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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.
If you’ve had bariatric surgery (gastric bypass surgery, lap band surgery), then you’re at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. Weight loss surgery causes vitamin B12 malabsorption, in addition to difficulty absorbing other vitamins and minerals. Learn about vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, and ways to get your B12 levels back to normal.
How many types of bariatric surgery procedures are there?
There are many types of weight loss surgeries, including gastric bypass and lap band surgery, but there are two general categories:
Malabsorptive surgery rearranges and/or removes part of your intestines so that you are unable to absorb vitamins from foods, thus bypassing the digestive process. There are no longer any strictly 100% malabsorptive weight loss surgeries, but many such as the Roux-en-Ygastric bypass include a combination of (mostly) malabsorptive and restrictive techniques.
Restrictive surgery shrinks your stomach, thus causing you to feel full earlier and avoid overeating. Examples are the gastric sleeve and gastric banding (lap band surgery).
Why do I need to take bariatric vitamins and minerals after having bariatric surgery?
If you’ve had weight loss surgery, then you are at a high risk for vitamin deficiencies, particularly vitamin B12 deficiency. There are two reasons for this:
If you’ve had malabsorptive surgery, such as a mini-gastric bypass or duodenal switch, then your body is unable to digest water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin B12 from food sources.
One of the procedures of malabsorptive bariatric surgery is the removal of the ileum, the part of your small intestine responsible for digesting vitamin B12.
The only way for you to receive enough B12 to avoid vitamin deficiency is to put it directly into your bloodstream, through vitamin B12 shots (Sublingual B12 pills are not your best option for absorbing vitamin B12.)
With restrictive surgery, such as gastric sleeve, your stomach is unable to contain enough food at one time to avoid vitamin deficiency.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, and why should I be worried?
Vitamin B12 supports many important functions in your body- B12 boosts energy and mental clarity, aids in producing red blood cells, maintains your metabolism, protects your >nervous system, strengthens cognitive functioning, and reduces your risk of heartattack or stroke.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked with so many types of autoimmune disease; it’s almost like the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Guess what vitamin B12, IBS, cardiovascular disease, and many kinds ofchronic disease have in common…
B12 deficiency- why worry?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient, one of many B vitamins, that is crucial for optimum health. If you don’t get enough vitamin B12 from meat, chicken, fish, and eggs, from B12 shots, then you could suffer severe vitamin B12 deficiency, which includes symptoms such as short-term memory loss, tingling in hands and feet, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression. People who are at risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency are vegans, patients of gastric bypass surgery, diabetes sufferers, individuals on heartburn medicine, and anybody with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Vitamin B12 deficiency is also linked with many autoimmune diseases.
Here are 12 illnesses that are“6 degrees” away from vitamin B12 deficiency:
1) Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a digestive disease that includes illnesses such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of many IBD symptoms, such as chronic diarrhea, stomachcramping, nausea, heartburn, and constipation. IBD can cause severe damage to the intestines, including the colon. People with inflammatory bowel disease have difficulty digesting vitamins and minerals from food, which is why they must take regular vitamin supplements. Because their illness occurs in the digestive system, many IBD patients take vitamin B12 shots in order to avoid B12 deficiency, as vitamin B12 pills are ineffective.
Celiacs disease is an autoimmune disease that attacks the digestive system with the consumption of gluten. Celiac disease symptoms include indigestion, diarrhea, malnourishment, and nausea. Gluten intolerance symptoms occur whenever a celiac disease patient consumes a product containing gluten, a protein that occurs in wheat, rye, and barley. Because of their difficulty digesting vitamins, celiac disease sufferers should supplement regularly with non-oral forms of vitamin B12.
Auto [fibromyalgia symptoms] [symptoms of fibromyalgia]
Fibromyalgia symptoms strike 1 in 50 Americans. Many people don’t realize that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include chronic pain, fatigue, depression, insomnia, and “fibro fog” (disorientation). Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia also exhibit signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is another autoimmune disease, similar to fibromyalgia, which is closely linked with vitamin B12 deficiency. Scientists have noted an extremely high correlation between all three conditions- fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and B12 deficiency. Symptoms of CFS are extreme tiredness upon waking up in the morning, fatigue following minimal physical exertion, achy joints, and fibro fog.
Diabetics who take the drug metformin are susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency, say scientists. Scientific studies linking low B12 levels with long-term usage of metformin indicate a 77% chance of developing peripheral neuropathy.
Stomach acids are essential for digesting vitamin B12 naturally from food sources. That is why people who take heartburn medication frequently, such as people with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or pregnant women, must take care to avoid B12 deficiency.
Some weight loss surgery procedures involve removing the terminal ilium, a part of the digestive system that is responsible for absorbing vitamin B12. For that reason, patients of bariatric surgery are strongly advised to supplement with non-oral vitamin B12.
Sometimes, vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by pernicious anemia, a condition that distorts your red blood cells and inhibits absorption of vitamin B12. Causes of pernicious anemia include autoimmune disease and gastritis.
Autoimmune thyroid disease, also called Hashimoto’s disease, is an autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland. There is an unusually high correlation between instances of autoimmune thyroid disease and pernicious anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. Because some of the symptoms of thyroid disease mimic pernicious anemia, many doctors overlook the possibility of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 helps to sustain cognitive health. In many studies, scientists have noticed that elderly individuals with low levels of B12 are more likely to suffer from early onset dementia than elderly individuals who maintain adequate levels of vitamin B12.
Elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid known to contribute to heart disease symptoms, is called “hyperhomocysteinemia.”
Having too much homocysteine in your blood increases your chances of developing “coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.”
Homocysteine damages the inner linings of your arteries and causes blood clots.
B vitamins, such as vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and folate help your body break down homocysteine in your blood, keeping it at a healthy minimum.
People with high vitamin B12 levels have the lowest concentration of homocysteine levels.
People with a family history of heart disease should check their homocysteine levels routinely, in addition to including B vitamins in their diet, or at least supplementing with vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate.
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in beef, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products, and brewer’s yeast. However, if you lack intrinsic factor, or if you have had bariatric surgery, then your body is not able to digest vitamin B12 naturally from food. Your only course of action in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency is to supplement with Vitamin B12.
Like B12, vitamin B6 sources also include protein foods, such as liver, fish, and other meats, in addition to fortified cereals.
Folate is a B vitamin that occurs in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fortified cereals.
Trauma-Free vitamin B12 Shots for Kids: Whether your child needs vitamin B12 shots or a flu vaccine, shots can be scary and painful. Try these tips for taking some of the “ouch” out of getting shots.
Vaccines, B12 shots, and IV’s- oh, my!
Visits to the pediatrician can be tense, for both mom and child. The threat of yearly immunizations looms over their heads, child wondering if this would be the “year of the needle,” and mom worrying about how to get through the doctor’s appointment with as little tears as possible.
Besides getting the annual vaccine shots, other needle-centric events or conditions in your child’s life might be:
Let’s face it- your child will never enjoy getting shots. Most adults still sweat at the thought of receiving a sharp needle in the arm.
Still, you have some basic tools at your disposal will make the whole stressful episode run much more smoothly, and hopefully, alleviate some of the pre-doctor anxiety the next time around.
Here are some tips for soothing your child during shots, IV’s, and blood tests
Tip #1: Look! Up in the Sky…
For taking some of the pressure off the moment at hand, the first trick up your sleeve should be distraction, distraction, distraction. Use whatever tools you think will work; consider this your moment to shine and practice resourcefulness. Sing, dance, mime with a sock puppet, or whip out some favorite storybooks.
When it comes to helping your child through a round of injections, there can be no diversion too sneaky…or cheesy.
Tip #2: Pacify
Before leaving the house, make sure you pack your bag with some of your baby’s favorite toys, a pacifier (assuming he takes one), and a lovey, like a soft blanket or doll.
Another trick that’s worth trying at least once a year: soothe them with sweets, either by dipping her binky in a bit of sugar, or allowing her to take from the lollipop jar.
Tip #3: Put on your best poker face
What, me worry? That’s the attitude you want to convey to your child before and after the procedure. Kids are very good at picking up even the smallest hint of tension on your part, so act cool, paste on a smile, and prepare for whatever comes next.
Tip #4: Ahem, ahem.
Believe it or not, there’s some research indicating that coughing before and during vaccinations is an effective way to reduce the pain.
In 2010, the journal Pediatrics published a report that focused on children between the ages of four to twelve, finding that faking a cough before getting a shot, and then, again, during the round of shots, resulted in less trauma. Alternatively, your child could pretend to blow a feather across the examining table, or soda bubbles through a straw.
Tip #5: Ease the pain
After the nurse has administered all the shots, and the tears have (almost) dried, you still have a few options for relieving the pain.
Gently rub the pinprick spot to reduce swelling, and apply a topical anesthetic, such as EMLA cream.
A small amount of pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, will also go a long way towards pain management.
Tip #6: Seek alternatives
With medical technology practically bursting at the seams, it’s good to know that there are some new alternatives to painful injections.
Find out if your child is eligible to receive FluMist, an innovative flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray.
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:
We’ve all heard of overeaters binging themselves into a state of depression- a vicious circle which is difficult to get out of. But eating for happiness?
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is linked with depression
Vitamin B12 is essential for many aspects of brain development, such as myelination (the production of a protective layer around the brain) and the distributing of neurotransmitters to and from the brain. So it comes as no surprise that the Mayo Clinic suggests eating foods rich in vitamin B-12 as a means of preventing the onset of clinical depression.
“Eat to live, don’t live to eat.”
That’sa great motto if you happen to be an android. The fact is, eating is a sensual experience which we were meant to enjoy. (Why else would we have taste buds?) The key to good nutrition is finding foods you love that will love you right back.
Here are some yummy appetizers and entrées which are naturally high in vitamin B-12:
Fish tacos- Made popular by Rubio’s, the fish tacos is a tasty fusion of Cal-Mex and seafood cuisine. Take a soft flour tortilla, add some fiery mango salsa, a dab of sour cream and a grilled fish fillet (hint: salmon is high in B-12). It’s a wrap!
Are you a Sushi lover? Then you’re going to love this- sushi and sashimi recipes typically include such high-in-B12 ingredients as roe (fish eggs), octopus, crab, shrimp, and mackerel. Pass the soy sauce!
New England clam chowder- just the name elicits images of salty sea breezes, sailboats and clam bakes. Don’t have any recipes handy? Here is a list of variations on this classic soup recipe.
Lean cuts of lamb are high in vitamin B-12 and a popular staple of many Middle Eastern cuisines. Here is a flavorful Lamb Moussaka recipe, as featured in epicurious.
Tuna casserole is one of America’s fave comfort foods and it’s simple to make- combine canned tuna, cooked broad noodles, and a can of concentrated mushroom soup. Top it with some fried onions and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. Tuna is high in B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Hamburgers barbecued with low-fat ground beef chuck are a great source of vitamin B-12. Serve it up on whole-grain buns with a side of oven roasted root veggies for a healthy upgrade from the typical artery-clogging burgers ‘n fries.
The Japanese study proves that women who eat foods enriched vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate are less likely to suffer heart attack or die of a stroke. Japanese men who eat B-rich foods are less likely to suffer heart failure.
These findings confirm similar studies which have been conducted in the US and Europe, all of which came to the same conclusion; B vitamins such as B12, B6 and folate are essential for cardiovascular health.
Through the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) Study, a survey which collected data on the dietary habits of over 85,000 Japanese between the ages of 40 and 79, scientists were able to gain information on a correlation between the amount of B vitamin intake and likeliness of mortality from heart disease and stroke. Out of the 85,000 men and women studied, 986 died from stroke, 424 perished from heart attack and over 2,000 died from a variety of heart-related illnesses – all in a 14-year time frame.
Scientists grouped test subjects into five categories, varying in relation to B6, B12 and folate intake. Of the female test subjects who ate the lowest amounts of B6, B12 and folate, more were likely to die of stroke or heart attack than those who ate a moderate amount of B vitamins. Similarly, men who consumed the least B vitamins were more likely to die from cardiovascular illness than others. Of the test subjects who reported eating a steady diet of B6, B12 and folate, fewer suffered mortalities related to stroke or heart disease than counterparts from any of the other groups.
Scientists believe that B vitamins lower homocysteine levels, an amino acid which many doctors believe increase one’s risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke. Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid prevent the accumulation of homocysteine. Eating whole grains, leafy vegetables, legumes and fish are excellent ways to get B vitamins. However, many suffer from an inability to completely digest B12, resulting in B12 deficiency. Symptoms include fatigue, memory loss and numbness or tingling in the extremities.
A new study released by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) warns diabetics who take metformin to get their blood checked regularly for vitamin deficiencies, particularly B12.
Sold under the brand name of Glucophage, metformin is often prescribed to patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes. Metformin increases the body’s receptiveness to insulin while, at the same time, significantly decreasing the amount of glucose secreted by the liver; additionally, it also aids in lowering bad cholesterol. Scientists, however, have reason to believe that metformin may prevent the body from efficiently absorbing B12, a vitamin which is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system and red blood cell production. According to recent research, patients who take metformin are 10% – 30% more likely to have difficulty utilizing B12. Health experts urge anybody taking the medication over a long period of time to have their B12 levels tested routinely.
B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed, as its symptoms are similar to those of many other illnesses.
How does Vitamin B12 deficiency occur? What are my options if I need B12 supplementation? What will happen to me? These are the questions over 99 % of individuals with B12 deficiency ask themselves. This blog is designed to answer these and other questions concerning vitamin B12, its’ deficiency and its’ supplementation. With instructions concerning lifestyle and dietary changes, as well as information from scientific studies about this specific physiological problem, we hope you will feel 100% well again.
The human physiology of vitamin B12 is very complicated, and due to this is prone to problems leading to vitamin B12 deficiency. Unlike most nutrients, absorption of vitamin B12 actually begins in the mouth where small amounts of unbound crystalline B12 can be absorbed through the mucosa membrane. In the stomach a specific gastric enzyme is needed to separate B12 from the food ingested, and a protein must bind with it for it to be absorbed and processed through the body. Proper absorption of vitamin B12 requires an intact and functioning stomach, exocrine pancreas, intrinsic factor, and small bowel. Problems with any one of these organs makes a vitamin B12 deficiency possible and likely.
However, there can be some genetic aspects in the problems associated with malabsorption, and due to the complexity of B12 assimilation in the body, geriatric patients, many of whom are hypo-acidic due to reduced GI tract cell function, have an increased risk of B12 deficiency. For these individuals supplementation becomes a necessary step, otherwise their life quality and life expectancy can plummet.
B12 supplements come in a few forms, most commonly though in an ingestible pill, sublingual pill or spray and the injection. With malabsorption in the GI tract, swallowing vitamin pills equals to flushing them down the toilet, as around 80%-90% of hard vitamins will not get absorbed. The sublingual B12 becomes the next possible step in supplementation; however this too is a fairly poor choice. Although researchers are not fully sure why this occurs, in most cases of sublingual use, only around 5% of the vitamin is absorbed by the body. The only truly viable choice in this case is to begin B12 injections, which unfortunately are not the most pleasant of experiences, and can be expensive.