What Vitamin Deficiency Causes You to Feel Cold? Exploring the Connection

Feeling cold all the time can be more than just a preference for warm sweaters and hot beverages. In some cases, a constant chill could be a sign of an underlying vitamin deficiency. Identifying and addressing these deficiencies can be an important step in improving overall health and comfort in chilly environments.

Vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin C deficiencies are known to cause sensitivity to cold. When the body lacks sufficient levels of these essential nutrients, it can struggle to maintain normal body temperature and properly circulate blood. For example, pernicious anemia, a condition caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, can prevent the body from producing enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, resulting in cold hands, feet, and a general intolerance to cold temperatures.

To address this problem, it’s crucial to consume a balanced diet rich in these vitamins and minerals. In addition to dietary changes, consulting a medical professional and undergoing proper testing can help determine the cause of the cold sensitivity and provide tailored solutions to improve overall well-being.

Understanding Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin deficiency can occur when the body lacks essential nutrients required for its proper functioning. Such deficiencies can lead to various health issues, and in some cases, make a person feel cold. Nutritional deficiencies can stem from an imbalanced diet, certain medical conditions, or even aging.

Notable vitamin deficiencies that can make one feel cold include low levels of vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin C. These deficiencies can affect red blood cells, decreasing their efficiency in carrying oxygen throughout the body. In the case of vitamin deficiency anemia, red blood cells might be large and underdeveloped, leading to abnormal white blood cells and platelets that decrease in number and have an irregular appearance 1.

Aging can also contribute to vitamin deficiencies, as the ability to absorb certain nutrients diminishes with age. For instance, vitamin D deficiency is more common among older individuals due to their decreased ability to synthesize this nutrient from sunlight 2. Vitamin D deficiency, in turn, can impact bone health and increase the likelihood of feeling cold.

Maintaining healthy blood cells is crucial for regulating body temperature and avoiding cold sensations that can result from certain vitamin deficiencies. It is important to consume a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods to help prevent these deficiencies and maintain overall health.

In conclusion, understanding vitamin deficiency and its effects on the body can help individuals take appropriate preventative measures and address any existing deficiencies that may cause them to feel cold. Ensuring the consumption of a balanced diet and consulting with healthcare professionals when necessary can go a long way in mitigating the risks associated with these deficiencies.

Vitamins and Cold Intolerance

Cold intolerance is a condition where individuals feel an unusual sensitivity to cold temperatures. Some people might experience fatigue, weakness, numbness, shortness of breath, or even headaches when exposed to cold environments. This can be caused by various factors, including vitamin deficiencies.

A deficiency in vitamin B12, for instance, can lead to pernicious anemia, where the body is unable to produce healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. With an inadequate oxygen supply, individuals may notice coldness in their hands and feet, as well as a general intolerance to cold temperatures. Folate and vitamin C deficiencies can also contribute to feeling cold, as these vitamins play a crucial role in maintaining proper body function and temperature regulation.

To alleviate symptoms like weakness and fatigue, one could focus on consuming foods rich in these essential vitamins. Vitamin B12 can be found in meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products, while folate is present in spinach, beans, and lentils. Vitamin C-rich foods include oranges, strawberries, and bell peppers. Incorporating these foods into one’s diet can help balance vitamin levels and reduce cold intolerance symptoms.

It is important to note that other factors, like anorexia, hypothyroidism, and blood-vessel-related issues, can also contribute to cold intolerance. Consulting with a healthcare professional is always recommended when making changes to one’s diet or identifying the root cause of cold intolerance.

In summary, deficiencies in vitamins B12, folate, and C can lead to cold intolerance, causing symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, numbness, shortness of breath, and headaches. Incorporating foods rich in these vitamins may help alleviate these symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Role of Iron and Vitamin B12

Iron Deficiency and Anemia

Iron deficiency is a common nutritional deficiency that can lead to anemia, a condition where there are not enough healthy red blood cells to efficiently transport oxygen throughout the body. This deficiency may cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, weakness, and pale skin, among others. A key component of red blood cells is hemoglobin, which relies on iron to function properly. When there’s not enough iron, red blood cell production slows down, leading to iron deficiency anemia1.

Sources of iron in a regular diet include meats, poultry, fish, beans, and fortified cereals, so the deficiency can often be addressed through dietary modifications. In some cases, iron supplements or intravenous treatments may be necessary to boost iron levels and help alleviate symptoms.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency, a separate but related condition, occurs when the body doesn’t get enough or cannot adequately absorb this essential nutrient from foods such as poultry, dairy, and fish. The deficiency can lead to a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia, which is characterized by larger-than-normal red blood cells and a decreased ability to carry oxygen2. Vitamin B12 is also crucial for DNA synthesis, and a deficiency can result in peripheral neuropathy, where nerves outside the brain and spinal cord become damaged3.

Pernicious anemia is one cause of Vitamin B12 deficiency and involves an autoimmune reaction that prevents the body from absorbing the vitamin properly4. Treatment for low Vitamin B12 levels typically involves dietary changes and supplementation or injections, depending on the underlying cause and severity of the deficiency.

In summary, both iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies can lead to anemia, leaving individuals feeling cold, weak, and fatigued. Maintaining proper intake and absorption of these vitamins and minerals is essential for supporting the production of healthy red blood cells and overall well-being.

Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. It is primarily produced in the skin upon exposure to sunlight, but it can also be obtained through certain foods and supplements.

One of the main functions of vitamin D is to help the body absorb calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Adequate levels of vitamin D help to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis and rickets by promoting bone density. In addition to its role in bone health, vitamin D also supports the immune system, helps regulate cell growth, and contributes to neuromuscular function.

A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to various health problems. Some common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include muscle pain, fatigue, and general weakness. People with low levels of vitamin D might experience an increased risk of infections and may feel cold more often than others. This is because vitamin D plays a role in thermoregulation, helping to maintain normal body temperature.

To avoid vitamin D deficiency, it’s essential to maintain adequate sun exposure, consume foods rich in vitamin D, or take supplements if necessary. Foods high in vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified dairy products. It’s important to note that some people, such as the elderly, individuals with darker skin, and those living in areas with limited sunlight, may require vitamin D supplementation to maintain optimal levels.

In conclusion, vitamin D is a vital nutrient that plays a significant role in various bodily functions, from maintaining healthy bones to supporting immune system function. Ensuring adequate vitamin D levels through sun exposure, diet, or supplementation can help prevent health problems associated with deficiency and promote overall well-being.

Vitamin C and Cold Sensitivity

Vitamin C plays a crucial role in maintaining proper body temperature and immune health. A deficiency in this essential nutrient can lead to increased sensitivity to cold temperatures, making a person feel cold more often.

Low vitamin C levels can be especially problematic for individuals with type 2 diabetes, as it may exacerbate the sensation of coldness due to poor circulation. Additionally, vitamin C is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system, which may help explain the correlation between low vitamin C and a higher susceptibility to cold temperatures.

To combat a potential vitamin C deficiency, incorporating leafy greens and broccoli into one’s diet can be beneficial. These foods are rich in vitamin C and improve overall immune health, thus potentially reducing cold sensitivity. Including other vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries, may also help elevate vitamin C levels in the body and alleviate feelings of coldness.

It is essential to recognize the signs of a vitamin C deficiency, as it may contribute to a range of health issues beyond cold sensitivity. Symptoms may include fatigue, joint pain, and difficulties in healing wounds. By addressing the deficiency through dietary changes or supplementation, it is possible to alleviate the sensation of coldness and support overall health.

In conclusion, vitamin C plays a vital role in maintaining body temperature and immune health. Low levels of this nutrient may cause an individual to feel cold more often, with leafy greens and broccoli serving as potential sources for addressing a deficiency. By prioritizing vitamin C intake, one can ensure their body is prepared to combat cold temperatures and maintain optimal health.

Diet and Vitamin Deficiency

Effect of Dietary Choices

Dietary choices play a crucial role in maintaining adequate vitamin levels in the body. Consuming a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods can help prevent vitamin deficiencies. For example, meat and fish are excellent sources of vitamin B12, which is important for the body’s temperature regulation. Consuming leafy greens, liver, and fortified cereals can provide the body with folate, another essential nutrient.

A diet lacking in certain food groups, such as red meat, can lead to deficiencies in key vitamins needed for body temperature regulation. Vegetarians and vegans may need to be more attentive to their vitamin intake, as they can sometimes miss out on vital nutrients found in animal products like eggs.

Plant-Based Diet and Supplements

Individuals following plant-based diets, such as vegetarians and vegans, may need to rely on supplements or fortified foods to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients. When it comes to maintaining body temperature, it is important to focus on consuming enough vitamin B12, since this nutrient may be scarce in plant-based diets.

Plant-based sources, however, can still provide the body with some necessary nutrients. For example, folate can be found in whole grains, leafy greens, and breads to help support body temperature regulation. Some fortified cereals can also supply plant-based dieters with essential nutrients needed for maintaining body temperature.

Taking a multivitamin or specific supplements can be useful for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet to get adequate amounts of essential vitamins that might be limited in their diet. This extra supplementation can help bridge the gap and support a healthy body temperature regulation in individuals who may be at risk for vitamin deficiency.

It is essential for individuals following any dietary lifestyle to ensure they consume a balanced diet with a variety of foods, including those rich in essential vitamins and nutrients required for optimal body function. Monitoring and adjusting vitamin intake, when necessary, can help prevent deficiencies and maintain proper body temperature regulation in all diet types.

Concerning Health Conditions

Feeling cold could be a result of vitamin deficiency, but there are also various health conditions that may cause this sensation. For instance, anemia caused by a lack of iron can lead to feelings of coldness. This condition can also be caused by deficiencies in vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin C.

Depression may manifest as physical symptoms, such as feeling cold or experiencing hair loss. Individuals with diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes, might face an increased sensitivity to cold due to poor blood circulation. Diabetic neuropathy, which is nerve damage, often results in numbness and a reduced ability to feel temperature changes.

Cold sensitivity might also be linked to kidney disease, where impaired kidney function leads to difficulty regulating body temperature. In some cases, cancer and the respective treatments can induce anemia or peripheral artery disease, both contributing to feeling cold.

Peripheral artery disease, which narrows the blood vessels and limits blood flow to the extremities, might further result in cold hands and feet. Lastly, hair loss can be a sign of vitamin deficiency, but it can also be indicative of more significant health issues, such as thyroid dysfunction or autoimmune diseases.

It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and tailored advice if you experience persistent cold sensations or if it’s accompanied by other concerning symptoms. They will help determine if the cause is due to vitamin deficiency or any underlying health condition.

Medical Interventions

Vitamin deficiency can sometimes cause a person to feel cold. Addressing such deficiencies can help alleviate this symptom. Medical interventions for these deficiencies usually involve the use supplements and injections.

For individuals experiencing coldness due to vitamin deficiencies, oral supplementation is often the first line of treatment. For example, low levels of vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin C are known to affect body temperature. In such cases, taking over-the-counter supplements or consuming foods rich in these vitamins can help improve their levels in the body, thereby reducing cold sensitivity.

If oral supplementation proves insufficient or if the deficiency is severe, a healthcare provider may recommend injections. Vitamin B12 injections, for instance, are commonly administered to those with difficulties absorbing the nutrient from their diet or those with severe deficiencies. These injections bypass the digestive system, enabling the vitamin to be directly absorbed into the bloodstream for quicker and more efficient results.

It is important that individuals experiencing cold sensitivity due to vitamin deficiency consult with their healthcare provider before starting supplementation or injections. A professional assessment will help determine the most appropriate course of action based on the individual’s specific needs.

Regular monitoring is also essential when undergoing medical intervention for vitamin deficiency. Healthcare providers will typically order blood tests to evaluate a patient’s nutritional status and adjust treatment accordingly – this may include increasing or decreasing the dosage of supplements or injections. Maintaining communication with the healthcare provider throughout the treatment process can significantly improve the effectiveness of the intervention.

In conclusion, addressing vitamin deficiencies that cause cold sensitivity involves a combination of supplementation and, in some cases, injections. Medical interventions should be administered under the guidance of a healthcare professional and regularly monitored for optimal effectiveness.


Feeling cold can sometimes be caused by certain vitamin deficiencies. The most common deficiency associated with feeling cold is iron deficiency, which leads to anemia. Anemia hinders the efficient transport of oxygen in the body and may cause individuals to feel cold.

Another vitamin deficiency that may cause cold feelings is a deficiency in vitamin B12. Similar to iron, vitamin B12 plays an important role in red blood cell production, which carries oxygen throughout the body. Low levels of this vitamin may result in less oxygen-rich blood reaching tissues, making it harder to stay warm.

In addition, low levels of vitamin C and folate may also make you feel cold. Addressing these deficiencies should be a priority to resolve the sensitivity to cold.

When experiencing cold sensations, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause. Appropriate guidance and nutritional support can help address these vitamin deficiencies, improve overall health, and eliminate the uncomfortable sensation of coldness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What vitamin deficiencies lead to feeling cold?

Deficiencies in certain B vitamins (especially B12) and vitamin D are most likely to cause cold sensitivity. Low levels affect circulation, metabolism, immunity, and nerve function in ways that can disrupt your body’s temperature regulation.

Which vitamins help with body temperature regulation?

Vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin C play an important role in maintaining your body temperature. These nutrients help in nerve function, red blood cell production, and immune function, all of which contribute to body temperature regulation.

Can low vitamin B12 cause cold sensitivity?

Yes, low vitamin B12 can cause cold sensitivity. Vitamin B12 is necessary for proper nerve function, and a deficiency can lead to nerve damage or dysfunction resulting in sensations of coldness or numbness in the feet.

How does vitamin D deficiency affect body temperature?

Vitamin D deficiency is not directly linked to body temperature regulation; however, it can cause various symptoms, including muscle weakness and a weakened immune system. These factors may indirectly affect your overall feeling of warmth.

What vitamins play a role in maintaining warmth?

Vitamins that play a role in maintaining warmth include vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin C. Ensuring adequate levels of these nutrients can help you avoid cold sensitivity and support your body’s ability to regulate its temperature.

Are cold hands and feet linked to specific vitamin deficiencies?

Yes, cold hands and feet can be linked to specific vitamin deficiencies such as vitamin B12. When the body is deficient in vitamin B12, it leads to pernicious anemia, affecting your body’s ability to make healthy red blood cells needed for carrying oxygen, resulting in coldness in hands and feet.


  1. https://www.everlywell.com/blog/vitamins-supplements/what-vitamin-deficiency-causes-you-to-feel-cold/ 2
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/the-truth-about-nutrient-deficiencies 2
  3. Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anemia | Johns Hopkins Medicine
  4. Pernicious Anemia: Definition, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
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