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If you’ve been diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, you’re probably wondering, “How did this happen?” Unless you’re a vegan or a gastric bypass patient, it’s possible that vitamin B12 deficiency resulted from an autoimmune disorder that causes pernicious anemia.
Vitamin B12 deficiency- what are the symptoms?
Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining your nervous system, psychological health, and your metabolism. Pernicious anemia causes a wide range of debilitating symptoms that interfere with daily life, and is one cause of B12 deficiency.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency-pernicious anemia may include:
Everyday fatigue, despite sleeping well
Brain fog- confusion
Painful numbness and tingling in hands and feet
Tingling or burning sensation in mouth and tongue
Difficulty walking normally
Infertility or frequent miscarriages and stillbirths
Vitamin B12 deficiency- what are the causes?
There are many reasons why an individual may develop vitamin B12 deficiency. First off, if you eat a diet rich in sources of vitamin B12, including beef, poultry, fish, and milk, then you should not under any normal circumstances become deficient in vitamin B12 levels.
Following a vegan diet is a major risk factor for vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based foods, the richest sources being liver, shellfish, and many lean meats. Unless you supplement your vegan diet with vitamin B12, then you will eventually become depleted, as few plant-based products are infused with substantial amounts of vitamin B12.
Certain lifestyle choices may interfere with vitamin B12 absorption, including stomach or intestinal surgery (such as gastric bypass), alcohol abuse, and using certain B12-inhibiting medications (such as metformin or protein pump inhibitors [PPIs]).
Gastrointestinal diseases, in addition to other diseases that include GI malfunction, may cause vitamin B12 deficiency. These include Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, migraine disorder, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The elderly do not produce enough stomach acid to digest vitamin B12 fully, so they are a separate risk group for vitamin B12 deficiency.
If none of the above-mentioned risk factors pertain to you, then it’s entirely possible that you suffer from an autoimmune disorder that prevents you from absorbing vitamin B12 from dietary sources. Autoimmune pernicious anemia may take decades to develop and typically goes unnoticed until you reach your thirties or forties.
Vitamin B12 deficiency from autoimmune disorder
In order to get vitamin B12 into your blood supply, you need certain digestive enzymes to help you access vitamin B12 from the foods you eat. Intrinsic factor is that necessary enzyme that your body uses to absorb vitamin B12.
For some people, certain antibodies interfere withintrinsic factor, causing your immune system to malfunction. If you have one of the antibodies that interfere with vitamin B12 absorption, then you will never be able to digest vitamin B12, no matter how many hamburgers or fish dinners you eat in your lifetime.
Three types of antibodies cause vitamin B12 deficiency- pernicious anemia. They include:
Parietal cell antibody, which prevents the production of intrinsic factor in the stomach.
Intrinsic factor antibody, type 1, which prevents the bonding of vitamin B12 to intrinsic factor. About 50%-60% of pernicious anemia patients have this type of antibody.
Intrinsic factor antibody, type 2, which allows bonding of vitamin B12 to intrinsic factor, but prevents bonding with receptor from the ileum (the bottommost part of your small intestine).
If you’ve been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency, it’s important that you also take a blood test for the pernicious anemia antibody. Many doctors overlook this important screening, so you might need to ask for it.
Vitamin B12 deficiency autoimmune disorder requires vitamin B12 from non-oral sources, such as vitamin B12 injections, which are available only through prescription.
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Have you tested for vitamin B12 deficiency, but not for the intrinsic factor or parietal cell antibodies?
If you get vitamin B12 shots…do you still experience pernicious anemia symptoms like fatigue, memory loss, brain fog, and nerve pain?
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Gastritis, the wearing down of your stomach lining, is sometimes caused by vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia. Other illnesses or conditions related to chronic acid reflux, abdominal pain, bubbling indigestion, and stomach bloating from gastritis are listed below…
What is gastritis?
More than just a stomachache, gastritis is what happens when your stomach lining becomes severely damaged- worn away and inflamed. Gastritis can be a chronic condition that worsens over time, or it can be sudden, because of a stomach infection.
Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your stomach is unable to produce intrinsic factor, a necessary protein for digesting vitamin B12.
While some health sites claim that pernicious anemia causes gastritis, it is most likely the other way around. Stomach damage from gastritis causes you to be unable to make intrinsic factor in the small intestine’s ileum.
Without intrinsic factor, you develop vitamin B12 deficiency, which causes symptoms like fatigue, depression, anxiety, painful tingling in your hands and feet, and many kinds of nerve damage.
Excessive alcohol use can, over time, cause severe damage to your many body organs, including your stomach. Gastritis and vitamin B12 deficiency are both caused by alcohol abuse.
4) Bile reflux
If bile from your liver rises into your stomach and esophagus, it can cause gastritis and esophageal damage. Only surgery can reverse bile reflux and protect you from incurring damage to your stomach.
Anxiety, depression, and daily stress are harmful for both your body and mind. Accumulated stress may cause gastritis from stomach ulcers.
Certain prescribed and OTC drugs can cause severe gastritis; these include sleeping pills and anti-inflammatory painkillers like aspirin.
7) Chronic vomiting
Gastritis may happen because of frequent vomiting from bulimia, migraines, or other chronic conditions that irritate the stomach.
8) Bacterial infection
Helicobacter pylorus (H. pylori) bacteria dwell in your stomach lining. Unless it is treated with antibiotics, bacterial infection from H. pylori may cause gastritis and stomach ulcers.
Vitamin B12 shots
Get routine supplementation of vitamin B12, which are available by prescription in vitamin B12 shots. In addition to the B12 injections, over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 is beneficial to boost vitamin B12 levels and prevent relapse symptoms like fatigue, nerve pain, and stomach cramps.
For chronic heartburn and gastritis, your doctor may prescribe strong antacids.
Please note that protein pump inhibitors (PPI’s) are a common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you choose to use PPI’s over an extended period, then you may need to supplement with vitamin B12 in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency.
In addition to taking medications for gastritis, a simple change in diet is also healthful when bloated stomach, acid reflux, heartburn, and abdominal pain occur. Avoid eating very spicy foods, choose healthy cooking oils, and take probiotics that contain “good bacteria.”
Learn to eat like the Italians! Sit down at every meal, practice mindful eating, and savor every bite slowly and deliberately. Chewing slowly and efficiently is essential for preventing gastritis symptoms like indigestion and nausea.
For gastritis caused by H. pylori infection, you will need to take a strong regimen of antibiotics and probiotics to prevent stomach irritation.
If gastritis is occurring because of a life-threatening condition, your doctor might recommend surgery to correct the disorder. Bile reflux patients and Crohn’s disease patients are candidates for gastrointestinal surgery.
If you feel fatigued, and suspect B12 deficiency, then see your doctor immediately. Before diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia, your doctor will run a vitamin B12 blood test for vitamin B12 levels in your blood, in addition to measuring your red blood cells and homocysteine levels. Here are ten tests still used today to diagnose vitamin B12 and pernicious anemia.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms:
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be difficult to catch, because it masks itself as many other conditions. Sometimes, B12 deficiency occurs as a secondary side effect of a primary illness like fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, or celiac disease. Other times, vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms are overlooked because of underlying conditions such as depression or diabetes.
The most common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia are:
Constant fatigue that is not relieved by sleep and does not result from overexertion
Aggressive behavior that is unusual
Difficulty focusing or paying attention
Forgetting words on “tip of tongue”
Forgetting numerical codes like phone numbers or PINs
Painful tingling and numbness in extremities (hands, feet, arms, and legs)
“Pins and needles”
Painful tingling or burning sensation in tongue and mouth
10 Tests that diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia
1)Serum vitamin B12 level: First, your physician will request a vitamin B12 blood test to determine if your vitamin B12 blood (cobalamin) levels are indeed low. Usually, if test results are positive, then vitamin B12 supplementationbegins immediately.
The vitamin B12 blood screening is the most important test for diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency, and if you respond well to vitamin B12 supplements, then further testing is not usually required.
However, if your doctor suspects pernicious anemia, then he might order one or more of the following additional tests:
2)Complete blood count (CBC): A blood test to screen the amount of red and white blood cells. With pernicious anemia, your red blood cells become engorged and misshapen, resulting in low distribution of red blood cells throughout your body.
3)Serum folate level: Many people who have vitamin B12 deficiency also are deficient in the B vitaminfolate.
4)Serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH): Your doctor might order a blood test measuring LDH levels.
5) Reticulocyte count: This test looks for reticulocytes (slightly immature red blood cells).
6) Homocysteine test: High homocysteine levels in your blood may indicate vitamin B12 deficiency, folate deficiency, or vitamin B6 deficiency.
7) Gastrin level: a test measuring the amount of the hormone gastrin in your blood may help doctors diagnose the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
8) Methylmalonic acid (MMA) test- With vitamin B12 deficiency, methylmalonic acid levels go up. The MMA test provides more proof of the existence of vitamin B12 deficiency.
9) Intrinsic factor antibody test: Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disorder in which sufferers are not able to product intrinsic factor, a necessary hormone for absorbing vitamin B12. Before diagnosing pernicious anemia, your doctor has to confirm the existence of an antibody in your system that inhibits intrinsic factor production, thereby causing vitamin B12 deficiency.
10) Bone marrow staining: Sometimes, your physician might require a bone marrow biopsy in order to determine other potential causes of pernicious anemia or general red blood cell disorders.
What about the Schilling test for vitamin B12 deficiency?
In the past, doctors have used the Schilling test to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency. The Schilling test involves swallowing harmless, radioactive doses of vitamin B12 and tracking its progress in your body. However, because it involves fasting and the use of low-dose radiation, and because it may cause side effects like nausea, the Schilling test is rarely used.
Schilling test—a test in which a harmless amount of radiation is used to assess whether a vitamin B12 deficiency exists (rarely used)
Vitamin B12 supplementation
Once diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, your doctor will likely prescribe vitamin B12 shots, beginning with 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 per week.
These B12 shots are only available upon prescription.
After the first month, B12 shots may be decreased to once per month, upon doctor’s orders.
If B12 deficiency symptoms (fatigue, muscular pain, and brain fog) continue despite vitamin B12 injections, you may supplement with additional over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12.
Once your vitamin B12 levels are normal, your doctor will likely stop vitamin B12 shots in favor of OTC vitamin B12.
Sublingual vitamin B12 are an OTC option that may require supplementation two or three times per day. Side effects may include unpleasant taste and burning, tingling sensation on the tongue.
Note: Sublingual vitamin B12 must be dissolved under the tongue as indicated; if they are chewed or swallowed, then vitamin B12 will not be absorbed.
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Please share your experience with vitamin B12 supplementation.
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The richest food sources of vitamin B12 come from meat, fish, and milk sources. Some vegan vitamin B12 sources are available, but for maximum vitamin B12 benefits, you would have to eat a lot of tofu to get close to 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 per week. How can you avoid vitamin B12 deficiency on a vegan diet?
Are you getting enough vitamin B12?
The RDA for vitamin B12 is minimal- only a few mcg of B12 per day. However, according to various scientific studies, people who receive doses upwards of 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 per week reported experiencing increased stamina, mental focus, and feelings of wellbeing.
Non-vegan sources of vitamin B12:
Clams: One 3-ounce serving of cooked clams contains 84.1 mcg of vitamin B12.
Liver: After clams, liver is the richest source of vitamin B12. A 3-ounce serving of cooked lamb liver contains a whopping 72.8 mcg of vitamin B12.
Fish eggs: A 3-ounce serving of whitefish caviar provides 56.4 mcg of vitamin B12.
Mackerel: Mackerel has 19 mcg of vitamin B12 per 100 grams.
Vegan sources of vitamin B12:
Soymilk: An 8-ounce cup of soymilk provides a mere 2 mcg of vitamin B12, give or take.
Tofu: A typical serving of tofu provides 1.86 mcg of vitamin B12.
Marmite: Yeast spreads contain 0.5 mcg of vitamin B12 per 100 grams, or 0.03 per teaspoon.
Are you at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency?
There are many ways to get vitamin B12 deficiency, but they generally boil down to this:
Either you don’t eat enough foods that have vitamin B12, or you eat plenty of fish and meat, but you’re not digesting the B12.
Lack of intrinsic factor (a hormone necessary for digesting vitamin B12)
Drug interaction (metformin, PPIs)
Gastrointestinal surgery (gastric bypass)
Getting extra vitamin B12
If you don’t have B12 deficiency, but you want to boost stamina, maintain a healthy weight, or enhance cognitive functioning by increasing vitamin B12 levels, then your choices are:
Become a seafood lover, or
Supplement with vitamin B12 for life.
Which B12 supplements are available?
There are different kinds of B12 vitamins, some of which require a doctor’s prescription.
Vitamin B12 shots: If diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia, then your doctor might prescribe 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 injections per week, or as needed. A prescription is required, and many patients find that their fatigue symptoms return before the next scheduled vitamin B12 shot.
Sublingual vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 tablets that dissolve under the tongue are available with or without prescription. Vitamin B12 pills are not efficient ways to access vitamin B12, and they often require you to take 3 doses throughout the day.
Side effects of sublingual vitamin B12 may include burning sensations on tongue and unpleasant taste.
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How do you get your vitamin B12- from supplements in pill form, vitamin B12 shots, or otherwise?
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Part I of Brain Fog: 20 Causes and symptoms covered reasons some people get brain fog, and the many ways brain fog interferes with daily activities. Part II of Brain Fog covers ways to deal with chronic forgetfulness, fatigue, and disorientation that make up brain fog from B12 deficiency, fibromyalgia, or other illnesses.
How to deal with brain fog
Obviously, the most important thing to do in dealing with brain fog is to treat whatever’s causing it. If you think you have vitamin B12 deficiency, then get a blood screening. You could have pernicious anemia resulting from low B12 (cobalamin) levels, or fibromyalgia, which is correlated with vitamin B12 deficiency. In that case, the simple answer is to supplement with extra vitamin B12.
Here are some excellent lifestyle tips for getting around brain fog:
Take your vitamins and minerals. Besides getting enough vitamin B12, you should also be getting enough of all the other B vitamins, in addition to vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium.
Sleep. Avoid naps, but stay regimented in your nighttime habits.
Treat your pain symptoms. This one’s a no-brainer. The fact is, pain distracts you, even when you don’t realize it. If you suffer migraines, and your current migraine treatment isn’t working, then explore other options. The same goes for chronic pain like fibromyalgia- never give up on lasting pain relief!
Exercise! This is difficult when you have chronic pain, but even small efforts at maintaining a fitness plan can be therapeutic. Try to incorporate stretching into your morning routine, or take small walks. Tai chi and yoga are particularly helpful for people with fibromyalgia.
Try an elimination diet. You never know- your brain fog could be a result of allergic reactions like gluten intolerance or milk allergy.
Eat brain food. Some foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish and nuts. Stick to lean proteins and plenty of fruits and veggies.
Check your blood sugar. Brain fog is a common symptom of diabetes, so make certain that you’re not getting type 2 diabetes.
Limit caffeine. The rush you get from drinking strong coffee is only temporary. It is always followed by fatigue, or for some, brain fog.
Avoid processed foods. There is a substantial body of evidence indicating that cutting out white flour, white sugar, processed snack foods, and stripped grains (white rice) from your diet prevents chronic fatigue and brain fog, in addition to promoting healthy weight loss.
Try alternative medicine. Holistic and homeopathic medicine is becoming more mainstream as an alternative to some prescribed medications in treating chronic illness symptoms like pain and brain fog. Some good ones to try include acupuncture/acupressure, herbal supplements, and biofeedback.
Look into cognitive training. Researchers are finding that exercising your thinking skills is an effective way to reverse cognitive dysfunction, or brain fog. Examples of cognitive training are video games, websites, or programs like Wii that promise to improve your memory, regain mental clarity, and think quicker.
Think ahead. Sometimes, it helps to be prepared in life’s situations, especially if you have brain fog on a daily basis. Always think out a scenario in your head beforehand, and imagine ways you might make things easier on yourself. If you’re worried about going on a job interview, look up tips for landing a job and creating a good impression.
Rehearse what you’re going to say. Back to the job interview- go over the basic questions that people ask you when you’re interviewing for a position, and decide what you’re going to answer, ahead of time. This way, you won’t be put on the spot when your future-boss asks you what traits you like the least about yourself. (Hint: There is no real answer to this one.)
Take it slow. Don’t try to cook a dinner for five in five minutes. Even if it means running late, pace yourself. People with brain fog are more susceptible to serious injury when they try to do things in a hurry, so give yourself extra time to do things.
Stay organized. This is the secret to success with brain fog. If you have one place where you always keep your scissors, then you won’t waste valuable time searching all over your house every time you need to open a package or cut the tags off a new outfit.
Keep a good perspective. A good sense of humor can get you through chronic pain, brain fog, anxiety…anything. In fact, some studies have been done which show that chronic illness sufferers who try to achieve happiness and look for the “sunny side” in life are more successful at eventually conquering their symptoms and healing their pain than those for whom the glass is always half-empty.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s okay to admit that you don’t understand something- even if it’s been explained to you three times already. Don’t pretend to “get it” when you don’t. The results can be social awkwardness, feelings of isolation, and worse- injury. (Know how the electric meat cutter works before you lose a finger!)
Tools are helpful, so use them. If you have a smartphone, iPad, or other tablet device, then make it work for you. You don’t have to remember phone numbers, dates, directions, shopping lists, passwords, or birthdays. That’s what your Android is for!
Relax. Another no-brainer: learning how to relax is instrumental in relieving stress, which is a common cause of brain fog.
Seek counseling. If things seem too overwhelming, and you don’t know what to do about it, talk it out with a professional. Everybody who visits a shrink every now and then isn’t mentally ill…just human.
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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
Many studies show similarities between the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency and multiple sclerosis (MS). There is also a very high rate of B12 deficiency among people diagnosed with MS. How, then, does one differentiate between pernicious anemia (vitamin B12 deficiency)and multiple sclerosis?
What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects your central nervous system- your brain and spinal cord. It typically strikes young adults between the ages of 20-40, most of them women.
The exact cause of MS is unknown, but most scientists believe it is an autoimmune disorder. With multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune reaction attacks myelin, a fatty substance that insulates your nerve fibers responsible for transmitting messages to the rest of your body.
Signs of demyelination are random lesions,or plaques (sclerosis) in the brain and spinal cord, in multiple areas, thus the term “multiple sclerosis.”
What is B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when your body is unable to maintain sufficient stores of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) in the blood. There are several reasons this may happen, such as not eating food sources of vitamin B12 (meat, fish, and milk), or having a gastrointestinal disorder that interferes with vitamin B12 absorption.
With pernicious anemia (PA), your body cannot make intrinsic factor (IF), a protein necessary for digesting vitamin B12, due to an autoimmune disorder.
Among its many other benefits, vitamin B12 is essential for building up the fatty myelin sheath. One of the symptoms of PA is demyelination, the same type of brain damage that occurs with MS.
*Multiple sclerosis and vitamin B12 deficiency- pernicious anemia are both autoimmune disorders.
*Multiple sclerosis and vitamin B12 deficiency-pernicious anemia both involve damage to the nervous system’s myelin sheath.
What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
The earliest symptoms of MS may include:
Muscular weakness in one or more limbs
Tingling or numbness
Loss of balance
Vision problems or eye pain
As the disease advances, symptoms worsen, including:
Chronic fatigue, despite getting plenty of rest and not overexerting yourself
Hypersensitivity to heat, such as hot showers or baths
Muscular spasms in the legs and arms
Bladder or bowel control problems
Lightheadedness, or vertigo caused by nerve damage
Cognitive impairment- “brain fog,” slowed thinking, lack of concentration, or memory loss
Vision problems- blurring or graying of vision, or temporary blindness in one eye
Painful “pins and needles” sensations, numbness, itching, or burning
Speech and swallowing problems caused by damaged nerves
Difficulty walking without stumbling, caused by muscle weakness, spasticity, or loss of balance from vertigo
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
The most common symptoms of B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia are:
Painful “pins and needles” or numbness in hands and feet
Sore, swollen red tongue
Burning mouth sensation
Difficulty walking without stumbling
Short-term memory loss
Shortness of breath
*Multiple sclerosis and vitamin B12 deficiency-pernicious anemia both cause nerve damage, including painful tingling or numbness in the hands and feet and impaired gait.
*Multiple sclerosis and vitamin B12 deficiency-pernicious anemia both cause cognitive impairment, like brain fog, memory loss, and low concentration.
Which tests diagnose multiple sclerosis?
There is more than one test used to confirm MS, and your doctor will need to use the process of elimination to exclude other illnesses. Some common tests and indicators are:
MRI scan indicating at least two incidences myelin damage- scar tissue (lesions)
Evoked potentials, an electrical test of your nervous impulses
Which tests diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency?
Only one test is required to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency- a blood test indicating low blood serum levels of vitamin B12. Patients of pernicious anemia require routine blood tests in order to monitor their B12 levels.
What’s the best treatment for multiple sclerosis?
There is no cure for MS, but various medications are helpful for dealing with the symptoms.
Some prescribed medicines work by controlling your body’s autoimmune response, thus reducing the frequency and severity of MS symptoms.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a controversial surgery used to treat debilitating tremors in people with MS. Complications may include paralysis, loss of vision, or loss of speech.
Alternative medicine options that benefits MS patients include physical therapy, exercise like yoga or tai chi, acupuncture, aromatherapy, meditation, massage, and vitamin supplementation.
What’s the best treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency?
There are many kinds of B12 supplements on the market, but it’s important to be certain if you are able to digest vitamin B12 in the stomach. If you lack intrinsic factor, or if you’ve had gastrointestinal surgery like gastric bypass, then you will not benefit from dietary forms of vitamin B12.
Physicians normally prescribe a series of B12 shots for patients with pernicious anemia. These vitamin B12 injections require a prescription, and not all health care providers cover extensive supplementation of vitamin B12 shots.
Sublingual vitamin B12 pills that dissolve under the tongue are another option, although they are not very effective, and they often require dosages of three times per day.
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.
According to a recent study, listening to music can ease pain, which is great news for fibromyalgia (chronic pain) patients. Many pain clinics already utilize the beneficial effects of music, finding that soothing melodies reduce anxiety and enhance pain relief treatments.
Music therapy for chronic pain?
It’s not the first time researchers have investigated the painkilling powers of music, but this recent study on music engagement confirms what many practitioners of chronic pain management already know-
-that listening to music puts you in a state of relaxation that enables you to cope with…and minimize pain symptoms. For sufferers of fibromyalgia, this could be a useful strategy for incorporating natural pain treatments with prescribed analgesic medications.
In this University of Utah study on pain management, 153 volunteers elected to receive painful electric shocks in varying levels of intensity while listening to background music.
In addition to listening to music, participants performed cognitive tasks that actively engaged them, such as following musical notes and focusing on the melody.
Scientists noted that volunteers who became engrossed with the music-listening tasks exhibited the fewest pain responses.
Researchers noted a correlation between personality and pain relief through music engagement. The most significant results occurred with people who experience anxiety. People who suffer panic, nervousness, or stress often find relief in occupying themselves with some sort of activity; in this case, music provided certain anxiety-prone individuals an opportunity to escape from pain symptoms.
On a much grander scale, fibromyalgia patients may implement these findings in their own lives; if listening to music helps relieve small shocks of pain, what strategies may be employed to relieve more severe pain symptoms, like aching joints, sore muscles, or gastrointestinal ailments?
Boost pain medicine! During fibromyalgia flare-ups, listening to music on your iPod may improve your mood and ease anxiety, increasing the effectiveness of your pain medicine.
Meditate! If you’re stuck in bed rest, or at the hospital, try turning off the television and turning on a radio. Close your eyes and picture the music in your mind (Think Fantasia). By actively engaging your brain with the music, you are also incrementally distracting yourself from the pain.
Sleep better! If pain symptoms keep you awake at night, listen to the sounds of relaxing mood music on your MP3 device. Many iTunes and Android apps provide the Relaxing Sounds of Nature, to help you go to Sleep!
Here are some more helpful tips to help you manage pain symptoms without the need for painkillers:
Take your B12!Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked with a host of severe pain symptoms, including painful tingling in your hands and feet, painful numbness, burning mouth or tongue, stomach pains, joint achiness, and sore muscles. Also, B12 deficiency increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and severe nerve damage.
Incorporate exercise! Here’s a great tip- listen to music while doing some gentle exercise routines, like light yoga, Tai Chi, or low-impact aerobics.
Go under the needle! No, not B12 shots- acupuncture is proven effective at relieving numerous ailments, including fibromyalgia, chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal disorders, and chronic fatigue.
Learn more about fibromyalgia and vitamin B12 deficiency:
Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the fastest growing forms of malnutrition, inflicting infants and at least 40% of all adults with symptoms like fatigue, memory loss, painful tingling sensations, and psychosis. Find out why researchers are troubled about the effect of B12 deficiency in infants…
Infants with B12 deficiency
Scientists have conducted many studies focusing on neurodevelopment issues in infants diagnosed with low cobalamin- severe vitamin B12 deficiency. One such study conducted by UC Davis noted symptoms of neurological disorders in breast-fed infants born to women with pernicious anemia, including:
For adults, vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms may take years to surface. That’s because the liver stores vast amounts of B12, and unless you lack intrinsic factor, your body constantly replenishes its supply of B12 whenever you eat foods like beef, chicken, fish, eggs, and milk.
However, if you follow a vegan diet, or if you are unable to produce intrinsic factor in your stomach, then your vitamin B12 levels will eventually become depleted.
Newborn infants are not born with large stores of vitamin B12, especially if their mothers have pernicious anemia or refrained from eating foods with B12 during pregnancy or while nursing.
Even though they are born neurologically healthy and of a normal birth weight and size, symptoms of B12 deficiency usually manifest themselves between four to ten months of age, but can occur as early as the second month of life.
After receiving vitamin B12 supplements to replenish stores of B12, infants began recovering rapidly from B12 deficiency symptoms of neurological illness, and eventually experienced a reversal of symptoms, confirming scientists’ beliefs that B12 deficiency causes nerve damage, brain atrophy, and chemical imbalances in thebrain.
Find out if you or your infant has B12 deficiency by taking a simple blood test.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency
Many other neurological and emotional ailments are attributed to low B12 levels: