Can A Person With Vitamin B Deficiency Experience Neuropathy?

Ever wonder why you were always told to eat your greens and fruits even though you would rather live off eating your favourite fried chicken and pepperoni pizza? Having a balanced diet ensures that your body receives good nutritions, particularly the invisible micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Especially the B vitamins which are essential for preventive care. Abundant in green vegetables, whole grains, dairies and meats, the family of eight B vitamins provides a handful of health benefits. In addition to their roles in maintaining healthy metabolism, skin and hair, B vitamins have been associated with a lower risk of stroke as much as 7%. Each member of the B vitamin also brings its own health benefit. For example, B2 boosts the immune system while B3 helps breakdown food into energy. Mothers who wish to get pregnant should take adequate B9, or folic acid, which is vital for the fetal growth and development. B6, also called pyridoxine, is important as it is involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions and helps build new red blood cells. Therefore, the deficiency of vitamin B causes many health problems. The great thing about vitamins is that the recommended amount needed for good health often comes in micrograms, which are often covered in the usual balanced diet. Only individuals with medical conditions or taking medications prone to vitamin B deficiency can consider taking vitamin B supplements such as Neurobion. Neurobion is a vitamin B supplement containing B1, B6 and B12 and is taken to prevent and treat vitamin B deficiency. The recommended vitamin B Neurobion dosage is one tablet daily.

What Is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy refers to the disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system. It is frequently used synonymously with peripheral neuropathy or polyneuropathy. A problem with the nerves can cause pain, paresthesia (burning sensation), numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and swelling. To diagnose the cause of neuropathy is challenging as it has a whole list of causes. This includes infections, inflammatory disorders, rheumatic diseases, toxins, systemic illnesses, cancers, vitamin deficiencies and medications.

So Can A Person Experience Neuropathy Due To Vitamin B Deficiency?

Yes. Especially those who are deficient in vitamin B1, B6 and B12. Also known as the neurotropic B vitamins, they are essential to the maintenance of a healthy nervous system as each of them has a crucial role in the nervous system. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) works as a cofactor with Acetyl-CoA, helping to synthesise acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter in the brain and nerves. On the other hand, B12 (cobalamin) acts as a cofactor in synthesising methionine, an amino acid required for the maintenance and functions of myelin and neurotransmitters. Without B12, the reduced production of methionine leads to the accumulation of its precursor- homocysteine, an amino acid that is associated with several neurodegenerative diseases. A high level of homocysteine can lead to brain damage and cognitive disturbances. Furthermore, a lack of B12 damages the myelin sheaths, leading to demyelination. Symptoms of demyelination are muscle weakness, stiffness, spasms, sensory changes and even vision loss.

Lastly, perhaps more significantly related to neuropathy is the deficiency of vitamin vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). B6 is involved in forming myelin sheaths, an insulator around the nerves that ensures the effective transmission of electrical signal along the nerves. Moreover, B6 plays a role in producing neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. A person with low levels of serotonin will experience sad depressed moods, low energy, irritability and low libido while low levels of norepinephrine cause lethargy, inattention and lack of focus. This explains why people with vitamin B6 deficiency have depression symptoms. Also, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants with high concentrations of vitamin B6 did better on their memory tests. Researches in Oxford University also noted that taking high doses of vitamin B daily was beneficial in lowering the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment in older people. For patients who are taking isoniazid for their tuberculosis, B6 supplementation is vital to prevent neuropathy as isoniazid inhibits B6.

Fortunately, dietary vitamin B deficiency is rare. As long as we consume a balanced diet daily, we are most likely free from the health problems of vitamin deficiencies.