Vitamin deficiency anemia | Symptoms Causes and Treatment


Vitamin deficiency anemia refers to an absence of red blood cell health that occurs by lower than normal levels in certain vitamins. Vitamins associated with anemia caused by vitamin deficiency include folate and vitamin B-12, as well as vitamin C.

Vitamin deficiency anemia is a possibility when you don’t consume enough folate-rich foods and vitamin B12 or vitamin C. It may occur when your body isn’t able to absorb as well as process these nutrients.

It is essential to consult your physician to determine the anemia and then treat it. Anemia due to vitamin deficiencies can generally be treated by taking supplements in vitamin A and modifications in your food habits.


The signs and indicators of vitamin deficiency are:

  • Fatigue
  • Breathing shortness
  • Dizziness
  • Skin tone pale or yellowish
  • Heartbeat irregularity
  • Weight loss
  • Tingling or numbness in your feet and hands
  • Muscle weakness
  • Personality alters
  • Unsteady movements
  • The mind is confused or you forget things.

Vitamin deficiency typically develops slowly over the course of months or even years. The signs and symptoms of vitamin deficiency might be mild initially, but symptoms get more severe as the deficiency gets worse.


Vitamin deficiency anemia is a condition that occurs when the body suffers from an absence of the nutrients needed to make sufficient healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to your body.

In the event that your eating habits are deficient in specific vitamins, Vitamin deficiency anemia could occur. Vitamin deficiency anemia can occur because your body isn’t able to take in the nutrients that are present in the foods you consume.

Vitamin deficiency is most commonly caused by:

Anemia caused by Folate deficiency

Folate, also referred to as vitamin B-9 is a nutrient present mostly in fruits and green leafy vegetables. A diet that is consistently deficient in these foods could cause an insufficiency.

The condition can also occur if your body isn’t able to take in folate when eating. The majority of nutrients in food are absorbed by the small intestinal. There is a possibility that you may have difficulty in taking in folate or folic acids, the synthetic version of folate, which is included in supplements and foods when:

  • You suffer from a disease that affects the small intestine such as celiac illness
  • There’s a huge portion of your smaller intestine removed surgically, or bypassed
  • You drink a lot of alcohol
  • Certain prescription medications are taken for seizures, like some anti-seizure medication

Women who are pregnant and are breastfeeding have a higher demand for folate like dialysis patients for kidney diseases. Failure to meet this increasing demand could result in the development of a folate deficiency.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency causes anemia

Vitamin B-12 deficiencies can arise from a diet deficient in vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 is most often found in eggs, meat and milk.

But, the main reason for vitamin B-12 deficiency is the absence of a substance known as intrinsic factor. This can occur by your immune system mistakingly attacks stomach cells that create the substance. This kind of anemia is known as pernicious anemia.

Intrinsic factors is a protein released by stomach which connects vitamin B-12 within the stomach, and then moves into the small intestinal tract before being taken into your bloodstream. If there is no intrinsic factor in the vitamin, it won’t be absorbed and then leave your body in the form of waste.

Patients with autoimmune diseases affecting the endocrine system such as thyroid or diabetes are at likelihood of developing pernicious aemia.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency anemia may also happen if your small intestine doesn’t absorb vitamin B-12 due to reasons other than the absence of intrinsic factors. This can happen if:

  • You’ve had surgery done to your stomach or the small in the intestine, like gastric bypass surgery
  • You’ve noticed an abnormal growth of bacteria in your small colon
  • If you suffer from an intestinal condition like celiac or Crohn’s disease, that hinders the absorption of the vitamin.
  • The tapeworm you ingested was a result of eating fish that is contaminated. The tapeworm eats away the body of nutrients.

Vitamin C deficiencies can cause anemia

Vitamin C deficiency may be a result of not getting adequate vitamins C from the food you consume. Vitamin C deficiency is possible when something affects the ability of your body to take in Vitamin C through food. Smoking, for instance, can hinder the body’s ability to absorb vitamin C.

Certain chronic diseases such as cancer, or chronic kidney diseases, can also increase your chance of developing vitamin C deficiency anemia through altering your absorption rate of vitamin C.

Risk factors

There are a variety of factors that can influence your body’s stores of vitamin. In general, the chance of having a vitamin deficiency more likely to occur if:

  • The food you eat contains almost none of the natural sources of vitamin like dairy, meat as well as fruit and veggies. Vegetarians who don’t eat dairy products and vegans, who don’t eat any foods from animals, may fall into this category.Consistently overcooking your food also can cause vitamin deficiency.
  • You’re expecting, but you don’t take an multivitamin. The supplements to folate acid are essential during pregnancy.
  • There are intestinal issues and other health conditions which affect the digestion of vitamin B12. A bacterial imbalance in your stomach or a surgical procedure to your stomach or intestines could hinder the absorption of vitamin B-12.
  • You abuse alcohol. Alcohol can hinder how folate is absorbed as well as vitamin C along with other vitamins.
  • Certain prescription drugs which block the intake of vitamin. Anti-seizure medication can block Folate’s absorption. Anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications prescribed for treating type 2 diabetes can hinder the absorption of B-12.


Vitamin deficiencies increase your chance of suffering from a myriad of illnesses, including:

Pregnancy complications

Folate deficiency in pregnant women are more likely to be afflicted with complications, like premature birth. A fetus growing that does not receive enough folate from the mother can be born with birth defects to the spinal cord and brain.

If you’re contemplating getting pregnant Ask your doctor if you should be taking folate supplements to ensure that your body’s reserves of folate are enough to provide for your child.

Disorders of the nervous system

While vitamin B-12 is crucial in the creation of blood red cells it’s also crucial to ensure the health of your nervous system.

If left untreated, vitamin B-12 deficiencies can cause neurological issues including constant tingling in your feet and hands or issues with balance. It could lead to cognitive confusion and even forgetfulness since vitamin B12 is required for healthy brain function.

If you don’t treat deficiency in vitamin B-12 the neurological issues can turn permanent. Vitamin B-12 deficiency could cause these and other health issues before it causes anemia.


Vitamin C deficiency could cause the condition known as scurvy. The symptoms and signs of this rare illness include bleeding from the gums and the skin.


Choose a healthy diet

It is possible to avoid certain forms of vitamin deficiency anemia by following a healthy eating plan which includes an assortment of foods.

Foods rich in folate include:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Products from the grain industry that are rich in nutrients such as pasta, bread, cereal and rice
  • Fruit juices and fruits

Foods rich in vitamin B-12 include:

  • Eggs
  • Fortified foodsinclude breakfast cereals
  • Milk, cheese , and yogurt
  • Meat and shellfish

Foods rich in vitamin C include:

  • Broccoli
  • Fruits and juices of citrus
  • Strawberries
  • Green peppers
  • Tomatoes

The majority of adults require these intakes of the following vitamins:

  • Vitamin B-12 — 2.4 micrograms (mcg)
  • Folate or folic acid400 mg
  • Vitamin C – 75-90 milligrams

Breast-feeding and pregnant women could have a higher requirement for each vitamin.

Consider a multivitamin

If you’re worried that you’re not getting enough vitamin D from the foods you consume, ask your physician if you should consider a multivitamin for you. The majority of people get enough vitamins from the food they consume. But if your diet has been restricted, you may want to supplement your diet with multivitamins.

Don’t smoke

Smoking inhibits your absorption of certain nutrients like vitamin C. Therefore, smoking increases the chances of developing vitamin deficiencies.

If you are a smoker, stop. If you’re not smoking then don’t begin. If you’ve tried quitting by yourself and aren’t succeeding, speak with your doctor about methods to assist you in quitting.

Be careful with alcohol consumption, in the event that you do.

Alcohol may contribute to the anemia caused by vitamin deficiencies. If you decide to consume alcohol, you should do this in moderate amounts. For healthy adults moderate drinking is typically defined as:

  • Two drinks daily for those who are 65 and younger
  • A drink per day is recommended for those who are older than 65
  • A drink every day is recommended for women of all ages

A drink contains 12 pounds (355 milliliters) of beer 5 pounds (148 milliliters) of wine, or 1.5 grams (44 milliliters) of distilled spirits with 80 proof.


Doctors can diagnose vitamin deficiency anemia through blood tests , which check:

  • The appearance and number that red blood cells have. Anemia sufferers have fewer white blood cells than people who are healthy.
    In anemias caused by vitamin deficiency that are due to the deficiency of folate and vitamin B-12 in the blood, red blood cells appear to be large and weak. If the deficiencies are severe there are a lot of blood white cells as well as platelets can also decrease and appear odd under the microscope.
  • The quantity in folate, B-12, and Vitamin C levels in blood. Folate levels as well as vitamin B12 levels can be tested at the same as these deficiencies could produce similar symptoms and signs.

Other tests for B-12 deficiency

If your blood tests show an insufficient vitamin Your doctor might do other tests to determine the nature and the cause, for example:

  • Antibodies test. The doctor can take a sample from your blood to determine antibodies against intrinsic factor. They can indicate pernicious anemia.
  • Test for methylmalonic acid. You can take a blood test to check for levels of a chemical known as methylmalonic acids. The amount that this chemical is present in the bloodstream can be greater in those suffering from vitamin B-12 deficiency.


Therapy for Vitamin deficiency and anemia can be achieved through supplementation and changes in diet.

Folate deficiency treatment for anemia

Treatment involves eating a balanced diet and taking supplements to folic acid according to the prescriptions of your doctor. Most of the time the supplements for folic acid are taken by mouth.

When your body’s levels of folate returns to normal levels and you are able to quit taking supplements. If the reason for folate deficiencies isn’t fixed, you might need to supplement your folic acid intake for a long time.

Sometimes, folate deficiency as well as B-12 deficiency can occur simultaneously. The treatment of folate deficiency in the absence of treatment for B-12 deficiency could increase the severity of your symptoms.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency and anemia treatment

If you suffer from pernicious anemia Injections of vitamin B-12 are suggested for treatment. When you, along with your physician are considering taking vitamin B12 supplements orally, you’ll require strict monitoring by your physician.

If you suffer from vitamin B-12 deficiencies as a result of different causes, for instance, vitamin B-12 being ineffectively absorbable due to gastric bypass surgery Vitamin B-12 injections are typically advised.

At first, you might get shots as frequently as every day. In the end, you’ll require injections every month. This may last throughout your life, based on your personal situation.

In milder instances of Vitamin B-12 deficiency treatment could include modifications to your diet and vitamin B-12 supplements, either in capsule form or as nasal sprays.

Vitamin C treatment for deficiency anemia

Treatment for anemia that is related to vitamin C deficiencies is through Vitamin C pills. In addition, you should can increase the intake of foods and drinks that are rich in vitamin C.

Making preparations for your appointment

If you suspect you may have vitamin deficiency it is likely that you will begin with a visit to your family doctor or a general physician. However, in certain instances you might receive a referral to a physician who is specialized in the treatment of blood issues (hematologist).

Here’s some tips to help you prepare for your appointment. Also, what you can expect from your physician.

What you can do

  • Record any symptoms you’re experiencing especially those that seem not related to the reason for which you made the appointment.
  • Record important personal details that you need to remember, such as any major stressors or recent changes in your life.
  • Write down the medications you’re taking as well as any supplements or vitamins you’re taking.
  • Note down any questions you want you’d like to consult your physician.

The time you spend with your physician is short and having a list of questions will allow you to maximize your time with them. For anemia caused by vitamin deficiency, the most common questions you should ask your physician include:

  • What is the most likely cause for my symptoms?
  • Could something else be causing my symptoms?
  • Do you think my illness is likely to be to last for long or is it only temporary?
  • What is the best treatment you would recommend?
  • Are there alternatives to the method you’re suggesting?
  • I also have a health issue. What can I do to handle these health conditions?
  • Are there any other foods I should add to my diet?
  • Do you have brochures or other materials that I can bring along with me? Which websites would you recommend?

Alongside the questions you’ve prepared in advance to discuss with your doctor don’t be afraid to inquire during your visit if you aren’t understanding something.

What can you expect from your doctor?

Your doctor will likely ask you several questions. It is important to be prepared to answer these questions. could allow you to discuss the points that you’d like to take more time with. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • What are the severity of your symptoms?
  • Does anything appear to ease your symptoms?
  • What is it that appears to aggravate your symptoms?
  • Are you a vegetarian?
  • How many servings of fruit as well as vegetables typically consume in a day?
  • Do you consume alcohol? If yes what is the frequency, and how many glasses do you normally consume?
  • Are you a smoker?

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