in supplement form, especially during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Additionally, older adults, people with gastrointestinal complaints, and those taking certain medications, including proton pump inhibitors and metformin, may need to take a supplement.