Does a Vitamin B-12 Deficiency Cause Petechiae?

iJupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Your body used vitamin B-12 to carry out various day-to-day activities and is a key nutrient you must obtain from your diet. Foods such as fish, liver, clams, beef and ham are all good sources of vitamin B-12, though you can also use multivitamins or other dietary supplements if you're unable to get enough through your diet. If you fail to get enough vitamin B-12, you may experience several negative side effects, but red spots on your skin, known as petechiae, are not generally associated with a B-12 deficiency.

Vitamin B-12

Your body uses vitamin B-12 as a vital nutrient in neurological functions, red blood cell creation, and DNA synthesis, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, part of the National Institutes of Health. B-12 is water-soluble, meaning you excrete what you don't use through your urine and have to ingest regular amounts of the vitamin through your diet because your body does not store it.


Petechiae are small, round spots that appear on your skin. These spots typically appear red, brown or purple, similar to a skin rash, but are the result of bleeding that takes place beneath the skin itself, according to Mayo These blemishes do not change or lose color when you press them and are typically quite small, appearing in clusters.

Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

Vitamin B-12 deficiencies typically occur when you fail to get enough of the nutrient from your diet or because your body has a medical condition that makes you less able to absorb it from your food. If you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, you can experience a variety of symptoms that include fatigue, weakness, constipation and loss of appetite, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. You may also experience problems such as tingling in your hands or feet, difficulty maintaining your balance, depression, memory loss and a sore mouth or tongue. However, petechiae are not generally associated with a B-12 deficiency.

Vitamin B-12 Deficiency and Petechiae

You may have petechiae if you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, but that doesn't mean the deficiency causes the skin spots. According to Mayo, petechiae in adults are typically caused by reactions to some medications, as well as medical conditions such as mononucleosis, measles, lupus, leukemia and rheumatoid arthritis. In infants, vitamin K deficiency and infantile scurvy caused by vitamin C deficiency may also give rise to petechiae, though not a vitamin B-12 deficiency.