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Common types of anemia which cause constant fatigue, light-headedness, and dizziness include vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, low iron anemia, or anemia associated with chronic illness. To find out the cause of low red blood cells, it’s important to get diagnosed and receive proper treatment.
Please note: The following information is not medical advice; if you suspect you suffer from anemia, then please speak to a physician immediately.
What are the symptoms of anemia?
Anemia symptoms occur when you’re not able to sustain adequate amounts of red blood cells, carriers of hemoglobin which supply your body with much-needed oxygen. Symptoms of decreased oxygen, hypoxemia, may vary according to severity.
Common symptoms indicating anemia include:
Chronic, overwhelming fatigue
Shortness of breath
Icy hands and feet
How is anemia diagnosed?
In order to diagnose anemia, your doctor will need to run a series of tests, including:
Blood screening for vitamin B12 deficiency
Complete blood count (CBC)
Iron level test
Tests for autoimmune disorders
Can anemia be cured?
In most cases, symptoms of anemia can be treated easily.
If anemia results from a vitamin B12 deficiency, then immediate vitamin B12 supplementation will eventually alleviate fatigue, vertigo, and heart conditions associated with anemia.
Often, treatment for pernicious anemia from low vitamin B12, or for other vitamin deficiencies requires lifelong supplementation, in order to prevent a relapse of anemia symptoms.
Sometimes, anemia is caused by a chronic condition, such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or leukemia. In such cases, treatment of the primary illness is necessary for complete recovery, as advised by your physician.
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Anemia is a blood condition that results in too few red blood cells in your blood stream. There are several different types of anemia, including pernicious anemia, a cause of vitamin B12 deficiency. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about anemia as posed to the medical community; find out how to prevent anemia and recognize the symptoms.
What is anemia?
Anemia is a condition in which you suffer severely depleted red blood cells, and as a result also lack oxygen, which is carried by red blood cells’ hemoglobin. With pernicious anemia, a depletion of vitamin B12 results in large, misshapen red blood cells that are unable to leave the bone marrow and deliver red blood cells to your body’s tissues and cells.
What causes anemia?
Anemia may occur as a result of chronic illness, such as rheumatoid arthritis or kidney disorder, or it may be caused by vitamin malabsorption, such as vitamin B12 deficiency. In rare cases, anemia is inherited. Sickle cell anemia, for example, may be passed down in the family.
Other causes of anemia are pregnancy, gastrointestinal disorders, and blood loss from surgery or injury.
How many types of anemia are there?
There are hundreds of types of anemia, all varying by cause. The most common forms of anemia are:
The symptoms of anemia vary according to the cause and severity of depleted red blood cells. The onset of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia usually manifests itself as fatigue, sluggish thinking, and painful tingling and numbness in the extremities (hands and feet).
Depending on the cause of anemia, several treatments are effective at replenishing red blood cells and preventing further complications.
For vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, it is essential to supplement with large doses of vitamin B12, immediately. Usually, treatment is given in the form of vitamin B12 injections, to be taken every week, and sometimes tapered off to monthly doses. For many patients of pernicious anemia, additional doses of over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplements are helpful to keep symptoms of fatigue from flaring up and to maintain healthy levels of vitamin B12 between doctor’s visits.
Folate and iron deficiency anemia are likewise treatable with regimented vitamin supplementation.
When anemia is caused by chronic illnesses, the only way to replenish red blood cells is to treat the underlying disease. In some cases, blood transfusions or hormone therapy may help for maintaining red blood cells.
For bone marrow anemia, treatments range from bone marrow transplants to chemotherapy.
Treatments for sickle cell anemia include oxygen therapy, pain relievers, antibiotics, blood transfusions, and vitamin supplementation. Certain cancer drugs are also sometimes used to treat sick cell anemia sufferers.
Not all types of anemia are preventable. To prevent vitamin deficiency anemia, such as vitamin B12 deficiency, eat a healthy diet full of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources.
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based foods such as beef, chicken, liver, seafood, milk, and eggs. Still, it’s important to test routinely for vitamin B12 deficiency, as vitamin malabsorption may prevent you from digesting vitamin B12 naturally from the foods you eat.
Iron deficiency anemia and folate deficiency anemia may be prevented by including leafy green vegetables, iron fortified cereals, pasta, and beans.
To find out more about inherited forms of anemia, seek a genetic counselor.
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Vitamin B12 deficiency causes pernicious anemia, which creates horrible symptoms like painful tingling in your hands and feet, numbness, chronic fatigue, memory loss, depression, and even chronic clumsiness. What’s really behind all these debilitating symptoms, you wonder? Deranged DNA…
You’re mad, I tell you- Mad!
Pernicious anemia (PA) tends to creep up on you, like a scary monster in a B movie. You might not even realize you have B12 deficiency until you start noticing weird symptoms. Your hands and feet fall asleep on you while you sit at your computer. It feels like thousands of fire ants are crawling up your legs. Sometimes, you could swear that your mouth was on fire, like you ate a red chili pepper.
Only you didn’t…
Then PA attacks your brain, causing brain fog. You struggle to find the right words in conversation, left hanging while you awkwardly try to remember what you were trying to say. You walk into a room and immediately forget what you came in for. You forget to buy things on your mental shopping list. You wake up feeling drugged, exhausted, even though you had plenty of sleep the night before.
If you didn’t have your name printed clearly for you on your driver’s license, you just might forget it…
Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disorder in which your body interferes with production of a very necessary protein- intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is produced in your stomach, and you need it to digest vitamin B12 (cobalamin). Without intrinsic factor, your body cannot extract vitamin B12 from food sources like beef, chicken, fish, and eggs. Instead, the vitamin B12 just passes through your intestines, without ever entering the blood stream.
Say goodbye to B12…
DNA production goes awry
If pernicious anemia sounds frightening, it’s because it does wicked things to your body. You need vitamin B12 for many important bodily functions, like protecting the nervous system, enhancing cognitive development, and maintaining adequate supplies of energy.
Most importantly, your red blood cells need vitamin B12 for DNA synthesis. With pernicious anemia, DNA synthesis in the red blood cells comes to a standstill, while RNA synthesis keeps chugging along.
And then, things get really weird…
Franken-DNA is born
The result is microcytic anemia, a type of megaloblastic anemia causing enlarged red blood cells. Not only are your blood cells too big to function normally, but they are also deformed. Your poor large red blood cells remain trapped inside your bone marrow, unable to leave because they have grown enormous in size.
Remember Alice, trapped in the White Rabbit’s house? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.
Hey, where’re all the red blood cells at?
Trapped in your bone marrow! And your body needs red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body. But with vitamin B12 deficiency, very few red blood cells manage to escape their “prison” in your bones, because they are too big to exit. Your red blood cell levels go way down, and you start to feel tired, anxious, and wiry.
Managing macrocytic anemia is simple enough if you know what’s causing it. Pernicious anemia from low B12 levels is just one cause. Other causes of enlarged red blood cells are alcoholism and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), among others. With alcoholism, B12 deficiency symptoms can still be the underlying cause of macrocytic anemia.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be treated with vitamin B12 supplements. However, if your body can’t digest vitamin B12 because of lack of intrinsic factor, then you will have to use vitamin B12 supplements that bypass the digestive system and go directly into the bloodstream.
Examples of vitamin B12 supplementation used for pernicious anemia are routine B12 shots and sublingual B12 pills. The B12 shots require a doctor’s prescription, and can be painful, as they have to be inserted into thick muscular tissue. B12 pills are readily available over-the-counter (OTC). Many patients have reported a burning sensation while using sublingual B12 tablets that dissolve under the tongue.
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Read more about pernicious anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency
Recently, scientists discovered an ancient mutant gene putting vitamin B12 deficiency around the timeline of 11,600 B.C., causing a rare form of vitamin B12 anemia known as Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome (IGS) – the second-oldest disease-causing mutant gene known to mankind.
What causes Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome (IGS)?
According to researchers, mutations in either the amnionless (AMN) or the cubilin (CUBN) gene cause this rare form of vitamin B12 deficiency (IGS), which inhibits vitamin B12 absorption in children born with either mutated gene. Children born with IGS lack intrinsic factor, a chemical required to digest vitamin B12 in food sources, such as beef, chicken, fish, cheese, and eggs, and eventually show symptoms of severe juvenile cobalamin deficiency. This discovery adds to our knowledge that B12 deficiency is an inherited disorder.
What are the symptoms of Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome (IGS)?
IGS originated in the Middle East, affecting children of Jewish, Turkish, or Arabic descent. Children with (IGS) vitamin B12 deficiency exhibit the following symptoms:
Increased risk for infection
Everyday fatigue, regardless of diet or sufficient sleep
Difficulty concentrating, symptoms similar to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Untreated, childhood vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to severe nerve damage. A blood test is required to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, and treatments include constant vitamin B12 injections, as prescribed by your physician- possibly for the rest of your life.
If you’re planning a pregnancy, you might want to check your B12 levels- numerous reports link vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy with miscarriage, spontaneous abortion, and other fertility problems. B12 deficiency anemia- pernicious anemia- makes it harder for women to conceive, as well as for men to produce fertile sperm.
Medical research proves the fertility-B12 deficiency link
One of the most famous studies on fertility and B12 deficiency examined fourteen women of childbearing age who suffered vitamin B12 deficiency:
All women who participated in the study suffered severe vitamin B12 deficiency anemia in addition to low fertility- Four had been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for two to eight years, and eleven experienced repeated miscarriages and spontaneous abortions.
Dr. Michael Bennett, hematologist of the Ha’Emek Medical Center in Afula, Israel, implemented vitamin B12 supplementation to see if it would have any effect on their ability to conceive and have healthy pregnancies.
If fetal loss were to continue despite elevating B12 levels, it would prove that infertility was unrelated to B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia symptoms.
Instead, result showed that ten out of the fourteen test subjects experienced favorable results from vitamin B12 supplements. The results can be found in this study on vitamin B12 and fertility.
Dr. Bennett explains the connection
Bennett notes that B12 deficiency, combined with folate deficiency, led to thrombophilia (blood clotting) in seven of the women studied, thus increasing their risk for miscarriage.
He believes that taking large amounts of folic acid, a nutrient prescribed to women of childbearing age, often masks B12 deficiency symptoms, making it harder to diagnose and treat.
In his conclusion, Dr. Bennett attributes raised homocysteine levels, a symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency, with repeated fetal loss, and over time, ovulation disorder.
“Correcting this deficiency can rapidly lead to a normal pregnancy,” states Bennett. “This study illustrates the importance of measuring B12 levels…in every patient investigated for infertility or recurrent (miscarriage).”
Vitamin B12 benefits your body in many ways- it helps to produce red blood cells, promotes DNA synthesis, guards the nervous system’s myelin sheath, maintains cognitive functioning, lowers homocysteine levels, and supports metabolism.
Left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause severe nerve damage, cognitive disorders, and increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
What symptoms are associated with vitamin B12 deficiency?
Since vitamin B12 interacts with so many different areas of the body, many seemingly unrelated symptoms indicate vitamin B12 deficiency. Pernicious anemia masks itself as mood disorders, diabetes, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, hypothyroid, and other chronic conditions.
Some common symptoms of B12 deficiency:
Painful tingling, numbness or “prickly” sensations, mainly in the hands and feet
Sore, swollen tongue
Altered sense of taste
Loss of balance while walking, running, or jumping
Is there any connection between lupus and vitamin B12 deficiency? That’s a question asked often both by people with low B12 and diagnosed systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Both autoimmune diseases share similar symptoms, and it’s important to know how to tell the difference.
Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is an autoimmune disease that can cause damage to your muscles, bones, organs, and skin tissue. Like other autoimmune disorders, lupus causes your body’s immune system to attack healthy cells tissue, causing swelling, inflammation, and pain. Damage to your system may include kidney damage, heart attack, lung damage, joint pain, and blood diseases such as anemia (more on this later).
Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the US. Even if you eat plenty of sources rich in vitamin B12 (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and milk), your B12 levels may be at risk if you have had bariatric surgery, take antacid medicine for acid reflux, are among the elderly, have a gastrointestinal autoimmune disease like Crohn’s or celiac disease, or if you are a diabetic taking metformin.
Many symptoms of lupus mimic those of vitamin B12 deficiency, making it difficult to determine low B12 levels without taking a vitamin B12 blood test.
Cognitive functioning and mood disorders. Anxiety, depression, headaches, and short-term memory loss are symptoms common to both lupus patients and vitamin B12 deficiency sufferers.
Chronic fatigue. Chronic fatigue shares a comorbid relationship with lupus and B12 deficiency.
Nerve damage. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes neurological damage such as aching joints and arthritis-like muscular pain. Lupus causes swollen joints, arthritis, and inflamed joints.
Shortness of breath is a symptom of low B12 and lupus.
Hair loss. B12 deficiency may cause premature hair loss and greying. Hair loss is also a symptom common to lupus patients.
Mouth ulcers are typical for vitamin B12 patients and lupus sufferers.
Skin rashes are a side effect of chronic B12 deficiency. Likewise, lupus patients suffer skin rashes across the cheeks and nose (malar rash).
Anemia. One of the most highly correlated symptoms shared by vitamin B12 deficiency patients and lupus patients alike is the susceptibility to anemia. Left untreated, pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe nerve damage, red blood cell depletion, and cognitive impairments. More than half of all lupus patients suffer from blood disorders like anemia.
Heart disease. Lupus and pernicious anemia patients alike are at high risk for contracting heart disease.
Bone loss (osteoporosis) is a risk factor for lupus patients and individuals with vitamin B12 deficiency.
Read more about B12 deficiency and autoimmune diseases:
Numerous studies linking elevated homocysteine with mental illness prove that symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency caused by low B12 (cyanocobalamin) in the blood are often mistaken for mental health issues, such as depression, dementia, and schizophrenia.
What is homocysteine?
Homocysteine is an amino acid that your body makes when you eat meat products. Having too much homocysteine in your blood supply causes damage to your arteries and increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.
What is B12, and how does it regulate homocysteine?
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that occurs exclusively in animal-based foods such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, and milk products. Some of the riches sources of vitamin B12 are organ meats (liver, heart), oysters, and clams.
Together with vitamin B6 and folic acid, vitamin B12 helps break down homocysteine and keep them at a safe, healthy level. Without sufficient stores of these essential vitamins, homocysteine levels would escalate, leaving you at a high risk for developing diseases associated with elevated homocysteine levels, such as neurological impairments and cardiovascular disease.
Elevated homocysteine plasma levels are one of many symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
What illnesses are associated with elevated plasma homocysteine levels?
Scientists believe that homocysteine is behind a wide variety of conditions and illnesses, from visual problems and eating disorders, to heart disease and schizophrenia.
Currently, most scientists agree that elevated homocysteine levels share a significant correlation with the following diseases:
Atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries)
Increased risk of heart attacks
Increased risk of strokes
How many studies link elevated plasma homocysteine levels with mental illness?
A growing number of scientific studies prove a significant correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency, homocysteine levels, and mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, depression, chronic fatigue, dementia, and even eating disorders in women.
1- In Beersheva, Israel, a study focused on treating patients of Alzheimer’s and cerebrovascular disease with folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 supplements. In this randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, scientists of Ben Gurion University noted dramatic cognitive benefits in patients who received the vitamin supplements.
2- In Boston, Massachusetts, a Tufts University study linking low vitamin B12 and cognitive impairment in the elderly noted a direct correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and anemia, macrocytosis, and cognitive problems such as dementia.
4- Elevated plasma levels of homocysteine in females with eating disorders were also the focus of this German study that linked excessive homocysteine with depression, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
5- A Swedish study on older patients with mental illness concluded that age and plasma homocysteine levels more accurately predict cognitive functioning skills than brain imaging, as measured by the Mini mental state examination (MMSE).
Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency and mental illness:
Celiac disease and vitamin B12 deficiency are interrelated, but many celiacs are unaware of the high risk for developing vitamin B-12 deficiency. Like celiac disease, vitamin B12 deficiency is sometimes an autoimmune disorder brought on by pernicious anemia.
What is vitamin B-12?
Vitamin B12, “cyanocobalamin,” is an essential nutrient that occurs in protein foods, such as beef and chicken liver, oysters, shrimp, cheese, yogurt, and eggs. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, and is stored in the liver.
B12 is crucial for healthy red blood cell production, for protecting your nervous system, for supporting cardiovascular health, and for sustaining normal cognitive functioning, such as memory, thinking skills, and logic.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency?
If you are unable to sustain sufficient amounts of B12 in your liver, then you may start to feel tired, depressed, and disoriented. You might notice a numbing or tingling sensation in your hands and feet, described as “pins and needles.”
You might also notice that you have a hard time remembering important dates or meetings, or finding the right word while talking to somebody or sending an e-mail.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac patients and others with gluten intolerance must avoid all products containing gluten- baked goods, packaged snacks, and a long list of food additives- in order to avoid symptoms.
Celiac disease is one of many autoimmune diseases that occur with vitamin B12 deficiency. With celiac, patients who eat any foods containing gluten experience painful symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and achiness. That is because their immune system identifies gluten as a threat, and begins to attack traces of gluten in the digestive system, causing severe damage to the intestinal tract.
Why are celiac disease patients at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency?
Scientists don’t claim that celiac disease is an outright cause of low vitamin B12, but they have noted a strong correlation- enough to warrant extensive research and recommendations.
In order to digest nutrients such as vitamin B12 properly, you need to have a healthy digestive system. People with autoimmune diseases that cause gastrointestinal damage, such as Hashimoto’sdisease, Crohn’sdisease, and celiac diseases, are unable to absorb nutrients from dietary sources because of damage to their stomach linings, small intestines or colon.
For them, malabsorption often leads to anemia, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, and peripheral neuropathy in the hands and feet (thus the tingling and numbness).
Celiac disease patients, and others who can’t absorb vitamin B12
Besides celiac disease, other factors can make it difficult for your body to absorb enough vitamin B12:
Inability to produce intrinsic factor, a necessary protein for B12 vitamin absorption
Gastrointestinal surgeries (gastric bypass, IBD surgery) that involve removing your ileum, a part of your small intestine that helps you digest vitamin B12 from food
Long-time usage of heartburn medications
Following a vegan diet
Does following a gluten-free diet cure vitamin B12 deficiency?
Not entirely; according to research by the University of Edinburgh, people who suffer celiac disease, but do not receive treatment, have a 41% chance of developing vitamin B12 deficiency.
In celiac patients who started following a gluten-free diet, most of their symptoms disappeared. However, a significant amount of celiacs continued to suffer neuropathic symptoms such as tingling and numbness, and those side effects did not disappear until they brought their vitamin B12 levels back to normal with routine vitamin B12 supplements.
Read more about preventing vitamin B12 deficiency:
Vitamin B12 deficiency can start with a few symptoms like tiredness and slight tingling or numbness in hands and feet; ignore the symptoms and low B12 levels could escalate into severe nerve damage, disease or death.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Below is a list of some of the most common side effects which may arise from insufficient stores of vitamin B12.
(Please note that the severity of the symptoms may vary according to the stage of B12 deficiency.)
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient. Therefore, your body is only able to store it for a short time. Vitamin B12 has many important functions in your body.
Vitamin B12 is essential for producing plenty of healthy red blood cells and for synthesizing DNA. A lack of B12 severely reduces your body’s ability to make sufficient red blood cells for carrying oxygen throughout your body.
Pernicious anemiais a life-threatening condition that is often the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Your nervous system is dependent on vitamin B12, which enhances communication between the brain and your many nerve sensors, such as those in your fingertips, feet and mouth. This explains why sufferers of B12 deficiency notice a sensation similar to wearing gloves throughout the day; others report that their food tastes unusual, another clue that the body’s neurons are not operating correctly.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 compromises your nervous system and could result in permanent neurological damage.
Researchers have found a direct link between vitamin B12 deficiency and brain atrophy among the elderly. In one study which appeared in the Journal of Nutrition, senior citizens who had the highest levels of B12 experienced healthier cognitive functioning skills.
Vitamin B12 helps your body monitor already healthy homocysteine levels, a factor in heart health.
What diseases are associated with B12 deficiency?
There are many illnesses which occur when B12 levels are low; some conditions may be caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, while others are closely correlated. Below are some common illnesses associated with B12 deficiency, including many which most people don’t realize are affected by vitamin B12 levels.
Alzheimer’s disease, brain deterioration, cognitive decline, memory loss and other forms of dementia
Neurological diseases such as Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Cardiovascular disease, caused by high homocysteine levels
Mental illness, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis
Autism spectrum disorder
Autoimmune diseases, such as AIDS and pernicious anemia
According to aTufts University study, 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have low to medium-low B12 levels, indicating a deficiency severe enough to cause neurological disorder symptoms, while 9 percent are depleted enough to the point of irreversible neurological damage and life-threatening symptoms. Approximately 16 percent are close to becoming vitamin B12 deficient.
Why is vitamin B12 deficiency overlooked?
Only a blood test can properly determine if somebody is suffering from B12 deficiency, and most physicians don’t include a B12 screening with yearly check-ups. Also, many of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are similar to common health disorders, such as diabetes, chronic depression and fatigue.
How can you get enough B12?
Vitamin B12 is found in many high protein foods. Excellent sources of B12 are:
Lean beef cuts, such as chuck and sirloin
Fish, particularly salmon, tuna and halibut
Shellfish, including crab meat, mussels, clams and oysters
Dairy products, such as swiss cheese, yogurt, milk and cottage cheese
Vegans are at a high risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency, as their diet specifically excludes food items which provide vitamin B12. Other people who are at risk of getting B12 deficiency are patients of weight loss surgery, diabetics on metformin, individuals with gastrointestinal disease, people who lackintrinsic factorand anybody taking prescription heartburn medication.
The only way to prevent becoming deficient in vitamin B12 is by constantly replenishing your body with B12-rich nutrients.
Alternatively, patients diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency are encouraged to take vitamin B12 supplements, such as sublingual B12 tablets, B12 shots, or over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12.
Find more information on preventing vitamin B12 deficiency:
Most of us eat about 15 mcg. of Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)everyday, which is more than the USRDA of only 2 mcg. Good sources include most meat, fish and dairy products. However, scientists recommend 200 times that amount in order to prevent getting Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Why you need Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is necessary for healthy red blood cell reproduction and neurological functioning. A deficiency can have serious consequences which, left untreated, can be life threatening.
Diseases resulting from Vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Combined systems disease
Loss of short-term memory, dementia
Increased likelihood for heart attack or stroke
Three Causes for Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Foods that are highest in Vitamin B12 include shellfish, liver, beef and cheese. Vegans are at high risk of developing Vitamin B12 deficiency and must take regular vitamin supplements to compensate.
2) Malabsorption syndromes
Some people are unable to utilize the Vitamin B12 found in food products and tend to develop Vitamin B12 deficiency. Pernicious anemia is an example of an autoimmune disease which results from a low presence of the intrinsic factor antibody, which attaches itself to and aids in the absorption of Vitamin B12.
3) Gastrointestinal causes
Dyspepsia, or indigestion, is another common cause of low Vitamin B12 since excess stomach acids make it difficult for the body to absorb Vitamin B12 properly.
Sufferers of Crohn’s disease are at particular risk and must supplement with vitamins in order to avoid severe malnourishment.
Patients who have had gastric bypass or other intestinal surgery are likely to develop B12 deficiency due to bacterial residue.
Treatment for Vitamin B12 Deficiency
See a doctor immediately if you suspect you have Vitamin B12 Deficiency; a simple blood test is all that is required for a diagnosis.
Once Vitamin B12 deficiency is determined your physician will prescribe a regimen of Vitamin B12 supplements, usually in the form of intramuscular injections followed up by sublingual tablets.