Vitamin deficiencies usually develop slowly over several months to years. Vitamin deficiency symptoms may be subtle at first, but they increase as the deficiency worsens. Symptoms of a deficiency depend on what type of vitamin one lacks. They can range from fatigue and confusion to anemia or a compromised immune system. Skin rashes also can occur.
HOW IS VITAMIN DEFICIENCY DIAGNOSED?
Doctors diagnose vitamin deficiency anemias through blood tests that check:
• The number and appearance of red blood cells.
• The amount of folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin C in your blood.
Additional tests may include:
• Antibodies test. the doctor may draw a sample of your blood to check for antibodies to intrinsic factor. Their presence indicates pernicious anemia.
• Methylmalonic acid test. one may undergo a blood test to measure the presence of a substance called methylmalonic acid. The level of this substance is higher in people with vitamin B12 deficiency.
• Schilling test.
HOW IS VITAMIN DEFICIENCY TREATED?
Treatment for vitamin deficiency anemia includes supplements and changes in diet.
• Folate deficiency anemia. Treatment involves eating a healthy diet and taking folic acid supplements as prescribed by the doctor..
• Vitamin B-12 deficiency anemia (pernicious anemia). For milder cases of vitamin B12 deficiency, treatment may involve changes in diet and vitamin B-12 supplements in pill form or as a nasal spray.
• Vitamin C deficiency anemia. Treatment for anemia related to vitamin C deficiency is with vitamin C tablets.
DID YOU KNOW?
Vitamin D plays a role in regulating adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine production in the brain through vitamin D receptors in the adrenal cortex, as well as protecting against the depletion of serotonin and dopamine. This is the possible link with vitamin D's role in depression.