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Diet and Nutrition

Tingling and vitamin deficiencies

08/02/2004

Question:

I have the tingling, and heat in the feet and legs. What typical vitamin deficiencies would possible be present?

Answer:

The most common vitamin deficiencies that would cause the symptoms of numbness and tingling in the feet or heat in the feet and legs are deficiencies in the Vitamin B complex. Specifically, Deficiencies in: 1) Vitamin B1 Thiamine would cause Numbness and tingling in the feet. This is mostly seen in people who are heavy drinkers of alcohol or are malnourished. 2) Vitamin B-12 would cause what is known as pernicious anemia and can cause a peripheral neuropathy, which is shooting and burning pains and numbness is the feet. This deficiency is mostly seen in people who are strict vegetarians who do not eat red meet or dairy products and in people who have had surgery on their intestines (such as gastric bypass). 3) Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is known to cause burning foot syndrome which has features of shooting and burning pains in the feet. The best sources of Vitamin B complex are most vegetables (broccoli, avocado, beans, green leafy vegetables) red meats and dairy products. If you are unable to get it through these sources consider supplementing with a multivitamin.   You may also wish to see a physician for a full work up of these symptoms.  Good luck!

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Response by:

Esa M Davis, MD, MPH Esa M Davis, MD, MPH
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University