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Posts Tagged ‘causes of b12 deficiency’

Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Millions

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013



Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when your blood levels of vitamin B12 drop to an unhealthy low. If you have vitamin B12 deficiency for an extended period, then you are risk for pernicious anemia. Today, experts believe that vitamin B12 deficiency is an overlooked epidemic striking millions of US citizens.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Millions

How common is B12 deficiency?

In 2000, the United States Department of Agriculture stated that nearly two-fifths of all US citizens had some form of vitamin B12 deficiency. Their source of information was the Framingham Offspring Study, which found vitamin B12 deficiency in nearly 40% of 3,000 Framingham, Massachusetts residents between the ages of 26 and 83.

“I think there is a lot of undetected vitamin B12 deficiency out there,” said study author Katherine Tucker.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Today, reports indicate that close to 47 million Americans suffer from middle-low to nearly depleted levels of vitamin B12.

Conflicting reports

So why do government reports such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey claim that the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency among Americans is much lower- closer to 3% with severely low levels, and 20% with borderline B12 anemia?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed and ignored by doctors for many reasons:

First, we’ve been led to believe that pernicious anemia is no longer a fatal or even detrimental disease, so it has essentially fallen off the radar. Many doctors no longer test for vitamin B12 deficiency in their patients, because they believe that it is a non-issue.

Second, standards for detecting vitamin B12 deficiency are remarkably low and inefficient. Serum vitamin B12 screenings only look for lethally-low levels of vitamin B12, which occur only in a rare percentage of people with pernicious anemia. Middle-low ranges of vitamin B12 depletion that nevertheless cause debilitating symptoms are often ignored.

Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging

Finally, even people with “normal” levels of vitamin B12 in their system may exhibit symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, as the blood screenings don’t separate active vitamin B12 from stored vitamin B12. This is an important yet overlooked distinction, as only active molecules of vitamin B12 are able to carry out the biochemical functions necessary for survival.

B12 deficiency in vegetarians

According to a recent report on vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians, vegans are at a higher risk for developing anemia from low vitamin B12 levels compared with vegetarians, and people who follow a vegetarian diet from birth are more at risk than those who made a change to their diet in adulthood.

In the scientific study conducted by the Department of Nutrition Science, the risk for vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians is as follows:

  • Pregnant women- 62%
  • Children- 25-86%
  • Teens- 21-41%
  • Elderly 11-90%

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Signs of B12 deficiency

Some of the early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are often mistaken for chronic depression, anxiety, or age-related dementia. Since vitamin B12 is needed for maintaining myelin, some of the symptoms of low vitamin B12 mimic those of multiple sclerosis.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Memory loss
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness
  • Poor concentration
  • Decreased motor control
  • “Pins and needles” in hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms, twitches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sore, burning red tongue

Do you currently get prescriptions for vitamin B12 shots ? If so, do you feel that you don’t get enough to prevent symptoms between doses?

Also read:

What Causes Vitamin B12 Malabsorption?

Top Ten Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Real Illness?

Image courtesy of xedos4

Pernicious Anemia- What’s your Risk?

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013



The risk for pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency is highest among the elderly, but a significant number of people begin to notice the first symptoms in their 30s, contrary to popular belief. Listed below are some common symptoms of pernicious anemia and explanations regarding your risk for developing pernicious anemia in middle age.

Pernicious Anemia- What’s your Risk?

What is pernicious anemia?

Pernicious anemia is the final stage of vitamin B12 deficiency. Pernicious anemia used to be fatal until scientists figured out that death could be easily prevented by feeding patients high concentrations of Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 deficiency causes many debilitating health problems, including chronic fatigue, lethargy, weakness, memory loss and neurological and psychiatric problems – long before pernicious anemia sets in.  These symptoms can be quite misleading, leading to incorrect diagnoses.

What is Pernicious Anemia?

Stages of vitamin B12 deficiency

There are four stages to a Vitamin B12 deficiency that end in pernicious anemia:

  • Stage 1: Slowly declining blood levels of vitamin B12
  • Stage 2: Low cellular concentrations of vitamin B12
  • Stage 3: Increased homocysteine levels in the blood, and a decreased rate of DNA synthesis
  • Stage 4: Pernicious anemia

Illnesses that mimic pernicious anemia

Illnesses and other health conditions sometimes confused with vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Alzheimer’s dementia, cognitive decline and memory loss, collectively referred to as “aging”
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological disorders
  • Mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, psychosis)
  • Learning or developmental disorders in children
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Autoimmune disease and immune dysregulation (unregulated immune response)
  • Male and female infertility

These diseases produce signs and symptoms that also occur with vitamin B12 deficiency – but are rarely diagnosed as such!

Pernicious anemia risk categories

The following groups are at greatest risk for vitamin B12 deficiency-pernicious anemia:

  • Anybody with a family history for autoimmune disorders or pernicious anemia
  • Vegetarians and vegans
  • People aged 60 or over
  • GERD patients using PPIs or acid suppressing drugs
  • Diabetics using drugs like metformin
  • Patients of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac or IBS
  • Women with a history of infertility and miscarriage

Vegetarians and Vegans take note: Vitamin B12 is found ONLY in animal products! To prevent pernicious anemia, it is absolutely essential that you supplement with high doses of vitamin B12.

Treating pernicious anemia

If you think you might have a vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia, you should pursue blood testing immediately. If you are vitamin B12 deficient, then the next step would be to identify the source of the deficiency.

Once the source of vitamin B12 deficiency is identified, you can then begin vitamin B12 supplementation. The many, long-term or permanent vitamin B12 supplementation is required in order to prevent a relapse of symptoms.

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:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Insomnia

Vitamin B12 Deficiency is Type of Anemia: True or False?

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Invisible Epidemic!

Monday, September 9th, 2013



Vitamin B12 deficiency is not some strange, mysterious disease. It has been well documented in much medical literature.  The causes and effects of vitamin B12 deficiency are well-known within the scientific community. But despite that Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Invisible Epidemic!

In fact, vitamin B12 deficiency is far more common than most people realize.

Vitamin B12 deficiency in 40%

The Tufts University Framingham Offspring Study suggests that 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have plasma vitamin B12 levels in the low-normal range – a range at which many people still experience neurological symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, and numb, tingling muscles.

Outright vitamin B12 deficiency was exhibited by 9 percent of the study participants and 16 percent exhibited “near deficiency”.  Low vitamin B12 levels were as common in younger people as they were in the elderly, to the surprise of the researchers.

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Vitamin B12 is vital

The human body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, protect the nerves, synthesize DNA, and carry out other crucial functions.

The average adult should get 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 each day. But since your body can’t produce vitamin B12, it is necessary to supply it through foods containing vitamin B12 or vitamin B12 supplements.

Some people don’t consume enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs, while others can’t absorb enough, no matter how much they take in, leading to vitamin B12 deficiency that can be difficult to diagnose.

Vitamin B12 deficiency- off the radar

There are two reasons why a vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed. To begin with, most physicians do not routinely test for vitamin B12 deficiency, even in adults who are at high risk.

Second, the low end of the laboratory reference range for vitamin B12 deficiency is too low. Most studies underestimate the true levels of B12 deficiency. Many B12 deficient people have so-called “normal” levels of B12, enough to prevent death from pernicious anemia, but not enough to prevent debilitating symptoms associated with low vitamin B12 levels.

Digesting vitamin B12 is difficult!

Vitamin B12 absorption is a complex process and involves multiple steps. The malabsorption of Vitamin B12 can be caused by:

  • Intestinal dysbiosis (microbial imbalances)
  • Leaky gut, gut inflammation
  • Atrophic gastritis or hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)
  • Autoimmune pernicious anemia
  • Medications such metformin and PPIs (acid-suppressing drugs)
  • Extremely high alcohol
  • Exposure to nitrous oxide (during surgery or recreational use)

Also read 25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Treating vitamin B12 deficiency

Diagnosis and treatment of B12 deficiency is relatively easy and cheap. Explain your symptoms to your doctor, and request a blood test to screen for vitamin B12 deficiency.

Usually, 1,000mcg doses of vitamin B12 taken biweekly or monthly will suffice, but it’s important to judge by your symptoms. You may need to take extra vitamin B12, in addition to what your doctor prescribes, as some medical insurance plans don’t cover the amount of prescription vitamin B12 shots needed to achieve full recovery.

Fortunately, vitamin B12 is safe to take in any amount, according to FDA guidelines, so you can take as much vitamin B12 as you think you need to increase your energy and improve your mood, without worrying about any harmful side effects.

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:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Insomnia

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- How Long does it Take?

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