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Can a vitamin deficiency cause dizziness?

Dizziness is a common symptom that can have many different causes. One potential cause is a vitamin deficiency.

What causes dizziness?

Dizziness refers to feeling off-balance, lightheaded, or feeling like the room is spinning. There are many potential causes of dizziness, including:

  • Inner ear problems such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) or labyrinthitis
  • Migraines
  • Motion sickness or vertigo
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Dehydration
  • Pregnancy
  • Medications
  • Vitamin deficiencies

Dizziness can be mild and temporary, or severe and require medical treatment. Determining the underlying cause is important.

Can vitamin deficiency cause dizziness?

Yes, certain vitamin deficiencies may cause dizziness or make you more prone to feeling dizzy.

Some key vitamins that can be related to dizziness when deficient include:

  • Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphate levels. Low levels have been associated with dizziness and balance issues.
  • Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause neurological symptoms including dizziness, vertigo, and balance problems.
  • Folate – Folate deficiency may cause dizziness along with fatigue and shortness of breath.
  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps iron absorption. Deficiency may lead to anemia and associated lightheadedness.
  • Thiamine – Thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency can cause neurological symptoms including vertigo and imbalance.

Vitamin D and dizziness

One of the more well-known connections is between vitamin D deficiency and dizziness/balance issues. This important vitamin helps regulate calcium absorption and bone health. Getting sufficient vitamin D is also tied to muscle strength and reducing fall risk.

Studies demonstrate that many adults are low in vitamin D, often due to inadequate sun exposure and dietary intake. Older adults with vitamin D deficiency are more prone to experience:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty walking and balance issues
  • More falls and fall-related injuries
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Improving vitamin D levels through safe sun exposure, foods, and supplementation appears to reduce dizziness and improve strength and balance in those with deficiency.

Summary of research on vitamin D deficiency and dizziness/balance problems:

Study Design Key Findings
Annweiler et al. 2013 Meta-analysis of 17 trials in older adults Vitamin D supplementation reduced risk of falls by 19%. Effects most significant in those with lower vitamin D levels.
Pfeifer et al. 2000 Double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in elderly women Women taking 800 IU vitamin D + calcium daily had significantly better leg muscle strength and balance compared to those taking placebo over 3 months.
Pfeifer et al. 2002 Trial in older men and women Taking 800 IU vitamin D + calcium daily for 2 years increased relative muscle strength by 4-11%. Tandem stance also improved.
Graafmans et al. 1996 Randomized controlled trial in elderly Daily vitamin D supplementation (400 IU) plus calcium for 3 months reduced occurrence of falls compared to no supplementation.

Vitamin B12 and dizziness

Vitamin B12 (also called cobalamin) is an essential nutrient involved in nerve function and red blood cell formation. Deficiency can cause an array of neurological symptoms.

Research indicates vitamin B12 deficiency may manifest with:

  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Loss of balance
  • Abnormal gait
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling
  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Depression

These kinds of neurological symptoms can occur in both adults and older adults with low vitamin B12 levels. In many cases, symptoms including dizziness improve significantly or resolve with B12 injections or supplements to correct the deficiency.

Studies on vitamin B12 deficiency and dizziness/vertigo:

Study Design Results
Brenton et al. 1986 Case study of a man with vitamin B12 deficiency Patient presented with dizziness, vertigo, abnormal gait and confusion. After B12 injections, symptoms resolved.
Stott et al. 1997 Study in elderly adults with balance disorders 31% had B12 deficiency. Treatment improved or eliminated balance issues in 74%.
Karatas et al. 2013 200 patients with peripheral vertigo Vitamin B12 deficiency found in 13.5% of patients vs 4% of controls. B12 treatment improved vertigo symptoms.
Boulet et al. 2008 Literature review B12 deficiency can manifest with vertigo, dizziness, balance disorders. Symptoms often improve with supplementation.

Other vitamin deficiencies related to dizziness

In addition to vitamins D and B12, deficiency in other vitamins may potentially contribute to feelings of dizziness in some people, including:

Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

Thiamine plays key roles in energy production from food and proper nerve function. Severe deficiency can cause beriberi, featuring neurological symptoms like muscle weakness, numbness, and balance problems.


Folate (vitamin B9) deficiency can lead to certain anemias. Anemia reduces oxygen transport in blood, which may cause symptoms like weakness, fatigue, lightheadedness, and palpitations.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C aids iron absorption. Low levels can contribute to iron deficiency anemia which may manifest with dizziness or faintness.

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Severe niacin deficiency can cause pellagra, featuring dementia, ataxia, and peripheral neuropathy which may result in dizziness and balance impairments.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Riboflavin deficiency can have neurological effects including poor balance and coordination.

Diagnosing vitamin deficiency as a cause

Dizziness has many causes, ranging from mild to serious. Vitamin deficiency is one potential cause, but other medical conditions need to be considered and ruled out.

To determine if vitamin deficiency could be contributing to dizziness, a physician will typically:

  • Ask about symptoms and duration
  • Conduct a physical examination
  • Review medications
  • Consider underlying medical conditions
  • Order blood work to check vitamin levels
  • Potentially order neurologic tests
  • Recommend diet/supplement changes if deficiency found
  • Prescribe vitamin supplements or injections if warranted
  • Refer to neurologist or other specialist for additional evaluation if needed

Testing key vitamin levels like vitamins D, B12, folate, and iron panels can help uncover a deficiency contributing to dizziness. Treatment can then focus on correcting the deficiency.

Treating dizziness caused by vitamin deficiencies

If blood tests confirm that vitamin deficiency is likely contributing to dizziness, treatment will aim to increase levels:

  • Diet changes – Increasing intake of foods rich in nutrients the person lacks
  • Oral supplements – Taking vitamin pills to supply higher doses of needed nutrients
  • Vitamin injections – Administering nutrients like vitamin B12 by injection that may be better absorbed, especially for deficiencies
  • Sunlight – Getting regular sunlight exposure to maintain vitamin D levels
  • Reduce alcohol intake – Alcohol can deplete vitamins and make deficiencies worse

In many reported cases of vitamin deficiency causing dizziness or vertigo, supplementation or vitamin injections have significantly improved these symptoms.

However, individuals who experience dizziness should see a doctor to determine the cause and appropriate treatment rather than self-supplementing. Taking mega-doses of vitamins is not recommended unless prescribed by a physician.

Can taking a regular multivitamin help prevent dizziness?

Taking a daily multivitamin that contains 100% of recommended intakes for various vitamins and minerals may help prevent developing a deficiency. However, it’s unclear if this actually reduces dizziness episodes.

Studies looking at effects of multivitamins on dizziness or balance issues have found mixed results:

  • A 2016 study in older Taiwanese adults found that a daily mutlivitamin for 1 year reduced dizziness/unsteadiness compared to placebo.
  • A 2013 study in elderly adults found that 3 months of a daily multivitamin slightly improved standing balance, but did not reduce dizziness.
  • Other studies have found no effects. In a 2020 meta-analysis of 10 trials, multivitamin supplementation did not improve dizziness or balance.

More research is still needed on whether taking a standard multivitamin actually prevents dizziness episodes in those prone to them. However, multivitamins may help ensure adequate intake of key nutrients like vitamins D and B12 that are important for balance.

Other advice for reducing dizziness episodes

For those who experience frequent bouts of dizziness, doctors may recommend:

  • Getting evaluated for underlying medical conditions
  • Preventing dehydration and overheating
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol which can trigger symptoms
  • Trying balance exercises like tai chi which may help improve stability
  • Using a cane or walker for added support when walking
  • Making dietary changes to prevent spikes in blood sugar or sodium which can cause dizziness in some people
  • Getting up slowly from sitting or lying down
  • Taking medications as prescribed
  • Trying mental exercises like mindfulness meditation to reduce anxiety and stress that can worsen dizziness


Dizziness has many possible causes, including vitamin deficiencies. In particular, low levels of key vitamins like D, B12, folate, and iron may contribute to dizziness, balance issues, and falls in some people.

Testing vitamin levels and correcting any deficiencies found through diet changes and supplementation may help improve dizziness, especially in cases related to malnutrition.

However, dizziness should always be evaluated by a doctor to diagnose and treat the underlying cause properly. Other medical conditions need to be ruled out.

While taking a standard multivitamin may help ensure adequate vitamin status, more research is still needed on whether supplements actually prevent dizziness episodes in those prone to them. Additional lifestyle measures can also help minimize occurrences.