Vitamin B12 is used by the body to help make red blood cells and with the production of DNA.
The vitamin is also crucial for helping to keep the nervous system healthy, said the NHS.
Common vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms include having regular headaches, fatigue and having a loss of appetite.
But you could also be at risk of the condition if you have a diminished sense of touch, it’s been revealed.
People that have a sense of numbness could be at risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency, claimed physician Dr Jeffrey Dach.
The numbness may be caused by nerve damage, owing to the lack of red blood cells.
It’s most common in the legs, feet or hands, and can even make patients lose their balance.
“Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause unusual neurological symptoms such as tremor, gait disturbance, severe pain, and can mimic multiple sclerosis or even Parkinson’s Syndrome,” said Dach.
“The physical signs and symptoms can often mimic other diseases and the diagnosis is frequently missed.
“Neurological signs and symptoms: Abnormal sensations [pain, tingling, and/or numbness of legs, arms trunk or anywhere], diminished sense of touch, pain or temperature [may mimic diabetic neuropathy Charcot foot], loss of position sense, weakness, clumsiness, tremor, any symptoms which may mimic Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis, spasticity of muscles, incontinence, paralysis, vision changes, damage to optic nerve.”
Around one in 10 people in the UK are affected by some degree of diminished sense of touch – which is also known as peripheral neuropathy.
It could be caused by low levels of vitamin B12, drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time or having an underactive thyroid.
But, the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes. Around one in every four diabetics experience some kind of pain caused by nerve damage.
As well as a reduced sense of touch or numbness, a vitamin B12 deficiency could cause a number of other symptoms.
Feeling dizzy – particularly after exercising – is one of the crucial warning signs of the condition, revealed nutritionist Helen West.
It’s caused by a reduced amount of oxygen being pumped around the body.
You could top up on vitamin B12 by eating more liver, salmon, beef, egg or dairy foods.
See a GP if you’re worried that you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 supplements and diet changes should help to reduce symptoms of a deficiency.
It’s important for the condition to be diagnosed early, as it can lead to heart conditions and temporary infertility on rare occasions.