Unexplainable Mood Disorders: You May be Lacking THIS Vitamin in Your Body- All You Need to Know

Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a crucial role in the production of brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions.

Vitamin B-12 plays a key role in the production of brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions, doctors said Saturday. Vitamin B-12 (also known as cobalamin) plays a crucial role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and DNA production.

Some common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include strange sensations, numbness or tingling in the hands, legs or feet, difficulty walking (wobbling, balance problems), anemia, difficulty thinking and reasoning (cognitive difficulties), memory loss, weakness or fatigue.

How does vitamin B-12 affect mood?

“Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a crucial role in the production of brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of vitamin B-12, as well as other B vitamins like vitamin B-6 and folate, may be linked to depression,” Dr Anshu Rohtagi, senior consultant, Department of Neurology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told IANS.

“Deficiencies can be the result of poor diet or difficulty absorbing the vitamins consumed. Therefore, maintaining adequate levels of vitamin B-12 is essential for general well-being, including mood regulation,” she added. Vitamin B-12 is found primarily in poultry, meat, fish and dairy products. It is available as an oral supplement, in the form of injections or as a nasal spray.

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Who is most susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency?

People who eat a vegetarian or vegan diet may be more prone to deficiency as plant foods do not contain vitamin B-12. Older people and people with digestive tract conditions that affect nutrient absorption are also susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency. “Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in the production of brain chemicals like serotonin, which helps regulate mood. When B12 levels drop, these chemicals can become unbalanced, which can lead to symptoms like mood swings, irritability and even depression,” Dr Guruprasad Hosurkar, Additional Director, Neurology, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru, told IANS.

The doctor explained that the “connection is not gender-specific. Both men and women can experience mood swings due to vitamin B12 deficiency.”

Although research is ongoing, studies suggest there is a link between vitamin B12 deficiency and depression, with some showing an improvement in mood with vitamin B12 supplementation. However, it is important to note that mood swings can have many causes and a doctor should be consulted to rule out other factors and determine if a vitamin B12 deficiency exists, said Dr. Guruprasad.

“Vitamin B12 deficiency causes several neurological symptoms like tingling, numbness and burning in the feet, imbalance, memory impairment, mood disorders, psychosis, seizures and parkinsonism,” explained Dr Sudhir Kumar of Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, in a post on social media platform X.

“In a patient presenting with neurological or psychiatric symptoms, vitamin B12 deficiency should be suspected (especially if no obvious cause has been identified). Early diagnosis and prompt initiation of treatment rapidly improves the patient’s symptoms,” he added. Doctors also stressed the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and recommended key behaviours such as controlling high blood pressure and blood sugar, stopping smoking and drinking alcohol, staying physically active, getting enough sleep and managing stress.

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(Inputs: IANS)

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