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Is the tingling in my leg due to a vitamin deficiency?

Q: I often feel a tingling sensation in my left leg when I use the stairs though I don't have pain. As per the doctor’s report, my Vitamin B12 level is quite low (only 24, whereas the ideal rate is 200-400). What are the sources of B12 in vegetarian food? Can I take tablets instead? Will this tingling go away when my B12 level reaches the adequate level?

A:A tingling sensation in your leg could be due to a variety of causes including a problem in the nerve (degenerative change in the lower back causing disc protrusion or bony spurs pressing on the nerve or obesity or tight clothing) or blood circulation. Vitamin B12/folate deficiency too can cause it but is uncommon. Vitamin B12 is obtained from animal sources - meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products (milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt etc.). The sources of folate include green leafy vegetables, most fruits and legumes. A laboratory report of low vitamin B12 level alone cannot be taken to be the cause of your symptoms. Please consult a doctor who will take a detailed history and physically examine you so that the report can be interpreted in the light of the clinical findings. You are best advised to consult with your physician, who will ask you additional questions about these symptoms, as well as about any pertinent medical history you have, conduct a physical examination to determine if your problem does indeed involve nerves, and to also determine if any testing such as lumbar spine X-rays, a spinal MRI, and/or nerve testing (electromyography and nerve conduction studies - EMG/NCS) would be appropriate, to clarify the diagnosis before deciding on a plan of treatment.


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