Vitamin B12 is used by the body to make red blood cells, according to the NHS. It’s also used to produce DNA, and to keep the nervous system healthy, it said. You could have a vitamin B12 deficiency if you’re constantly having headaches, lose your appetite, or if you’re always feeling tired. You may be at risk of the condition if you’ve noticed your hair becoming more grey, it’s been claimed.
B12 deficiency is one of the most common and overlooked conditions in the world
Dr David Jockers
Developing grey hair unexpectedly could be an early warning sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency, according to nutritionist Dr David Jockers.
Your hair may also appear to be getting thinner too, he added.
You should speak to a doctor if you’re worried that your hair is changing colour very early.
“B12 deficiency is one of the most common and overlooked conditions in the world,” he said. “B12 deficiencies are a hidden epidemic in our society.
“It’s entirely possible that at least some of the symptoms we attribute to ‘normal’ ageing – such as memory loss, cognitive decline, decreased mobility – are at least in part caused by B12 deficiency.
“Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include mental problems – such as brain fog, Alzheimer’s and dementia – fatigue, and chronic pain.
“Hair problems – thinning hair and grey hair can be symptoms too.”
Greying hair could also be caused by a vitamin B6, vitamin D, or vitamin E deficiency.
Certain medications, smoking and even stress could also contribute to premature greying.
Medical website Medical News Today added: “Anyone who has white hair resulting from a vitamin deficiency should consume more foods loaded with those vitamins.”
But, white hair can appear at any time, at any age. Even people in their 20s may notice strands of white hair.
Other, more common warning signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include tiredness, feeling dizzy, and irritability.
You should speak to a doctor if you’re worried about vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
But you can top up on the vitamin by eating certain foods. The best sources of vitamin B12 include beef, liver, dairy foods, eggs, and salmon.
A vitamin B12 deficiency could be caused by pernicious anaemia – a condition that’s caused by the body’s immune system attacking healthy stomach cells.
Diagnosing the condition early is crucial, as it can lead to heart conditions and temporary infertility on rare occasions.
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