Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Cause Subtle Psychotic Symptoms- Study

Teresa Breaux | Last Updated : September 30, 2022

A recent study published in European Psychiatry revealed that one of the telltale signs of vitamin B12 deficiency can be psychotic features.

The study found that most people who are affected by vitamin B12 deficiency are elderly people. Vitamin B12, otherwise known as cobalamin, is one of the eight B vitamins involved with metabolism.

Recent studies have thrown light on psychotic manifestations as one of the subtle signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. The experiment on the case of a 52-year-old male proved this point when this person started showing symptoms of hallucinatory attributes and difficulties with tactile, and audio sensations.

What Is Vitamin B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 deficiency otherwise known as cobalamin deficiency is prevalent for a long time. In scientific terms, this deficiency is the condition where the blood and tissue in our body have a lower level of vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Cause Subtle Psychotic Symptoms

The usual and mild symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include anemia, mouth ulcers, hair loss, low blood pressure, etc. But when the symptoms become severe the whole scenario changes. The more severe symptoms can range from reduced heart function to acute neurological issues.

Researchers have tried to treat the 52-year-old man with vitamin B12 deficiency by administering him antipsychotic drugs with vitamin B12. And the good news is the man has shown positive signs of recovery after taking the vitamin B12 supplements and drugs.

The recovery started one week after the vitamin intake and this is a sign of hope for the medical field. But doctors suggest not waiting for the deficiency to kick in. Instead, by practicing good dietary habits that can enhance the vitamin B12 in our body, we can prevent any deficiency that will creep up on us.

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Vitamin B12 is an animal-originated vitamin which means we get this vitamin only through meat and dietary products. Beef, Clams, Tuna, Salmon, Milk,  Turkey, Yogurt, Cheese, Eggs, etc are rich in Vitamin B12.  Even some fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and some sort of nutritional yeast also can provide the necessary vitamin B12 for the body.

Apart from all these some of the medical prescriptions for vitamin B12 include intramuscular injection of this vitamin as cyanocobalamin and hydroxocobalamin. But still, it is advised that we should increase the vitamin B12 quantity in our body by having more vitamin B12-rich food items in our diet.

There has been a recent upheaval in the research that led to the increased role of vitamin B12 on the body. Experiments have already proved that vitamin B12 plays a major role in monoamine neurotransmitter synthesis in the brain. This points out the importance of vitamin B12 on the mental health side. So any deficiency of the vitamin can lead to some cases of psychotic and neurotic disorders even though the earlier symptoms can be subtle and unnoticeable. A recent study conducted by PubMed points out the correlation between low vitamin B12 levels and depression.  Most of these studies have found the fact that these symptoms of neurotic conditions affect older people generally.  Apart from depression, the other common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include mania, dementia, and psychosis.

According to the study conducted by the US Department of Agriculture, for men, the average daily intake of vitamin B12 from food is 5.94mcg while for women it is 3.78 mcg. This is the case for men and women who are aged 20 and older. Also, studies show vitamin B12 deficiency risk group includes older adults, vegetarians, people with gastrointestinal disorders, etc. Only through a coherent dietary change, we can enhance the vitamin B12 intake. By this, we can fight the psychotic symptoms that will follow.


🔵National Library Of Medicine (n.d) Negative symptoms presenting as neuropsychiatric manifestation of vitamin B12 deficiency (Available On):

🔵Science Direct (n.d) Subtle vitamin-B12 deficiency and psychiatry: a largely unnoticed but devastating relationship? (Available On):

Teresa Breaux

Teresa Breaux is a renowned health practitioner who serves as a social worker. She expertized in treating eating disorders and focuses mainly on family-based treatments. Apart from working as a health practitioner, she even provides public awareness through her writings and blogs. Her content includes methods by which you can make delicious and healthy recipes. She is so passionate about writing, especially on issues with eating habits and the importance of eating healthy. If you are someone who loves healthy tips to make your life better, then you must have run across her blogs. You can visit her website and even follow her on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

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