Vitamin B12 is needed to keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. The nutrient is naturally found in a wide variety of animal foods and is added to some fortified foods. Not getting enough of the vitamin is one of the primary causes of a B12 deficiency and is quite common. Spotting a B12 deficiency is not always obvious, however, the condition and symptoms can worsen over time and could pose a grave threat on one’s body in the long term.
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A peculiar sign that you may be lacking in vitamin B12 is experiencing this sensation on your face.
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 as 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.”
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Dr Jitendra Baruah, a neurologist said: “It was somewhat unexpected that vitamin B12 deficiency can cause isolated facial neuralgia.
“Treatment for facial neuralgia is sometimes very difficult and patients may often go into multimodalities treatment without much success.
“Knowing that this condition is remediable with vitamin B12 therapy, it is important to identify these patients and treat them accordingly.”
The investigators of the study also found that many patients with facial neuralgia also developed cold sores on the site of the facial neuralgia, and the cold sores also responded to vitamin B12 treatment.
Treatment for a B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia is usually treated with injections of vitamin B12, in a form called hydroxocobalamin.
At first, a person will have these injections every other day for two weeks, or until their symptoms have stopped improving.
A GP or nurse will give the injections.
Eating foods such as beef, liver, fish, fortified breakfast cereals and low-fat milk will also help to treat a B12 deficiency.
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