Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
May 9, 2024 ·  4 min read

Chest Pain May Be a Symptom of a Common Vitamin Deficiency

Chest pain is a symptom that often leads to immediate concern, as it can be associated with various serious health conditions. However, recent studies have suggested that chest pain could also be a symptom of a common vitamin deficiency, vitamin B12. The connection between vitamin B12 deficiency and chest pain is relatively new, however, it is important to be aware of. This is especially if you are at risk of having a poor vitamin B12 status. This is everything you need to know about b12, chest pain, and what this might mean for you.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Woman’s Case

Young unhealthy female sit on couch having difficulty breathing pain of heart, touches his chest with hand. Trouble breathing, chest pain. Heart attack, thoracic osteochondrosis, panic attack concept
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To better understand the relationship between vitamin B12 deficiency and chest pain, let’s consider the case of a 28-year-old woman who presented with a painful burning sensation in her chest. She also experienced tingling sensations in her hands and feet. These symptoms had been present for five years, starting as an intermittent burning sensation in the upper chest and eventually progressing to numbness in her limbs. A diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency-related neuropathy was made based on her symptoms and further tests. In their publication of the case and the learnings from it, the physicians said this:

Screening and treating Vitamin B12 deficiency is important. In addition to fatigue, chest pain, issues with concentration, and paresthesia, vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause pancytopenia. More serious complications include heart failure due to anemia and disabling neurological deficits. B12 deficiency is also associated with a risk of gastric cancer and developing autoimmune disorders like myasthenia gravis (3). Recognizing rare signs of vitamin B12 deficiency such a pancytopenia and appropriately providing vitamin B12 supplantation is vital in alleviating symptoms and preventing further complications from the deficiency. (1)

Read More: 10 Signs Of A Vitamin Deficiency And What To Do About It

Another Unusual Vitamin B12 Case

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The Massachusetts General Hospital also reported a peculiar case showing the dangers of a vitamin B12 deficiency and the unusual symptoms it can cause. In this case, they received a patient, a 62-year-old man, who had developed a range of symptoms over the course of two months. These include numbness in his hands, difficulty walking, severe joint pain, yellowing skin, and shortness of breath. They traced the cause of his symptoms to a lack of vitamin B12 in his bloodstream. Severe vitamin B12 deficiencies can lead to serious health problems, including deep depression, paranoia, delusions, memory loss, and even incontinence. (2)

Understanding Vitamin B12

essential vitamins and minerals for humans. doctor recommends taking vitamin b12. doctor talks about the benefits of vitamin b12. B12 Vitamin - Health Concept. B12 alphabet on wood cube.
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Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a crucial nutrient that plays a vital role in the body’s functioning. It is primarily responsible for maintaining the health of the nervous system and the production of red blood cells. B12 deficiency can lead to a range of health problems, including neurological symptoms, anemia, and cardiovascular issues. (3)

The Importance of Vitamin B12

Human nervous system. Sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves anatomy and functions. Spinal cord controls body internal organs diagram. Illustration anatomy biology nerve
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Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. A deficiency in this nutrient can lead to damage to the myelin sheath that surrounds and protects nerves. When the myelin sheath is compromised, nerves cannot function optimally, resulting in various symptoms, including chest pain. Additionally, B12 deficiency can cause other concerning symptoms such as fatigue, faintness, headaches, pale skin, and even mental health problems.

Read More: Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms that Most People Ignore

Sources of Vitamin B12

Natural sources of Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) for normalization of sleep; ensuring normal brain function; supporting the respiratory system; alzheimer's deasease treatment. Top view
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Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs. Therefore, individuals who follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet are more susceptible to B12 deficiency. Fortified cereals and nutritional yeast are some plant-based sources that can help individuals meet their B12 requirements. However, it is important to note that plant-based sources may not provide adequate amounts of B12, and supplementation may be necessary for some individuals.

Who May Require Supplementation?

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While vitamin B12 deficiency can affect people of all ages, races, and economic classes, certain individuals are at a higher risk and may require supplementation. Vegetarians, vegans, and those with gastrointestinal conditions that affect nutrient absorption (such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease) are more likely to develop B12 deficiency. Older adults, as natural levels of stomach acid decrease with age, may also require supplementation to ensure optimal B12 levels. (4)

The Bottom Line

Healthy senior woman smiling while holding some green juice in her kitchen. Mature woman serving herself wholesome vegan food at home. Woman taking care of her aging body with a plant-based diet.
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Chest pain can be a distressing symptom that often raises concerns about underlying health conditions. However, it is important to note that chest pain can also be a symptom of a common vitamin deficiency, specifically a deficiency in vitamin B12. This crucial nutrient plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the nervous system and red blood cell production. If you experience chest pain, along with other symptoms such as fatigue, tingling sensations, or pale skin, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional. They can determine if a vitamin B12 deficiency or any other underlying health issue may be contributing to your symptoms. Remember, a balanced diet rich in vitamin B12 sources is key to preventing deficiencies, and supplementation may be necessary for certain individuals to ensure optimal levels of this important nutrient.

Read More: 7 Of The World’s Worst Health Conditions That Are Linked To Vitamin D Deficiency


  2. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be sneaky and harmful.” Harvard. March 23, 2022
  3. Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).” Examine
  4. What causes vitamin B12 deficiency?Examine