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Which Antacids cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

December 22nd, 2013

 

 

In a recent study on vitamin B12 deficiency and antacid medications, doctors from Kaiser Permanente found further evidence proving that people who take stomach acid-inhibiting drugs for GERD (acid reflux) and heartburn are more likely than others to develop significant vitamin B12 anemia over time.  Side effects include memory loss, fatigue, and nerve damage.

Antacids, Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you suffer from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), chronic heartburn, or peptic ulcers, then you’re chances of developing vitamin B12 deficiency (aka pernicious anemia) are higher than normal, according to a California study published in JAMA.

Vitamin B12 and the stomach

In order to digest vitamin B12 from the foods you eat, your body uses digestive enzymes produced in the stomach; without these essential stomach acids, you would not be able to absorb vitamin B12- it would just pass through the digestive system untouched.

And such is the case with patients using certain antacid medications to treat chronic acid reflux, stomach ulcers, painful heartburn, and esophageal strictures. By inhibiting the production of peptic acids, you also inhibit digestion of vitamin B12, resulting in vitamin B12 malabsorption- a widespread cause of vitamin B12 deficiency, or pernicious anemia.

Likewise, elderly individuals who stop producing sufficient stomach acids as a result of old age are also at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.

Quick note: A deficiency in stomach acids is equal to a deficiency in vitamin B12.

Which antacid medications cause B12 deficiency?

In the Kaiser study, doctors examined patients using proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine 2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) who also had vitamin B12 deficiency.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop taking these medications; rather, it’s important to check your vitamin B12 levels regularly if you use any of the following antacid medications long-term:

  • Omeprazole (Prilosec)
  • Esomeprazole (Nexium)
  • Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Famotidine (Pepcid)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac)

Quick note: If you use PPIs or H2RAs, then check your B12 levels yearly, at least.

Is vitamin B12 deficiency serious?

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe nerve damage, dementia, and increased risk for heart attack and stroke.  (Remember, pernicious anemia used to be a fatal disease until scientists learned to treat it with vitamin B12.)

However, even the earliest and middle stages of vitamin B12 deficiency can be extremely debilitating- enough to make daily functioning difficult and tiring.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency:

Listed are common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency which are often overlooked or misdiagnosed:

  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Memory loss
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms
  • Poor motor control
  • Gait problems, difficulty walking straight
  • Poor balance
  • Loss/increase of appetite
  • Sleep problems

Stomach Bloating from B12 Deficiency? Yes, It Happens.

How do I know if I have vitamin B12 deficiency?

Once you start noticing even the earliest symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, that’s a sign that your vitamin B12 levels have already dropped to a dangerous low. So, it’s important to start treating immediately.

A simple blood test may indicate if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, but it’s best not to wait for diagnosis to begin supplementing. Vitamin B12 is safe to use in any amount, so there’s no harm in taking “too much,” but there can be negative ramifications if you wait too long to begin restoring your vitamin B12 levels.

Also, the median used to determine vitamin B12 levels is too low to catch the earliest signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Quick note: Symptoms are a better indicator of vitamin B12 deficiency than lab tests.

Which types of vitamin B12 are best?

With vitamin B12 malabsorption, vitamin B12 pills are useless, as they pass through the stomach undigested. Instead, your doctor may prescribe vitamin B12 injections which must be inserted directly into the muscular tissue of the thigh, arm, abdomen, or buttocks.  Depending on the level of anemia, you may be required to take vitamin B12 shots monthly or bi-monthly.

You may find that monthly sessions of vitamin B12 shots are not enough to make you feel “normal” again. If that’s the case, then it’s helpful to take extra doses of vitamin B12 between injections.  Just make sure to use types of vitamin B12 that pass directly through the skin’s layer into the blood.

Quick note: If you can’t digest vitamin B12 in the stomach, then you have to manually insert it into your blood stream through the skin.

Also read:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Caused by H. Pylori Infection

Gastrointestinal Surgery for Crohn’s (IBD) and B12 Warnings

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles

20 Awesome Gifts for Chronic Pain and Fatigue

December 16th, 2013

 

 

Gift-shopping for a friend or relative with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue (ME/CFS) can be challenging, but it’s also a great opportunity to show them how much you care. If you know somebody who suffers from daily exhaustion, chills, and pain all over the body, then they’re sure to appreciate some of the holiday gifts and stocking stuffers listed here.

20 Awesome Gifts for Chronic Pain and Fatigue

    Here are 20 gifts for people who experience chronic pain and fatigue- these would be well received any time of year!

  1. Month supply of the B12 Patch- vitamin B12 deficiency anemia causes weakness, tiredness, memory loss, brain fog, and depression. Vitamin B12 helps boost energy and maintain healthy neurological functioning in people suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
  2. Weighted electric blanket, excellent for soothing sore joint and muscles and chasing the chills away.
  3. Heated mattress pad- like sleeping on a warm bed of cushions!
  4. Body pillow by Leachco- this is excellent for side-sleepers or anybody who has trouble getting comfortable in bed because of aching muscles and backaches.
  5. Roomba- because who has the time- or energy- to clean?
  6. Fuzzy sleepwear (pajamas, robe and slippers) by Dearfoams
  7. Maid service; this would make a thoughtful community gift for a special someone who struggles with chronic pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or diabetic neuropathy.
  8. Care package packed with sweet treats, dried fruit, teas, and mug; if you don’t know somebody’s personal taste, then put together a basket of gift teas, candies, nuts, or coffee.
  9. Gift card for book store, iTunes or favorite coffee shop.
  10. Yoga DVD for beginners, because gentle exercises are therapeutic for people suffering from fibromyalgia and other forms of chronic pain.
  11. Foot spa by HoMedics- soothing bubbles and heat massage the pain away. Toss in a pumice stone as well.
  12. Backnobber- easily massage hard-to-reach pain spots on the back, neck, and shoulders with this S-shaped acupressure tool.
  13. Compression Gloves provide comfort when arthritis or fibromyalgia pain strikes. Helps to keep your hands warm, increases circulation and promotes healing
  14. Soothing sound machine- great for people who have difficulty getting to sleep or suffer from tinnitus ear ringing
  15. Massage oil, scented with lavender or peppermint; or, if somebody you know suffers from migraines or extreme fragrance sensitivity, then choose something fragrance-free.
  16. Hot/cold pad, like this one from Smart Temp.
  17. Hand warmers by HotHands- 40 pairs!
  18. Spa certificate- good for a relaxing massage, salt rub, or facial at a local health spa.
  19. Sleep mask with earplugs, by Dream Essentials.
  20. Under eye concealer, like Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Waterproof Concealer; brighten your face by removing dark under-eye circles.

Do you cope with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or B12 deficiency? Can you think of any other great gift items that you would love to get this year?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles

99 Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms- the Definitive List

December 9th, 2013

 

 

Still think vitamin B12 deficiency is something that can be ignored? If you have any of the most common symptoms- fatigue, depression, memory loss, painful “pins and needles” in the hands and feet- then you may be surprised to learn that there’s a lot more to pernicious anemia than beats the eye.

99 Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms- the Definitive List

Vitamin B12- You need this!

Vitamin B12 is essential for so many primary biological functions that are necessary for survival- your nervous system, hormonal balance, cognitive functioning, metabolism, cell formation, to name just a few. It’s no wonder that when vitamin B12 levels are even marginally low, the results can range from annoying and disturbing to debilitating and catastrophic.

Pernicious anemia

In years past, pernicious anemia from severe vitamin B12 deficiency used to be fatal. Today, thanks to vitamin B12 supplementation, we are able to maintain normal levels of vitamin B12, even in spite of vitamin B12 malabsorption from autoimmune disorders and gastrointestinal illnesses.

But until you learn to recognize the earliest symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, you’re at risk for pernicious anemia and all the damage that it can cause throughout your system.

Symptoms of low B12

Here are 99 ailments that often occur in people with moderate to severe vitamin B12 deficiency, including comorbid conditions and direct symptoms.

  1. Symptoms of anemia- peripheral (megaloblastic) anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency
  2. Painful tingling and numbness in extremities (hands, fingers, toes)- paresthesias
  3. Peripheral nerve damage from demyelination
  4. Poor motor control in arms and legs
  5. Constantly dropping things
  6. Dizziness, poor equilibrium
  7. Gait disturbances, difficulty walking straight
  8. Vertigo, sensation of spinning when at rest
  9. Confusion
  10. Slow thinking, brain fog
  11. Difficulty remembering words or names
  12. Agitation
  13. Depression
  14. Chronic overwhelming fatigue
  15. Poor concentration, attention problems
  16. Difficulty completing tasks
  17. Mood changes
  18. Memory loss
  19. Unusual sudden anger
  20. Psychosis
  21. Age-related dementia
  22. Paranoia
  23. Hallucinations
  24. Anxiety attacks, panic
  25. Sore muscles, painful burning
  26. Tremors, trembling
  27. Frequent muscle fatigue
  28. Difficulty building muscle tissue, even with exercise
  29. Exercise requires several days of recuperation
  30. Neck pain
  31. Headaches
  32. Tight muscle pain in the arms and legs
  33. Joint pain
  34. Morning muscular stiffness
  35. Muscle spasms, twitches
  36. Tender spots as evident in fibromyalgia
  37. Bursitis- pain in elbows, shoulders, and hips
  38. Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold foods- pain in mouth, teeth
  39. Sore tongue, burning sensation
  40. Red tongue that is abnormally smooth, without texture
  41. Canker sores, mouth pain
  42. Sores at corners of mouth
  43. Dry mouth
  44. Altered sense of taste
  45. Unusual thirst
  46. Metallic taste in mouth
  47. Olfactory hallucinations
  48. Pain in bladder without uterine infection
  49. Stomach pain
  50. Nausea
  51. Constant bloating
  52. Difficulty swallowing food
  53. “Frog in throat” sensation
  54. Acid reflux, GERD
  55. Heartburn
  56. Flatulence
  57. Loss of appetite
  58. Constipation
  59. Diarrhea
  60. Esophageal ulcers
  61. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)f, Crohn’s disease
  62. Dairy sensitivity
  63. Unusual weight loss or weight gain
  64. Poor libido
  65. Hormonal problems
  66. Low sperm count
  67. Erectile dysfunction
  68. Infertility
  69. Post-partum depression
  70. Frequent miscarriage, early abortion
  71. Failure to thrive in infancy
  72. Language delays
  73. PMS, difficult menstrual periods
  74. Chronic yeast infections
  75. Early onset menopause
  76. Pale complexion
  77. Heart palpitations
  78. Shortness of breath
  79. Weak pulse
  80. Thyroid disorders- Hashimoto’s
  81. High levels of homocysteine
  82. Sensory issues- hypersensitivity to touch, scents, textures, tastes, bright lights  and noises
  83. Sleep problems, insomnia
  84. Sleep that does not restore energy
  85. Night terrors
  86. Vision problems- blurring, photosensitivity, poor night vision
  87. Optic neuritis
  88. Tinnitus – ringing in ears
  89. Hyperacusis- extreme sensitivity to sounds
  90. Low body temperature, always feeling chilled
  91. Neural tube defect in children
  92. “Electric shocks,” pain that shoots down arms and legs when you bend your neck
  93. Poor reflexes from impaired nerve cells
  94. Frequent bruising
  95. Constantly itchy skin
  96. Eczema
  97. Early graying of hair
  98. Hair loss
  99. Thin brittle nails with ridges

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

7 Reasons for the B12 Epidemic

December 5th, 2013

 

 

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to mental illness, physical impairments, cognitive problems, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, and in certain situations- even death. Many wonder- if that’s the case, then why isn’t vitamin B12 deficiency, aka pernicious anemia, detected early-on, before B12 levels plummet to such an unhealthy, debilitating level?

7 Reasons for the B12 Epidemic

B12 deficiency is hard to find

Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed- slips completely off the medical radar- for a variety of reasons having to do with our method for diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency, in addition to the fact that there are so many illnesses that occur at the same time that have similar symptoms.

(See Top 10 Disorders Linked with B12 Deficiency)

If you already suffer from chronic depression or fibromyalgia, how would you know if you were running perilously close to developing pernicious anemia, unless your doctor screened for it routinely? (Most doctors don’t)

The problem with diagnosing the early signs of pernicious anemia is compounded by the fact that the medical community doesn’t consider it an epidemic anymore- not since scientists discovered a way of curing lethal pernicious anemia with vitamin B12 supplementation.

For many physicians, pernicious anemia awareness is practically an oxymoron.

7 Reasons for the B12 epidemic

Here are some of the main reasons that vitamin B12 deficiency continues to develop among millions of US citizens between the ages of 40 and 65:

1)      The nationally accepted standard for normal levels of serum vitamin B12 is too low to prevent many of the debilitating ailments that occur when levels are moderate to low.

2)      Other tests which can be used to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency, such as the methylmalonic acid or homocysteine test, are often ignored.

3)      The average medical student receives little or no training in how to detect and treat pernicious anemia.

4)      People who are most at risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency- senior citizens, diabetics, autoimmune disorder patients, or recipients of gastric bypass- are rarely reminded to check their vitamin B12 levels.

5)      Elderly citizens who fall frequently aren’t tested regularly for vitamin B12 deficiency, even though gait disturbances, dizziness, and balance problems are typical signs of pernicious anemia.

6)      Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia often mask underlying vitamin B12 deficiency; nevertheless, doctors rarely conduct B12 screenings for patients with dementia, despite scientific evidence proving its beneficial properties for people suffering from memory loss, confusion, and paranoia.

What do you think?

Should pernicious anemia be recognized as an epidemic worthy of more research?

Should we raise our standards for detecting vitamin B12 deficiency, even when levels are moderate to low?

Does your doctor give enough attention to symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss, brain fog, or “pins and needles?”

Also read:

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Pernicious Anemia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Which Causes Which?

Tired All the Time? 30 Likely Causes of Daytime Fatigue

Image courtesy of Hey Paul

Top 10 Disorders Linked with B12 Deficiency

December 4th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a type of anemia that sneaks up on you; symptoms are often masked by other underlying illnesses, and can worsen intense fatigue, depression, anxiety and weakness. Listed below are illnesses and other health conditions that can be helped by diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency and implementing immediate supplementation.

Top 10 Disorders Linked with B12 Deficiency

  1. Anemia- Pernicious anemia occurs with untreated vitamin B12 deficiency. Once considered a fatal disease, doctors can now prevent irreparable nerve damage, cognitive disorders, and loss of red blood cells by executing high doses of vitamin B12, usually for life.
  2. Alzheimer’s disease dementia- Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among elderly citizens. As you age, you lose your ability to digest vitamins from natural food sources. One of the earliest symptoms of declining vitamin B12 levels is memory loss. With age-related dementia, undiagnosed vitamin B12 deficiency can exacerbate symptoms like forgetfulness, confusion, moodiness, and paranoia.  That’s why doctors recommend routine serum vitamin B12 screenings for individuals over the age of 60.
  3. Mental illness- Scientists have found that people with bipolar disorder, chronic depression, or post-partum psychosis respond better to medications when vitamin B12 levels are normal. Conversely, vitamin B12 deficiency in people suffering from mental illness (depression, schizophrenia) results in a worsening of symptoms.
  4. Peripheral neuropathy- Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system, as it supports myelin, a fatty coating that insulates your nerve cells. Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe nerve damage. Symptoms include painful tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, muscle spasms, and poor reflexes.
  5. Multiple sclerosis- B12 deficiency is sometimes misdiagnosed as MS, as the symptoms are similar and both conditions involve a breakdown of myelin. Vitamin B12 deficiency in multiple sclerosis patients can also magnify symptoms of numbness, muscle pain, and fatigue.
  6. Vertigo- Dizziness and vertigo is one of many side effects of vitamin B12 deficiency.
  7. Chronic fatigue syndrome- Severe fatigue can be helped by correcting a vitamin B12 deficiency, as B12 is needed for energy and mental wellness. Also, many chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers also have gastrointestinal disorders that prevent proper absorption of vitamin B12 from foods, leading to lower than normal B12 levels.
  8. Fibromyalgia- Similar to CFS, fibromyalgia is also comorbid with severe vitamin B12 deficiency.
  9. Erectile dysfunction- Many oft-cited scientific reports have seen a link between sexual disorders and abnormally low levels of vitamin B12.
  10. Infertility- Vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy or while trying to conceive can increase your risk for premature birth, miscarriage, and difficulty conceiving.

If you have any of the illnesses listed above, have you been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency? Sometimes, false-negative test results fail to determine vitamin B12 deficiency when symptoms are evident.

Since vitamin B12 is safe to use in even highest doses, doctors recommend supplementing if any of the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency make it difficult to function normally, even without a diagnosis.

Also read

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Menopause Symptoms

Vitamin B12- a Penny a Day Keeps Dementia Away

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Image courtesy of piyaphantawong

Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Millions

December 3rd, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when your blood levels of vitamin B12 drop to an unhealthy low. If you have vitamin B12 deficiency for an extended period, then you are risk for pernicious anemia. Today, experts believe that vitamin B12 deficiency is an overlooked epidemic striking millions of US citizens.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Millions

How common is B12 deficiency?

In 2000, the United States Department of Agriculture stated that nearly two-fifths of all US citizens had some form of vitamin B12 deficiency. Their source of information was the Framingham Offspring Study, which found vitamin B12 deficiency in nearly 40% of 3,000 Framingham, Massachusetts residents between the ages of 26 and 83.

“I think there is a lot of undetected vitamin B12 deficiency out there,” said study author Katherine Tucker.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Today, reports indicate that close to 47 million Americans suffer from middle-low to nearly depleted levels of vitamin B12.

Conflicting reports

So why do government reports such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey claim that the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency among Americans is much lower- closer to 3% with severely low levels, and 20% with borderline B12 anemia?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed and ignored by doctors for many reasons:

First, we’ve been led to believe that pernicious anemia is no longer a fatal or even detrimental disease, so it has essentially fallen off the radar. Many doctors no longer test for vitamin B12 deficiency in their patients, because they believe that it is a non-issue.

Second, standards for detecting vitamin B12 deficiency are remarkably low and inefficient. Serum vitamin B12 screenings only look for lethally-low levels of vitamin B12, which occur only in a rare percentage of people with pernicious anemia. Middle-low ranges of vitamin B12 depletion that nevertheless cause debilitating symptoms are often ignored.

Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging

Finally, even people with “normal” levels of vitamin B12 in their system may exhibit symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, as the blood screenings don’t separate active vitamin B12 from stored vitamin B12. This is an important yet overlooked distinction, as only active molecules of vitamin B12 are able to carry out the biochemical functions necessary for survival.

B12 deficiency in vegetarians

According to a recent report on vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians, vegans are at a higher risk for developing anemia from low vitamin B12 levels compared with vegetarians, and people who follow a vegetarian diet from birth are more at risk than those who made a change to their diet in adulthood.

In the scientific study conducted by the Department of Nutrition Science, the risk for vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians is as follows:

  • Pregnant women- 62%
  • Children- 25-86%
  • Teens- 21-41%
  • Elderly 11-90%

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Signs of B12 deficiency

Some of the early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are often mistaken for chronic depression, anxiety, or age-related dementia. Since vitamin B12 is needed for maintaining myelin, some of the symptoms of low vitamin B12 mimic those of multiple sclerosis.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Memory loss
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness
  • Poor concentration
  • Decreased motor control
  • “Pins and needles” in hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms, twitches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sore, burning red tongue

Do you currently get prescriptions for vitamin B12 shots ? If so, do you feel that you don’t get enough to prevent symptoms between doses?

Also read:

What Causes Vitamin B12 Malabsorption?

Top Ten Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Real Illness?

Image courtesy of xedos4

How to Treat Vitamin B12 Deficiency

November 25th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a type of anemia that can interfere with life, making you feel tired, slow, and sluggish all day, for no apparent reason. If you’ve had your adrenal glands tested and passed with flying colors, then it may be time to get your vitamin B12 blood levels checked for symptoms of constant fatigue and brain fog.

How to Treat Vitamin B12 Deficiency

1) Know the Symptoms

Vitamin B12 deficiency is sometimes misdiagnosed as depression, anxiety, or chronic fatigue. That’s because oxygen depletion caused by severely low levels of vitamin B12 lead to a wide array of ailments. Unchecked, vitamin B12 deficiency can evolve into pernicious anemia, an illness which can harm the nervous system and sometimes result in death.

Symptoms include:

  • Crushing fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Memory loss
  • Brain fog
  • Painful numbness (“pins and needles”) in the extremities
  • Headaches
  • Muscle twitches
  • Loss of balance

Low Energy could mean Low B12- It’s Correlational

2) Get Tested

To confirm that your vitamin B12 serum levels are low, ask for a blood screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and, if possible, an antibody test for intrinsic factor autoimmune disorder- a common cause of pernicious anemia.

But don’t rely on the blood tests alone; standard tests for vitamin B12 deficiency are not always reliable, as they don’t distinguish between active vitamin B12 and resting vitamin B12 being stored in your liver. Also, many patients experience the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency without testing positive for low vitamin B12 serum levels.

Am I Getting Enough Vitamin B12?

3) Find the Cause

If you’re diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, then it’s important to try to find out the cause. There are many risk factors attributed to the initial stages of vitamin B12 deficiency, as well as long-term pernicious anemia.

  • Vegan dieting- vitamin B12 is absent in all natural vegetarian sources. It can only be found to occur naturally in meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products.
  • Family history for pernicious anemia. If a family member was diagnosed with pernicious anemia, then you’re also at risk for developing it.
  • Autoimmune disorders. Sometimes, pernicious anemia occurs because of an autoimmune reaction to intrinsic factor, an essential digestive enzyme needed in order to absorb vitamin B12 from the foods you eat.
  • Stomach damage. If you suffer from any condition which causes damage in the gastrointestinal system, then your risk for vitamin B12 deficiency is very high. These include Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, and irritable bowel syndromes.
  • Gastrointestinal surgery. If you have had bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass, or any other surgery which alters the digestive system, then you must supplement with vitamin B12 for life.
  • Medications that interfere with vitamin B12 absorption, including metformin, protein pump inhibitors, and antidepressants.
  • Old age. As you age, you lose the ability to properly digest vitamin B12. To prevent symptoms of fatigue and memory problems often confused with Alzheimer’s disease, the elderly must supplement with vitamin B12 regularly, and get their vitamin B12 levels checked often.

Will Vitamin B12 Boost Energy if I don’t have B12 Deficiency? YES!

4) Get the Right B12

Depending on the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency, you may need to take vitamin B12 shots or other supplements that deposit vitamin B12 directly into the blood stream. This is the case for almost all people diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency.

If you find that you need more vitamin B12 than your health insurance is willing to provide, then it can help to supplement with extra vitamin B12 from online retailers.

Please tell us

Have you been told to get tested for thyroid dysfunction or depression, but it turned out to be vitamin B12 deficiency?

Image courtesy of Piyachok Thawornmat

Why do I have Numbness in my Fingers?

November 21st, 2013

 

 

If your fingers feel numb and tingly more often than usual, then it can indicate a problem with your nerve endings or blood flow.  Paresthesia- annoying “pins and needles” in your hands, fingertips, feet, and toes happens a lot with vitamin B12 deficiency and other conditions that affect the nervous system. Listed are some reasons that people get painful numbness in the extremities.

Why do I have Numbness in my Fingers?

Nerve damage from vitamin B12 deficiency

Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet are some of the first signs of peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) caused by vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia (severely low vitamin B12). People often complain about their hands or legs constantly “going to sleep” before they even get their vitamin B12 blood levels checked.

The reason for this is that vitamin B12 is absolutely critical for a healthy nervous system, as it helps to maintain myelin, a protective coating that shields your nerve cells from harm and also enhances communication along the network of synapses.

Unchecked, vitamin B12 levels will continue to decline, leading to even worse symptoms of nerve cell damage and other debilitating ailments; depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, brain fog, and memory problems are all conditions linked with pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency.

Pain and Numbness from Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you experience any of the symptoms listed, then see a doctor. Ask for a blood screening for vitamin B12 deficiency. Or, start taking vitamin B12 supplements right away, and see if you notice any improvement. Vitamin B12 is safe to take in any amount, so you don’t need to worry about taking too much.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder that erodes myelin- the same substance the goes under attack with vitamin B12 deficiency. Numbness and tingling is a minor symptom of MS; for some, nerve damage impairs your ability to walk or speak without severe difficulty.

Diabetes

Diabetic neuropathy- nerve damage caused by symptoms of type 2 diabetes- is also a possible cause for constant numbness in your fingertips and toes. If it occurs, speak to your doctor. If you are diabetic, then you should be in the habit of testing your hands and legs for signs of numbness, and checking for wounds.

Help- My Legs keep Falling Asleep!

Carpal tunnel syndrome

If you work at a computer all day, then it’s normal for your fingers to go numb every now and then from the constant tap-tap-tapping at the keyboard. Carpal tunnel syndrome, which you get from repetitive hand motions, is a common cause of pain in the fingers, hands, and wrists. You can also get this from knitting, gaming, and playing the piano.

To treat, make a habit of taking a break every 20 minutes. If you have a hard time remembering, then set a timer to warn you when you should stop, stretch your fingers, and twirl your wrists, even for just a few minutes.

Raynaud’s phenomenon

Common in people with lupus, Raynaud’s disease causes numbness or cooling in the extremities, including the fingers, toes, nose, and ears. This happens because of inadequate blood flow to these areas.

Do you know any other conditions that cause painful numbness in the fingers, hands, legs, and feet? Please comment below!

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Fibromyalgia Pain Types

Image courtesy of Juliana Coutinho

Quick Facts on Vitamin B12- The Energy Vitamin!

November 18th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients for the body- and the hardest to digest, for many people. A water-based B vitamin, cobalamin is essential for the nervous system, blood cells, and for DNA. Yet an increasing number of people don’t get enough vitamin B12 from food, and as a result feel fatigued and disoriented from pernicious anemia.

Quick Facts on Vitamin B12- The Energy Vitamin!

What does vitamin B12 do?

Vitamin B12 is essential for survival; it is involved in some of the most vital processes that take place in the body.

Vitamin B12 helps to maintain production of healthy red blood cells. Without enough vitamin B12 in your system, your body starts producing overlarge irregular-shaped blood cells that cannot function properly, resulting in a depletion of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin.

Vitamin B12 also aids in converting carbohydrates into necessary energy, ensuring that you have plenty of stamina and mental focus during the day.

Vitamin B12 enhances your nervous system functioning by helping to maintain myelin, a fatty coating that surrounds each individual nerve cell.

Vitamin B12 supports cell reproduction and renewal in preventing common signs of aging.

Boost your Metabolism with Vitamin B12

What foods provide vitamin B12?

Foods that are high in vitamin B12 include meats, seafood, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Among these, organ meat and shellfish provide the richest natural source of vitamin B12.

While it’s possible to find vegan products that are fortified with vitamins such as B12, these are not natural forms of the vitamin, and don’t provide the maximum amount needed to maintain healthy vitamin B12 levels.

To prevent deficiency, vegans and vegetarians are recommended to take vitamin B12 supplements on a regular basis.

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is complicated

Vitamin B12 is one of the few nutrients that require a cofactor for proper absorption. It’s not a simple matter of eating plenty of foods the contain vitamin B12, such as beef, chicken, seafood, and dairy products. To complete the digestion process, your body uses a digestive enzyme called intrinsic factor, which bonds to the vitamin and escorts it through your digestive system.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is anemia

If your vitamin B12 levels have been low for a very long period of time, you may have pernicious anemia, a type of megaloblastic anemia that occurs when people are unable to produce intrinsic factor.

Pernicious anemia can result from an autoimmune disorder or it can occur as a result of damage to the stomach lining (gastritis).

If you have pernicious anemia, then you can’t get enough vitamin B12 from swallowing pills or other dietary supplements. Only supplementation with a highly-absorbable form of vitamin B12 that enters directly into the blood stream can reverse the symptoms of severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

Risk factors for pernicious anemia include:

  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Removal of ilium for Crohn’s disease
  • Metformin for diabetes
  • Protein pump inhibitors (PPI’s) for GERD, acid reflux, chronic heartburn, or ulcer
  • Family history for autoimmune disorders
  • Chronic migraines
  • Old age
  • Alcoholism

I Eat Healthy…So How did I Get Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency

By the time you start to notice the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, you are already on a dangerous decline, as it takes years for the symptoms to manifest themselves. Also, blood tests for vitamin B12 deficiency don’t give you ample warning to up your vitamin B12 intake, as they only test for extremely low levels of vitamin B12, and aren’t always even accurate in such screenings.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- How Long does it Take?

Symptoms that indicate vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Constant fatigue, even after sleeping well
  • Depression
  • Slow talking and thinking
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms, eye twitches
  • Difficulty walking in a straight line
  • Sore, burning red tongue

How much B12 do I need?

The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B12 consumption for healthy people who don’t have a deficiency is a scant 2 or 3 micrograms per day. Why then do most vitamin B12 supplements contain a whopping 1,000mcg of vitamin B12 in one weekly dose?

If you are unable to produce intrinsic factor, then you can only digest about 1% of all the vitamin B12 you get from foods, pills, or other supplements.

So, to get the amount you need to keep your B12 levels at a normal rate, you need to take about 100 times the amount any other person would need to stay healthy.

Please tell us…

Have you ever been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency? Do you suffer from chronic fatigue that you can’t explain?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

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If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

Vitamin B12- Good for your Libido!

Suffering from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue? B12 to the Rescue!

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Vitamin B12 for Baby Planning, Preventing Birth Defects

November 14th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients you can take if you’re planning a baby. In countless studies, vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked with fertility-related problems, along with spontaneous abortion and miscarriage during pregnancy. Even if your vitamin B12 levels are tested as normal, you may require an elevated amount to provide your unborn child with optimum health benefits and insure a normal delivery.

Vitamin B12 is Crucial for Baby Planning and Preventing Birth Defects

Neural tube defects

In a study led by the National Institutes of Health it was discovered that women who have abnormally low levels of serum vitamin B12 (cobalamin) before even planning a baby are more likely than others to deliver a baby with neural tube birth defects.

Babies, B12, and Fertility- B12 Deficiency during Pregnancy

One such disorder, spina bifida, is five times more likely to occur when vitamin B12 deficiency is evident before conception.

Miscarriages

Vitamin B12 helps your body control levels of homocysteine, a hormone linked with increased risk for preeclampsia and miscarriage, in addition to heart attack and stroke.

In a study that examined vitamin B12 deficiency and its effect on fertility in women of child-bearing age, scientists found that vitamin B12 deficiency and folate deficiency together can lead to miscarriages caused by thrombophilia (blood clotting).

Also, it was confirmed that the majority of female test subjects with vitamin B12 deficiency suffered multiple miscarriages, spontaneous abortions, and difficulty conceiving.

When vitamin B12 supplements were administered, however, researchers noted a decrease in homocysteine that led to more positive results in childbearing.

Furthermore, doctors warn that taking too much folic acid during your pregnancy may hide symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, making it harder to detect and treat.

Conclusion

Before planning a baby, and additionally during your pregnancy, submit a blood test for vitamin B12 deficiency. Unfortunately, vitamin B12 blood tests are not among the standard screenings given to pregnant women, so you may have to make a special request.

Also, be on the lookout for telltale symptoms, such as crushing fatigue, long-lasting depression, brain fog, slow thinking, and constant “pins and needles” in your hands and feet.

If you’re pregnant, then you should take all the vitamins that your doctor prescribes, including folic acid to prevent birth defects. In addition to that, it’s crucial to get plenty of vitamin B12, as a deficiency in B12 levels will not be apparent even in a blood test, due to the effects of folic acid.

There’s no upper limit for vitamin B12- all amounts are perfectly safe- but the standard dose is 1,000mic, to be taken daily, weekly, or bi-weekly, or as recommended by your physician.

Please tell us…

If you had vitamin B12 deficiency during your pregnancy, were you aware of it at the time?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Pregnancy, Part II: Taking Care of Baby

Vitamin B12- Good for your Libido!

Avoiding Vitamin B12 Deficiency while Breast Feeding

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