Welcome to the Vitamin B12 blog! Find information on topics related to vitamin B12. This blog is dedicated to providing up to date research, news and resources pertaining to vitamin B12, general health information surrounding the benefits of vitamin B12. Learn from, and contribute to information on B12, vitamin B12 and other connected subjects. Feel free to participate in blog discussions and contribute your opinion on the related topics covered in the Vitamin B12 blog.
If you didn’t know, one of the many symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency is memory loss. So if you’re suddenly experiencing forgetfulness, then you should do is take a blood test for vitamin B12 deficiency. But aside from “B12 brain fog,” what are some other factors that affect your memory?
Here are five things you shouldn’t do if you’re worried about memory loss, even if your B12 levels are strong.
Go to bed late every night
In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that 28% of people don’t get enough sleep, and that number is probably higher today.
We already know that alcoholics are susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency, in addition to numerous other health problems. And we’ve all heard about the “day after” scenario, when you wake up after a night of alcoholic binging without any memory of what occurred the night before.
Well, researchers wanted to know if people who drink alcohol suffer from memory loss, even when they’re sober. In one test published by Alcohol and Alcoholism, researchers noted delayed recognition in participants within a few weeks of alcohol consumption, even when their blood alcohol levels were near zero.
Eat a high fat, low carb diet
If you need another excuse to switch to a low-fat diet, it might help to know that it will make you smarter. In several studies, test rats that were fed fatty foods saw a 25% decrease in their thinking skills, compared to when they ate a healthy, low-fat diet.
More surprisingly, a study by Tufts University found that women who ate a low-carb dietscored poorer on memory tests than those who chose to follow the standard American Dietetic Association (ADA) dietary guidelines.
In a study focusing on the effect of exercise on the hippocampus, the part of your brain involved in memory, researchers found that following a fitness regimen that included regular exercise is effective for maintaining brain mass, increasing oxygen to the brain, and boosting memory skills. The results of the study were published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Have you been experiencing recent short-term memory loss? Is so, have you tried getting your vitamin B12 levels tested? Aside from memory loss, other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, confusion, brain fog, painful tingling in your hands and feet, sore tongue, eye twitching, and more.
Spread the love…
Know anybody who could be helped by this information? Please share this article on Facebook, Google+, or by emailing a link. As always, we welcome your comments!
If your body stores vitamin B12 in the liver for years, how does vitamin B12 deficiency happen? Even if you eat plenty of foods that supply vitamin B12 (cobalamin), such as meat and fish, you might still run the risk of developing severe vitamin B12 deficiency that can culminate in pernicious anemia or nerve damage. What conditions and lifestyle choices affect your B12 levels?
Vitamin B12 helps your body protect the nervous system’s myelin sheath; as a result, B12 deficiency symptoms may include painful tingling or numbness in the hands, feet, and tongue, muscular weakness, difficulty walking, frequent clumsiness, altered sense of taste, burning mouth syndrome, and eye twitching.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that occurs exclusively in animal-based food items. The basic food sources of vitamin B12 are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk. Contrary to popular opinion, brewer’s yeast does not contain vitamin B12, although it does supply other essential B vitamins. Purple and green seaweed are the only naturally rich vegan sources of B12. So, if you follow a vegan diet and do not eat generous portions of nori every day, then you are likely to develop B12 deficiency over the course of several years.
If you’re over 50, there’s a 30% chance that you suffer from atrophic gastritis, a general wearing down of your stomach lining. As a result, your body doesn’t produce enough stomach acids to fully absorb vitamin B12 and deliver it to the small intestines. Insufficient stomach acids may also lead to bacterial overgrowth, which also interferes with vitamin B12 absorption.
Other people at risk include individuals taking protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and long-term antibiotic use.
Another chemical the stomach produces for digesting vitamin B12 is intrinsic factor. Certain autoimmune disorders may inhibit your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 by attacking stomach cells before they have a chance to produce this necessary protein. Regardless of how many vitamin B12 supplements you swallow, the B12 never reaches the small intestines, so it never enters the bloodstream. Pernicious anemia, resulting in diminished red blood cell production, is a common occurrence when intrinsic factor is lacking.
The ileum of the small intestine is responsible for digesting vitamin B12. Located at the very bottom of the intestinal tract, the ileum grabs vitamin B12 and dispenses it to your blood supply. But if your ileum is not working properly, then you cannot derive the many benefits of vitamin B12.
Gastrointestinal factors that interfere with B12 absorption are:
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s and colitis
It’s simple. If you are unable to get your vitamin B12 from dietary sources, then the only other option is to bypass the digestive system and redirect B12 directly to your bloodstream. Below are some popular methods of supplementing vitamin B12 without using the stomach.
Vitamin B12 shots: B12 require a prescription from a doctor. Because of the size of cobalamin molecules, B12 shots are usually painful, and must be inserted into thick muscular tissue, such as the thigh or buttock. Even if you have a high threshold to pain, the idea of having to take vitamin B12 injections for the rest of your life can be worrisome.
Sublingual B12 pills: The jury’s still out on the effectiveness of sublingual vitamin B12 tablets that dissolve under the tongue; whether they actually enter the bloodstream or just travel through the digestive system is under debate. Your physician might prescribe B12 pills to be taken three times per day.
Vitamin B12 sprays and creams: There is insufficient data to support the use of nasal sprays or lotions as a means of combatting vitamin B12 deficiency.
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:
For years, vitamin B12 has been the staple energy vitamin for stars such as Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Prince. Now, B12 vitamins are part of Glee star Lea Michele’s regimen against vitamin B12 deficiency. Find out why celebrities such as Lea Michele rely on B12 supplements for added stamina, strength, and mental focus.
The Glee star’s secret to weight loss
How does Lea Michele, who plays the bossy, competitive, (and sometimes infuriating) Rachel on Glee keep her figure? Recently, she confessed to following a strictly macrobiotic vegan diet, composed of mostly vegetables, grains, and beans. By cutting out meat, chicken, and dairy products from her diet, Lea has managed to lose ten pounds since she first started filming on the set.
Lea admits to also eating a few servings of fish per week, in order to avoid getting vitamin B12 deficiency. Since Vitamin B12 occurs only in animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk, supplementing with extra vitamin B12 is crucial for avoiding low B12 blood levels. How does she justify introducing a non-vegan source into her vegan diet? Apparently, macrobiotic veganism makes special allowances for seafood. Lea Michele understands that a diet low in vitamin B12 is a diet that leads to B12 deficiency symptoms.
People who deplete their stores of vitamin B12 encounter symptoms such as extreme fatigue, muscular weakness, depression, diminished coordination, memory loss, and frequent numbness or tingling sensations (pins and needles) in their hands, arms, legs, and feet. Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency may escalate into severe memory loss, neurological damage, osteoporosis, and increased risk for heart attack, and stroke.
Do you know how much vitamin B12 you need in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency? Unless you supplement, you could wind up with dangerously low vitamin B12 levels. Find out if your B12 blood levels are normal and how much you need to meet the FDA’s RDA for vitamin B12.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is a water-soluble nutrient that your body gets from protein sources, such as beef, chicken, liver, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Your body uses vitamin B12 for DNA synthesis, protecting your nervous system, and strengthening cognitive skills. Symptoms that indicate a low vitamin B12level include constant fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, depression, agitation, altered taste perception, and red, swollen tongue.
How much B12 is in my blood right now?
By performing a blood test, your doctor can tell you if you are deficient in vitamin B12, or if you have normal B12 levels. Vitamin B12 blood screening requires a 6-8 hour fast before testing. Laboratory tests will measure how many picograms (pg) of cobalamin you have per milliliter (ml) of blood in your body.
How much B12 should I have?
Scientists agree that a normal level of vitamin B12 in your blood is 200 – 900 picograms per milliliter (200-900 pg/ml).
Test results showing less than 200 pg/ml signal vitamin B12 deficiency.
For elderly adults, the recommended vitamin B12 level is much higher- Test results showing less than 500 pg/ml indicates B12 deficiency.
In order to find the cause of a vitamin B12 deficiency, doctors may perform a Schilling test.
What is the recommended dose of vitamin B12?
The FDA’s RDA of vitamin B12 for healthy adults is approximately three mcg daily for males and females alike, including pregnant and nursing moms.
For elderly individuals, the recommended dose of vitamin B12 is 25-100 mcg per day.
Scientific study proves that the RDA for B12 is off.
According to a study conducted in the Netherlands, elderly sufferers of vitamin B12 deficiency need more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) in order to achieve normal levels of B12.
Using methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels as a gauge, scientists established that cyanocobalamin supplementation amounting to 200 times the RDA of vitamin B12 is required in order to stabilize B12 levels in patients showing signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
How much vitamin B12 do you really need?
Vitamin B12 shots administering a daily doseof 1,000 mcg of cobalamin are prescribed for the first 10 days following diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency, continuing with a weekly dose of 1,000 mcg for a consecutive 4-week period.
Pernicious Anemia, Sickle Cell, and Others: Anemia is a serious blood disease resulting in low blood cell production; aside from vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia, how many other types of anemia are there?
What are the different kinds of anemia?
There are six general types of anemia. They include:
Pernicious Anemia (PA)
Pernicious anemia is an acquired disease that causes vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is crucial for producing healthy red blood cells, in addition to supporting your nervous system, promoting mental clarity, and optimizing your metabolism. With pernicious anemia, you are unable to absorb vitamin B12 from natural food sources, resulting in severe depletion of vitamin B12 levels in your blood.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
tingling in your hands and/or feet
If diagnosed with pernicious anemia, your doctor may recommend weekly vitamin B12 injections, which are inserted in the thick thigh muscle or buttock. Vitamin B12 shots require a prescription, may cause bruising, and are usually painful.
As an alternative, patients may opt for gentle over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplements that don’t require injection.
Hemolytic anemia occurs when red blood cells are destroyed (hemolysis) at a rate that is quicker than their reproduction in bone marrow. People who have hemolytic anemia have either inherited it as a genetic disease, or acquired it later in life. Mild hemolytic anemia does not usually require treatment, but severe anemia can be life-threatening, requiring blood transfusions, steroids, or splenectomy.
Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA)
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disease. In sickle cell anemia, abnormally shaped hemoglobin cells become obstructed in small blood vessels, causing pain and possible organ damage to the anemic individual. There is no cure for sickle cell anemia, but therapies for reducing the symptoms of anemia include antibiotics, pain relievers, and blood transfusions.
Aplastic Anemia (AA)
Aplastic anemia is a blood disease that can be life threatening. In aplastic anemia, your bone marrow is unable to produce sufficient amounts of crucial blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and blood platelets. Diagnosis of anemia includes testing that indicates low blood count of any of the three blood cells types. Causes of aplastic anemia include autoimmune disease (most common) or exposure to chemotherapy and other types of radiation. Possible treatments for aplastic anemia include bone marrow transplants, blood transfusions, and restraining of the immune system. Untreated, aplastic anemia can be fatal.
Fanconi Anemia (FA)
Fanconi anemia is a rare blood disorder, and it is inherited as a genetic disease. Fanconi anemia involves bone marrow failure, and can lead to myelogenous leukemia. Even with bone marrow transplants, patients of Fanconi anemia rarely live past the age of thirty.
Bone Marrow Disease Anemia
Sometimes, bone marrow diseases, such as leukemia and myelodysplasia (pre-leukemia), create symptoms of anemia in patients, as diseased bone marrow causes inadequate production of red blood cells.
What are some meatless meals that have protein and vitamin B12? Here are some nutritious food choices for vegans.
Are you a committed vegan?
Anybody who has ever cried during Walt Disney’s Bambi has probably flirted with the idea of converting to veganism, a diet which mindfully excludes eating, wearing or utilizing any product which is derived through the slaughter of animals.
Who hasn’t fantasized about growing their own organic vegetables, tossing out their leather sneakers in favor of a pair of cruelty-free recycled-material loafers, and living off a steady diet of barbecued tofu sandwiches, mixed bean sprouts and Matcha green tea?
Many of us have tried being vegetarian for at least a day; some of us for even longer.
What eventually makes or breaks your commitment to the vegan lifestyle is the inevitable need to maintain the same nutritional balance that you had back in your meat-eating days…
Namely, you need to replace the iron, vitamin B12 and protein that you used to get from meat, fish, milk, and eggs, and find new plant-based foods which meet the same nutritional needs.
Vegans who neglect to include sufficient amounts of vitamins such as B12 in their diets often end up with vitamin B12 deficiency, chronic fatigue, and increased risk for heart attack and severe neurological damage.
A good preventative measure is to take regular supplementation, such as iron pills and a vitamin B12, in addition to including the following 6 vegetarian-based nutrients:
#1 Vegan Protein: Beans, soy products, nuts and seeds
The dilemma about not getting enough protein in a vegan diet has nothing to do with availability. Most foods, vegan or non-vegan, have adequate amounts of protein in them.
Vegetables, beans, grains and nuts are rich in protein. Particularly healthy protein sources are almond butters, tempeh (mock meat), quinoa, lentils and kidney beans.
But in order to obtain enough amino acids, you must include a variety of protein foods in your diet, as none (except for the soy products) are single whole sources of complete protein.
#2 Vegan Vitamin B12: Soy milk, fortified cereals
A majority of the foods which are rich in vitamin B12 are animal-based: lean beef, chicken, organ meats, eggs, fish and dairy products.
Don’t skimp on vitamin B12; your body needs it to produce red blood cells, maintain the nervous system and convert food into energy.
Vegan milk substitutes often have vitamin B12 added in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency. But don’t become too complacent; B12 levels can plummet steadily without your realizing it. Make certain your doctor gives you a vitamin B12 blood screening at every checkup, and become familiar with the basic symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
#3 Vegan Iron: Dark leafy greens, beans, raisins and fortified breads
Iron is essential for collecting oxygen produced in our lungs and distributing it to the rest of the body.
Of all the vitamin deficiencies, the most common is caused by low iron levels, affecting up to 20 percent of women. Iron sources obtained from meat are the most easily digested, but vegan sources are available.
whole grains, including cereals and breads made with whole grains;
nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds;
beans and lentils;
dark green vegetables
#6 Vegan Iodine: Iodized salt, seaweed
Vegetarians are more likely to not consume enough iodine, as some or the richest sources of iodine include many seafoods.
According to one study, 80% of vegans and 25% of vegetarians do not consume sufficient amounts of iodine.
Make a point of using iodized salts, and try incorporating toasted seaweed into your diet. Or better yet, learn how to make vegan sushi, complete with nori sheets, avocado, cucumber slices and compressed tofu.
As reported by Us Magazine, Pregnant Natalie Portman, Oscar winner for The Black Swan, has reportedly taken a leave of absence from her vegan ways; whether this change is permanent or just an extra precaution to deliver more vitamin B12 to her unborn baby remains to be seen.
The 29-year-old actress, who is expecting a child with boyfriend Benjamin Millepied, has always been an outspoken advocate for the vegan lifestyle, which excludes such vitamin B12 sources such as eggs, meat, milk products and fish. Ms. Portman made the decision to become Vegan after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals in 2009, according to the Daily Mail.
Recent news, such as the death of an infant in France who was exclusively breast-fed by her vegan mother, has brought to light the health risks involved with vitamin B12 deficiencyandanemia, which are common risk factors of veganism.
Natalie, who called in on the Q100 Bert Show, admitted, “I know there are people who do stay vegan, but I think you have to just be careful; watch your iron levels and your B12 levels, and supplement those if there are things you might be low in in your diet.”
Don’t expect to see Natalie heading for the steak house just yet, though; the Star Wars actress is following more of a traditional vegetarian diet, including eggs and dairy products which are rich sources of vitamin B12.
The symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Short term memory loss;
Numbness or tinging in hands and feet;
Change in taste perception;
Left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency could result in pernicious anemia, neurological damage or in severe cases, death.
Currently a new hype is taking over the nutrition community, and it is all about whether B12 supplementation can help you lose weight. Some companies are already focusing on bringing B12 rich dietary formulas to their consumers, but can this vitamin truly help you lose weight? And if so, how would it work.
Healthy B12 levels are necessary for the proper functioning of the body, as has been previously discussed. It is absolutely necessary in the formation of new tissues and protecting the DNA, but it also may have some influence on one’s overall metabolism rates. Especially if the individual is experiencing general issues with absorption in the stomach, as is common with B12 deficiency.
Lack of all the needed vitamins and minerals will cause the system to slow down when it comes to metabolism. This is the body’s way of assuring its own survival, as the malabsorption of nutrients is interpreted by the system as starvation (which by most definitions is accurate), and while slowing down the living processes may make one feel ill, it does keep the body from extreme further damage.
Once properly supplemented though this vital nutrient allows the body to operate more effectively and efficiently, which in the long run results in weight loss and improvement of overall health. Vitamin B12 is also an energy booster, and in properly administered amounts it results in the body having healthy, long-lasting energy. This of course will not take off the pounds by itself, but the extra energy stores replacing the feeling of fatigue is often a great motivator to get up and move, resulting in weight loss.