Feeling cold, even when in a warm environment, can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. One potential cause is a vitamin deficiency, specifically a lack of certain B vitamins or vitamin D.
Let’s take a closer look at how vitamin deficiencies can make you feel chilled.
Vitamin Deficiencies That Reduce Body Heat
Vitamins are essential nutrients that your body needs in small amounts to function properly. While severe vitamin deficiencies are rare in developed countries, mild deficiencies are relatively common.
Suboptimal vitamin levels can cause nonspecific symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and frequent infections. Additionally, some vitamin shortfalls are linked to feeling abnormally cold.
The vitamins most closely associated with feeling cold are B vitamins (especially B12 and B9/folate) and vitamin D.
B vitamins help your body convert food into energy, while vitamin D supports immune health, bone strength, and other processes. Deficiencies in these vitamins can disrupt your body’s temperature regulation, metabolism, and nerve function in ways that make you prone to feeling cold.
Catching vitamin deficiencies early and correcting them can help resolve symptoms. However, feeling cold can also result from medical conditions like anemia and thyroid disorders.
So it’s important to discuss lingering coldness with your doctor to identify the cause. Addressing any nutritional shortfalls and underlying issues can help you feel cozy and comfortable again.
Why Vitamin Deficiencies Cause Cold Sensitivity?
Your body’s ability to maintain its core temperature relies on many systems working together properly. Vitamins play a key role in regulating temperature by supporting these systems, including:
B vitamins help your body produce red blood cells and preserve nerve function. This keeps blood and oxygen flowing to your extremities. Poor circulation due to B vitamin deficiencies can lead to cold hands and feet.
Your metabolism generates heat by burning calories. B vitamins aid energy production and metabolism. Low levels may cause a sluggish metabolism and chilliness.
◾️ Immune health
Vitamin D boosts immunity by modulating immune cells. Poor immune function due to vitamin D deficiency may make you prone to illness with chills and fever.
◾️ Nerve function
B vitamins aid nerve signaling. Nerve damage from B vitamin deficiencies can impair your ability to sense cold appropriately.
◾️ Hormone regulation
Vitamins like B12 and D help regulate key hormones that influence body temperature. Imbalances may leave you feeling cold.
So in summary, vitamin deficiencies, especially B vitamins and vitamin D, can disrupt circulation, metabolism, immunity, nerve function, and hormone levels in ways that impair your body’s ability to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Key Vitamin Deficiencies That Cause Cold Sensitivity
The vitamins most likely to cause unusual coldness when deficient are:
◾️ Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 aids red blood cell formation, nerve function, and circulation. Low B12 can lead to anemia and nerve damage, causing numbness in the hands and feet, as well as cold sensitivity. Older adults and those with digestive conditions affecting B12 absorption are at the highest risk for deficiency.
◾️ Vitamin B9 (Folate)
Like B12, folate supports healthy red blood cell production and nerve function. Inadequate folate can cause symptoms like icy hands and feet. Certain medications, alcohol abuse, and poor diet can contribute to low folate levels.
◾️ Vitamin D
Vitamin D regulates calcium levels and supports immunity. Vitamin D deficiency is common in cooler climates and the winter when sunlight exposure is limited. Symptoms like recurring infections, bone pain, and feeling cold may indicate low vitamin D.
◾️ Other B Vitamins
Deficiencies in vitamins like B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6 are less commonly associated with cold sensitivity. However, they can cause nerve problems, poor circulation, and slowed metabolism that disrupt temperature regulation.
◾️ Vitamin C
Although more famous for its role in immunity, vitamin C helps your body absorb iron and produce collagen, which is important for circulation and temperature maintenance. Severe vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) can cause cold sensitivity.
When To See a Doctor?
If you feel cold frequently or intensely, don’t ignore it. Schedule a visit with your doctor to identify potential causes. Your doctor can check for vitamin deficiencies and other problems that might explain your cold intolerance, like:
➔ Poor circulation
➔ Autoimmune disorders
➔ Kidney or liver disease
➔ Nerve damage
Based on your symptoms, physical exam, and medical history, your doctor may recommend blood tests to check your vitamin levels and other labs to uncover any underlying issues. Addressing any deficiencies or health problems identified can help resolve your chills and improve your quality of life.
See your doctor promptly if cold sensitivity is accompanied by other symptoms like:
– Fatigue or weakness
– Frequent infections
– Pale skin or shortness of breath
– Numbness or tingling in the limbs
– Diarrhea or constipation
– Muscle aches and pains
These additional symptoms can provide clues to the cause. Your doctor can determine if any treatment is needed based on your test results.
Tips To Feel Warmer
If you have vitamin deficiencies or other conditions causing abnormal coldness, addressing those issues is key. But in the meantime, the following tips may help you feel a little warmer throughout your day:
Feeling uncomfortably cold on a regular basis can significantly impact your quality of life. Vitamin deficiencies, particularly of B vitamins and vitamin D, maybe one contributing factor. These shortfalls disrupt the processes that help maintain normal body temperature regulation.
Addressing any nutritional deficiencies identified through medical testing can potentially help resolve cold sensitivity symptoms. But other conditions like anemia and thyroid disease can also cause these chilling symptoms, so it’s important to consult your doctor.
Treating any underlying causes, along with some warming lifestyle measures, offers the best chance at restoring your normal comfortable temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Feeling cold persistently could be caused by vitamin deficiencies, anemia, thyroid problems, diabetes, circulation issues, or other medical conditions. See your doctor to determine if an underlying problem is making you chilly.
Cold hands and feet can result from poor circulation, often due to inadequate blood nutrients and oxygen. Certain medical conditions also affect circulation. Consult your doctor to determine the cause.
Warm beverages, meals, blankets, clothing layers, proper home heating, sunlight exposure, light activity, and cozying up with pets or others can help mildly raise your temperature when chilled. But check with your doctor if you’re excessively cold.
B vitamins especially B12, folate, and B6 help your body form healthy red blood cells to deliver oxygen and nutrients for good circulation. Vitamin C, E, magnesium, and omega-3s from fish oil also support healthy blood flow.