Vitamin B12 deficiency: Facial neuralgia is a warning your levels are low – what is it?

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A peculiar sign that you may be lacking in vitamin B12 is experiencing facial neuralgia. Trigeminal neuralgia is sudden, severe facial pain, said the NHS. The health body added: “It’s often described as a sharp shooting pain or like having an electric shock in the jaw, teeth or gums. “It usually happens in short, unpredictable attacks that can last from a few seconds to about two minutes.”

According to Thyroid Patient Advocacy, a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency may appear on one’s face.

The health site advises: “This pain varies so much that it would be difficult to describe all the possibilities.

“It can be a dull pain in the check bone right underneath the eye.

“It can also be a sharp shooting pain across the forehead, sometimes coming downward from the scalp to the edge of the nose by the eye.

“This pain can be excruciating but is usually fleeting.”

Thyroid Patient Advocacy also explained the facial pain which could occur is usually on only one side of the face a time.

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In a study with MD Edge Neurology, facial neuralgia and its possible link to vitamin B12 deficiency was investigated.

The study noted: “Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause isolated facial neuralgia, independent of trigeminal neuralgia and peripheral neuropathy, according to research presented at the 14th Congress of the International Headache Society.

“All patients reported a decrease in touch and pain sensation, as well as numbness on the affected side.

“The blink reflex and trigeminal nerve evoked response were abnormal, and all subjects had low levels of serum B12.”

Dr Jitendra Baruah commented: “It was somewhat unexpected that vitamin B12 deficiency can cause isolated facial neuralgia.”

He continued: “Treatment for facial neuralgia is sometimes very difficult, and patients may often go into multimodalities treatment without much success.

“Knowing that this condition is remediable with vitamin B12 therapy, it is important to identify these patients and treat them accordingly.”

For many people, a B12 deficiency can be easily rectified by making some simple diet swaps, he added.

The best sources of vitamin B12 include beef, liver, dairy foods, eggs, and salmon.

Around one in 10 people aged 75 or over have a B12 deficiency.

But, taking B12 supplements could also help to treat a deficiency.

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