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Posts Tagged ‘B12 anemia’

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

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013



Many people who are diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency are surprised to learn that their vitamin B12 levels have been plummeting for years, despite exercising and following a healthy low-fat diet. Here are some risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency, and warning symptoms that many doctors overlook.

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

Nearly half of the American population has some form of vitamin B12 deficiency, and most don’t even realize it…

Only after you go to the doctor for symptoms of tiredness, depression, memory loss, or painful numbness, and are told after taking a blood test that your vitamin B12 levels have been dropping steadily for several years does B12 deficiency finally come under the radar.

Also read: Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Crisis?

Why does vitamin B12 deficiency happen?

There are many risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency, but for the most part, they can be broken down by 1) diet, and 2) vitamin B12 malabsorption.

Vitamin B12 deficiency from diet

Two out of three people diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency aren’t getting enough in their diets.

Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. As a result of low-fat and vegan dieting, many of the foods that are highest in vitamin B12 have all but disappeared from the average American diet.

How often do you consume the following B12-rich foods?

  • Clams
  • Oysters
  • Crab
  • Halibut
  • Organ meats (liver, heart, kidneys)
  • Lean beef

If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet…

If you have been advised to shun beef in favor of low-fat turkey and chicken (which have very small amounts of vitamin B12)…

Or if you consume mostly restaurant or processed foods, then you aren’t getting nearly enough vitamin B12 in your diet to prevent severe depletion by the time you reach your 30s and 40s.

Vitamin B12 malabsorption

Another third of people who suffer from severe vitamin B12 deficiency are unable to digest the nutrient efficiently from food sources.

So, even if you eat plenty of meat and fish- and even in you take regular vitamin B12 pills- you may still develop potentially life-threatening and debilitating vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, if you fall into any of these qualifying risk factors:

  • You are over the age of 50, so unable to produce enough stomach acids to break down vitamin B12
  • You have a family history for pernicious anemia
  • You have autoimmune disorders, including an intrinsic factor antibody that occurs with pernicious anemia, preventing you from absorbing vitamin B12
  • You have had stomach or intestine surgeries, either for weight loss, treatment of ulcers, or Crohn’s disease
  • You have some form of atrophic gastritis
  • If you suffer from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, celiac, or other commonly comorbid conditions

What Causes Vitamin B12 Malabsorption?

Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe nerve damage, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, bone loss, dementia, clinical depression, and rarely, death.

Here are some often overlooked signs that may indicate vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • Depression
  • Constant fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Hallucinations
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Disorientation
  • Brain fog
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Tinnitus (ear ringing)
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness and spasms
  • Burning mouth syndrome
  • Sore, red smooth tongue
  • Difficulty controlling arm and leg movements
  • Frequent falling and dropping things

Top Ten Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency


Doctors recommend at least 1,000-2,000 mcg doses of vitamin B12, taken as needed- once monthly or weekly, depending on the severity of symptoms.

Since vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient, it is perfectly safe to take as much as you need in order to replenish vitamin B12 levels and alleviate symptoms that occur with vitamin B12 deficiency.

For optimum absorption and effectiveness, patients should use non-dietary vitamin B12 supplements that are secreted directly into the bloodstream, and do not require swallowing or digestion through the stomach.

Your turn!

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:

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Real Illness?


B12: The Beautiful Molecule

Image courtesy of Ambro/freedigitalphotos

Is it Anemia from Vitamin B12 Deficiency, or Low Iron?

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013



Constant fatigue, dizziness, and brain fog may be a sign that you’re suffering anemia, either from vitamin B12 deficiency, low iron, or one of many other factors that cause your red blood cell supplies to dip to dangerously low levels. Listed below are some of the major types of anemia, including pernicious anemia, and some of the risk factors involved.

Is it Anemia from Vitamin B12 Deficiency, or Low Iron? B12 Patch

Please note: The following information is not medical advice; if you suspect you suffer from anemia, then please speak to a physician immediately.

What is anemia?

Basically, anemia is a set of conditions that occur when your body doesn’t have a healthy supply of red blood cells. Anemia can occur from blood loss, exposure to toxins, autoimmune illness, or vitamin deficiencies, such as low vitamin B12 or iron.

Overall, there are over 400 types of anemia, all of which can be broken down into three categories:

Anemia caused by loss of blood, such as following an injury or complications during pregnancy

Anemia caused by depleted red blood cells, either as a result of slowed production or deformed blood cells (such as with pernicious anemia)

Anemia caused by damaged red blood cells

What causes anemia?

Different types of anemia are categorized according to their cause. For example, pernicious anemia is caused by low levels of vitamin B12, and folate deficiency anemia is caused by insufficient folic acid.

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

The many types of anemia include:

•Pernicious anemia, a type of megaloblastic anemia, which occurs when the body produces large, irregularly shaped red blood cells that are unable to deliver oxygen. This used to be considered a fatal condition, but thanks to the discovery of vitamin B12 supplementation, the mortality rate associated with pernicious anemia has dropped considerably, although there are still rare cases of infants failing to thrive as a result of unaddressed vitamin B12 deficiency in the mother while pregnant or nursing.

•Iron deficiency anemia symptoms occur because your body is not getting enough iron, an essential mineral for producing hemoglobin. Increasing your dietary or supplemental intake of iron is necessary in order to reverse symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, and loss of concentration.

•Chronic disease anemia results from a chronic condition interfering with red blood cell production; examples include anemia associated with Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis.

•Anemia from blood loss can result from excessively heavy menstruation, childbirth complications, severe injury, or ulcers.

•Aplastic anemia is an extremely rare condition that occurs when your bone marrow is not able to produce red blood cells; this is a fatal type of anemia that may result from autoimmune disorders, infections, or dangerous drug interactions.

•Sickle cell anemia is a genetically-inherited condition, and results from deformed red blood cells that are unable to thrive.

•Bone marrow disease anemia happens when red blood cell production in the bone marrow either slows down, or comes to a complete halt. Illnesses associated with bone marrow disease are leukemia, multiple myeloma, and lymphoma.

Find out how anemia is diagnosed, treated, and prevented in our next installment.

Your turn!

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:

Pernicious Anemia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Which Causes Which?

Can Vitamin B12 Repair Nerve Cells?

Is it Pernicious Anemia or Multiple Sclerosis? Part 1


Understanding Anemia: Types, Symptoms and Treatment

Anemia Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diet, and Treatment

Image courtesy of rpongsaj/flickr

What your Gums have to Say about your B12 Level

Thursday, May 26th, 2011



Are bleeding gums a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency? If your body isn’t getting enough vitamin B12, it will let you know in many ways. You might experience symptoms such as fatigue, nerve pain, and memory loss, in addition to change in the appearance of your hair, skin, nails, and gums. That’s your brain telling you to eat some more foods that have B12, such as lean meat, fish, eggs and cheese.


You also need vitamin B12 in order to produce plenty of red blood cells. People who suffer vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia are at risk for depletion of red blood cells and severe nerve cell damage.

Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Three Reasons Why You Might Not Be

Swollen Gums

Bleeding and swollen gums can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. Some clear signs are painful, sore gums that bleed every time you brush or floss. Additionally, you might also have gingivitis, a gum disease. If soreness and redness persists, see a dentist, as well as your doctor for a vitamin B12 blood screening test.

Pale Gums

Aplastic anemia occurs when your body stops making enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, causing many different bodily functions to malfunction.

  • Low red blood cells mean that your body is not getting hemoglobin, which in turn can cause fatigue, dizziness, headaches and cold hands and feet. Checking your B12 level will determine if vitamin B12 deficiency is causing your anemic condition.
  • Low white blood cells signals a low immunity. White blood cells are needed to fight infections, so a deficiency of white blood cells could result in autoimmune disease, fever and frequent flu-like symptoms. (Also read AIDS with B12 Deficiency.)
  • Blood platelets are used to stop the bleeding when you get a cut. A low platelet count often causes multiple bruising, pale gums that bleed, nosebleeds and cuts that don’t heal.

Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

In addition to regulating your red blood cell supply and brain functions, vitamin B12 is also essential for monitoring DNA synthesis, restricting homocysteine levels and protecting the nervous system. Deficiencies of vitamin B12 may cause:

  • Sleep problems
  • Weakness
  • Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
  • Altered taste perception
  • Visual disorders
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased risk for stroke

For more info on preventing B12 deficiency, read:

Avoiding Vitamin B12 Deficiency while Breast Feeding

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