Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Pernicious Anemia?

Pernicious anemia is primarily caused by a deficiency of vitamin B12 (cobalamin). Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient required for the production of red blood cells and the proper functioning of the nervous system. Pernicious anemia is a specific type of anemia in which the body cannot absorb an adequate amount of vitamin B12 from the digestive tract, leading to a decrease in the production of red blood cells.

The primary underlying cause of pernicious anemia is the lack of intrinsic factor, a protein produced by the stomach lining, which is necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12 in the small intestine. Without intrinsic factor, vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed effectively, even if it is consumed in the diet.

Pernicious anemia can lead to a range of symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, and neurological symptoms such as tingling or numbness in the extremities, balance problems, and memory issues. If left untreated, it can result in serious health complications.

The treatment for pernicious anemia typically involves lifelong vitamin B12 supplementation, often administered via injections, to bypass the absorption issues in the digestive tract. This treatment helps correct the deficiency and manage the symptoms of the condition. It is important for individuals with pernicious anemia to receive regular medical care and adhere to the prescribed treatment plan to prevent complications.