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Posts Tagged ‘Autoimmune diseases’

Lupus and Vitamin B12 Deficiency- What’s the Connection?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011



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.


Cruising for a Bruising? Choose Vitamin B12 Shots or Anemia

What is lupus?

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).


100 Best Sites for Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Information

Symptoms of B12 deficiency

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.

6 Degrees of Vitamin B12- B12 Deficiency and Autoimmune Disease

How does lupus mimic vitamin B12 deficiency?

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.

  • LUPUS AND VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY- WHAT’S THE CONNECTION? WWW.B12PATCH.COMCognitive 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:

Vitamin B12 and your Bones- Osteoporosis from B12 Deficiency

Female Rapper Missy Elliot, 15 Celebs with Thyroid Disorders

Best 15 Twitter Feeds to follow for Autoimmune Disease Info

7 Celebs with Lupus


Lupus Hope- Get Your B12 Levels Checked!

Lupus Foundation of America- Blood Disorders

Vitamin B12 For Lupus & Crohn’s Disease- LIVESTRONG.COM

What is Lupus?

Image credits, from top:

Ton Haex, taysm, grietgriet

Celiac and B12- Celiac Disease and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Friday, October 28th, 2011



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.

(Read Feed your Brain Something You’ll never Forget)

Some side effects and/or complications that may arise unless you receive treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Distractedness
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Loss of physical balance
  • Tingling-numbing in extremities
  • Red, swollen tongue
  • Altered taste perception
  • Malnourishment
  • Anemia
  • Increased risk for heart disease or stroke
  • Osteoporosis
  • Liver disease
  • Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • Severe neurological damage


What is celiac disease?

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’s disease, Crohn’s disease, 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).

Parasitic Worms for Crohn’s Disease- Friendly Gut Bugs

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:

  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Crohn’s disease
  • 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:

Absorbing Vitamin B12, a Metabolic Gastrointestinal Journey

6 Degrees of Vitamin B12- B12 Deficiency and Autoimmune Disease

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


Anemia-B12 Deficiency- University of Maryland Medical Center

Celiac Disease & Vitamin B12 Deficiency- LIVESTRONG.COM

Vitamin B12 deficiency in untreated celiac disease- PubMed – NCBI

Images, from top: Artis.Rozentālsphotostock, rmkoske, Cooking Gluten Free

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