Because of vitamin B’s important role in our bodies, symptoms of deficiency are as severe as they are apparent when they appear. Each vitamin grouped into the vitamin B complex performs a different role in our bodies, and such, has different signs of deficiency.
Vitamin B1, thiamine – Deficiency causes beriberi. This disease is one of the nervous system and causes weight loss, emotional disturbances, impaired sensory perceptions, weakness in the limbs, irregular heartbeat, and swelling of body tissues (edema). In severe cases, heart failure and death can occur. Chronic thiamine deficiency can also produce amnesia.
Vitamin B2, riboflavin – Deficiency causes ariboflavinosis. These symptoms can include cracks in the lips, high aggrevation and sensitivity to sunlight, inflammation of the tongue, hyperemia, and swelling of the pharyngeal (throat).
Vitamin B3, niacin – Deficiency can cause pellagra. Pellagra leads to aggression, dermatitis, insomnia, weakness, confusion mentally, and diarrhea. Just like thiamine, in several cases of deficiency it can lead to dementia and death.
Vitamin B5, pantothenic – Deficiency can result in acne and paresthesia (skin tingling).
Vitamin B6, pyridoxine – Deficiency can lead to anemia, depression, high blood pressure, dermatitis, water retention, and high levels of homocysteine.
Vitamin B7, biotin – No typical symptoms of deficiency has been found in adults. In infants however, a biotin deficiency can lead to impaired growth and neurological disorders.
Vitamin B9, folic acid – Deficiency can result in macrocytic anemia, as well as higher levels of homocysteine. A deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women can cause birth defects, which is why it is recommended for pregnant women to supplement the vitamin. Studies have also shown that folic acid may slow the negative effects of age on the brain.
Vitamin B12, cobalamin – B12 is one of the most prolific B vitamins. A deficiency causes macrocytic anemia, elevated homocysteine, memory loss, as well as other cognitive negative effects. Definiency is most likely to occur among the elderly population, as absorption declines with age. In very extreme cases of deficiency, paralysis can take effect.