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Vitamin deficiency anemia: Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment and prevention

Vitamin deficiency anemia: Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment and prevention

The formation of abnormally large red blood cells can lead to the body being deprived of oxygen
Vitamin deficiency anemia
Representational image | Shutterstock

Vitamin B12 and folate deficiency anemia is a condition in which the body forms abnormally large red blood cells (RBCs). Thus, the healthy RBC count decreases in blood and RBCs are unable to perform their function. These abnormal RBCs become inefficient at carrying oxygen (through hemoglobin), depriving the body of oxygen. 


See a doctor if you notice: 

  • Fatigue, weakness, or lack of energy 
  • Pale or yellowish skin 
  • Irregular heartbeats 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Feeling cold 
  • Dizziness 
  • Headache or lightheadedness 


Vitamin B12 and folate deficiency marks the cause of vitamin deficiency anemia.
Either the diet has an inappropriate quantity of these vitamins or there will be an inefficient absorption of these vitamins from the stomach, leading to an anemic state. 


Your doctor may assess medical history (fatigue, body aches, frequent headaches, skin, and eye colour) and physical examination (heart rate, breathing rate, enlarged liver/spleen). 

Adding, a blood test to determine the vitamin level, RBC count, and shape or size of the RBC should be advised to rule out the severity and cause of anemia. 

Treatment and prevention 

Diet modification can help manage anemia in mild cases. But severe cases require intervention. 

Dark-green leafy vegetables (spinach, amaranths), whole grains, beans, nuts, meat, cereals, etc. in a combined balanced way can help prevent being anemic. 

In other cases, if diet modification alone is not enough to improve the condition or the body has markedly low RBCs, your doctor will prescribe you vitamin B12 or/and folate supplements.

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