What Vitamin Deficiency Causes You to Feel Cold? Identifying The Vitamin Shortfalls


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.

Vitamin Deficiencies That Reduce Body Heat

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:

◾️ Circulation

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.

◾️ Metabolism

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:

➔ Anemia

➔ Hypothyroidism

➔ Diabetes

➔ Poor circulation

➔ Autoimmune disorders

➔ Kidney or liver disease

➔ Cancer

➔ 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

Weight loss or gain

– 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:

  • Sip warm beverages like tea, coffee, and broth. Avoid excessive alcohol, which can dilute blood and increase heat loss.
  • Have warm, nutrient-dense meals and snacks. Good food fuels your metabolism to generate warmth.
  • Take warm baths, use heating pads, and cuddle under electric blankets to ease chills in the evenings. 
  • Limit time outdoors in very cold weather. Bundle up when you go out.
  • Wear layers of natural fabrics, wool socks, and gloves or mittens to trap heat.
  • Get regular light exercise like walking to boost circulation and metabolism.
  • Open blinds during the day to soak up warmth from the sunlight.
  • Set your home thermostat a few degrees warmer. 
  • Snuggle with pets or loved ones to share body heat. 
  • Consider trying supplements like fish oil, magnesium, or ginseng which may support circulation and provide light natural warming.


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

1. What vitamin deficiency causes you to feel 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.

2. Why am I cold all the time?

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. 

3. What does it mean if your hands and feet are always cold?

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.

4. How can I raise my body temperature?

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.

5. What vitamins help with circulation?

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.

Dr. Jun Ren is a dedicated and experienced registered dietitian and nutritionist who is committed to helping people achieve their health goals through personalized nutrition plans. With a passion for promoting healthy eating habits and preventing chronic diseases, Dr. Ren has been able to assist numerous clients in improving their overall quality of life.

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