When your child has a vitamin B deficiency, your life may be riddled with doctor’s appointments that turn up inconclusive.  You may see a host of symptoms that leave you – and your doctor – baffled.  That’s because a B vitamin deficiency affects multiple organ systems and the skin simultaneously, yet it’s not the most obvious diagnosis.

Symptoms you might see – like nausea, abdominal pains or even vomiting – are symptoms that can often be associated with infectious disease. Other symptoms include a loss of appetite, bad breath, indigestion and constipation – all symptoms that can be associated with other health issues.

While these symptoms might be overwhelming for any parent to deal with, especially as they can become chronic, there are some clear and simple steps that you can begin taking now to help solve the problem.

There are 13 different B vitamins needed by your body.  Many people are already familiar with vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid. But the B complex also includes vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), biotin, PABA, choline, and inositol. These water-soluble vitamins are essential to our health.

When we eat a high sugar diet, it is thought that some of the B vitamins synthesized in the intestinal tract are destroyed.  Researchers have found connections between B vitamin deficiencies and these types of symptoms. It’s also possible that these B vitamin deficiencies occur because of the intestinal bacteria that assist with B vitamin production. For example, one new strain was reported in the scientific journal Nutrients to assist in the production of folate.  Thus, if someone is deficient in B vitamins as well as probiotics, it can be the setup for deficiency symptoms to occur.

How B Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms Affect Learning

B vitamins have a huge impact on good mental health and are necessary for essential mental functions, as well. Typical vitamin B deficiency symptoms that affect the ability to learn are widely found in today’s children. In fact, most nutritionists could tell you that the mass of worldwide studies that looks at children’s nutritional status often find some type of nutrient deficiency; B vitamin deficiencies are usually at the top of the list.

Mental symptoms include forgetfulness, moodiness, confusion, dizziness, and loss of alertness.

Observe your child for slow eye-hand coordination and unsteadiness. Maybe his movements are sluggish or his legs jerk; these, along with frequent headaches, could also symptoms.

B Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms Affect Skin

There are also B vitamin deficiency signs that appear in the skin. Observe his face for cracks and sores in the corners of his mouth. Check his skin to see if it’s rough, inflamed, or has spots of dermatitis. Both dry skin and oily skin can be signs of B vitamin deficiency.

Other Symptoms of Vitamin B Deficiency

Will your child do anything he can to get out of reading? Yes, he could simply prefer video games and TV.  But this could also be a result of having burning eyes, eye fatigue, the feeling of sand in the eyes, or visual disturbances. All these are caused by a vitamin B deficiency, especially vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin).

It’s very important for you to monitor your child for these symptoms, because, sadly, health care professionals may often overlook Vitamin B deficiencies, searching for diseases rather than nutrient deficiencies.  Knowledge of vitamin B deficiency symptoms can help you put your finger on and solve some of your child’s issues.

Lab Tests Can Identify B Vitamin Deficiencies

If you are noticing a pattern of quite a few of these vitamin B deficiencies in your child, then discuss the possibility of vitamin B tests for your child. The tests are usually blood and urine tests taken in a clinical laboratory or your healthcare professional’s office.

Vitamin B Foods and Supplements are Your Best Defense…and Offense

The best you can do to protect your child from vitamin B deficiencies is the addition of healthy B vitamin foods and B rich supplements into the diet.  Not only are they deficiency preventative – they are also prescriptive.  If you are already seeing a pattern of these symptoms in your child, it may be time to start including foods in their diet like meat, fish, poultry, milk, yogurt, and desiccated liver. Foods also rich in vitamin B are legumes, nuts, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables.

And did you know that a healthy diet could still include baked goods? If you are baking homemade muffins, cakes and cookies, use blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, and wheat germ in the recipes to boost their vitamin B content. Wheat germ is especially rich in the B vitamins, and also vitamin E.

The good news to all of this is that B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins. That means these vitamins dissolve in water and are easily flushed out of our systems, as opposed to fat-soluble vitamins, which dissolve in fat and are stored in the liver.  Because of this, you don’t have to worry too much about your children getting too many B vitamins.  That said, you should exercise caution with B3, B6, and Folate – too much of these can cause issues (for more info, see here).

If you are concerned that your child is not getting enough B vitamins, making these few changes can go a long way in improving your child’s health and B vitamin status. With a wide range of food choices that contain B vitamins, along with B rich supplements, this is a relatively easy issue to overcome.


Posted on August 13, 2012