Vitamin B12 deficiency: The two changes on your face indicating your levels are too low

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Vitamin B12 is a crucial ingredient for the healthy running of the body, as it’s needed to make red blood cells. Signs of a deficiency can develop very slowly, so it may be difficult to diagnose the condition. Seeing either of these two changes on your face could indicate your B12 levels are too low.


Jaundice appears when a person’s body is unable to produce enough red blood cells.

It’s the red blood cells, circulating in the bloodstream under the skin, that help provide it with its normal colouring.

Weakened red blood cells tend to break down more quickly, which releases bilirubin.

Bilirubin gives the skin the yellowish tone characteristic of the condition.

Moreover, as the body’s organs become starved of oxygen, a person can feel extremely tired.

A study published in the National Library of Health attributes the symptoms to vitamin B12’s role in the production of the DNA needed to make red blood cells.

Without it, the instructions for building the cells are incomplete, and cells are unable to divide.

This causes a type of anaemia called megaloblastic anaemia, in which the red blood cells produced in your bone marrow are large and fragile.

Anaemia is where you have fewer red blood cells than normal, or you have an abnormally low amount of a substance called haemoglobin in each red blood cell.

These red blood cells are too large to pass out of your bone marrow and into your circulation.

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Facial pain

According to Thyroid Patient Advocacy, a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency may appear on one’s face.

The health site advises: “This pain varies so much that it would be difficult to describe all the possibilities.

“It can be a dull pain in the check bone right underneath the eye.

“It can also be a sharp shooting pain across the forehead, sometimes coming downward from the scalp to the edge of the nose by the eye.

“This pain can be excruciating but is usually fleeting.”

Thyroid Patient Advocacy also explained the facial pain which could occur is usually on only one side of the face a time.

In a study with MD Edge Neurology, facial neuralgia and its possible link to vitamin B12 deficiency was investigated.

The study noted: “Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause isolated facial neuralgia, independent of trigeminal neuralgia and peripheral neuropathy, according to research presented at the 14th Congress of the International Headache Society.

“All patients reported a decrease in touch and pain sensation, as well as numbness on the affected side.

“The blink reflex and trigeminal nerve evoked response were abnormal, and all subjects had low levels of serum B12.”

How to treat a B12 deficiency

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

There are two types of vitamin B12 injections:

  • Hydroxocobalamin
  • Cyanocobalamin
  • The vitamin is also naturally found in meat, salmon, cod, milk and eggs.
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