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Posts Tagged ‘Cobalamin’

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Genetic Mutation?

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013



About half the population has a gene mutation making them prone to genetic vitamin B12 deficiency, according to researchers, which would explain the growing epidemic of pernicious anemia from untreated vitamin B12 deficiency. About 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have dangerously low levels of vitamin B12, and many don’t even realize it until the debilitating symptoms begin to set in. Here are the facts on genetic vitamin B12 deficiency.

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Genetic Mutation?

The MTHFR gene and B12 Deficiency

Everybody has two MTHFR genes, one from each parent. These genes are necessary for efficiently converting vitamin B12 to a usable form, and in effect also maintaining healthy homocysteine levels.

If you have defective MTHFR genes, then you’re not able to convert cobalamin to usable vitamin B12 as effectively as somebody without the gene defect.

However, nearly 50% of all people have a defected MTHFR gene from one parent, and 10% have mutated MTHFR genes from both parents, making them more likely to suffer genetic vitamin B12 deficiency, and also elevated levels of homocysteine, which has been linked to hardening of the arteries and increased risk for heart attack.

Causes for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 absorption is a complicated process, and there are many things that can go wrong. Certain health conditions, medications, invasive surgeries, dietary restrictions, and yes- genetics- can impede your ability to digest vitamin B12 properly from food sources and vitamin supplements.

Common causes of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Vegan and vegetarian dieting
  • Family history for autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and fibromyalgia
  • Family history for pernicious anemia
  • MTHFR gene mutations
  • Gastrointestinal infections or illnesses, such as leaky gut, Crohn’s, celiac, and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Bariatric surgeries or ilium removal for Crohn’s treatment
  • Medications such as metformin for diabetes and PPIs for GERD
  • Old age
  • Alcoholism

Find out if you have genetic B12 Deficiency

There are several ways of finding out if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, including plasma vitamin B12 level screening, complete blood count (CBC) and homocysteine blood screening for Hyperhomocysteinemia.

As for testing for the MTHFR gene mutation, there are no official guidelines as to who should be tested. So unless you request a test for genetic vitamin B12 deficiency from a doctor who is able to comply, then your best bet is to stay on top of vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels, and supplement daily with vitamin B12, folate and vitamin B6.

Treating vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you’re tested with genetic vitamin B12 deficiency caused by a gene mutation, or any form of vitamin B12 deficiency that doesn’t stem from diet, then it’s absolutely essential to supplement with vitamin B12 in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency and other severe malnutrition. Diet alone will not provide you the amount of vitamin B12 needed in order to prevent pernicious anemia.

Please tell us…

Would you consider getting tested for genetic vitamin B12 deficiency? Do one or both parents also have vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

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Like this? Read more:

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25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Disease- Scientists find New Cause

Image courtesy of dream designs/freedigitalphotos

Top 7 Benefits of Vitamin B12

Monday, April 22nd, 2013



How does vitamin B12 benefit your body? Let us count the ways…vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that nourishes your body and mind. Here are some of the most mind-blowing benefits of vitamin B12 supplementation.

It controls your thinking skills, energy levels, mental health, and even symptoms of aging.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) benefits your nervous system, helping you sustain better muscle control and strength while avoiding symptoms of neuropathy (nerve damage) caused by vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 is good for heart health, fertility, and DNA synthesis.

What won’t this amazing Wonder Vitamin do?

Low Energy could mean Low B12- It’s Correlational

1) Vitamin B12 prevents brain fog and dizziness caused by low oxygen, as it aids in producing plenty of healthy red blood cells needed to carry oxygen throughout your body.

2) Vitamin B12 prevents pernicious anemia, a once-fatal condition that produces symptoms such as chronic fatigue, disorientation, memory loss, depression, muscle weakness, and painful tingling and numbness in the extremities.

3) Vitamin B12 protects the nervous system by supporting myelin, a fatty substance that protects your nerve cells and encourages efficient communication with the brain.

Symptoms of nerve cell damage (neuropathy) may include difficulty walking, numbness, vision problems, and slow or delayed reflexes.

4) Vitamin B12 promotes cardiovascular health by controlling homocysteine, a hormone associated with increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and mental illness.

In order to prevent homocysteine levels from rising, it’s important to sustain normal levels of vitamin B12.

5) Vitamin B12 promotes healthy cell growth, including preservation of the cell membrane. This is important for regulating healthy hormones and maintaining immune system integrity.

6) Vitamin B12 boosts energy, as it helps your body convert carbohydrates and fats into ATP- usable energy.

7) Vitamin B12 helps to delay symptoms of aging. In many oft-cited studies, elderly citizens who sustained healthy vitamin B12 levels were less likely than their peers to suffer from memory loss, confusion, depression, and other signs of dementia than their peers who had vitamin B12 deficiency.

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:

Stop Falling Down- Raise your B12!

Born with it: Clumsiness and Two Left Feet from Dyspraxia

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Movement Disorders- How They Relate


The Benefits of Vitamin B12

5 Surprising Foods that Pack Vitamin B12

Monday, February 11th, 2013



You think you’re getting enough vitamin B12 in your diet? Guess again. Here are some foods you probably never eat that provide enormous amounts of vitamin B12.

5 Surprising Foods that Pack Vitamin B12- B12 Patch

Some of the most popular foods that Americans consume have plenty of vitamin B12 (cobalamin); hamburgers, tuna salad, and chicken nuggets are all good sources of vitamin B12. Why, then, is vitamin B12 deficiency still the leading form of malnourishment in the US?

Where’s the B12?

The short answer is that many people are simply not able to absorb vitamin B12 efficiently from diet. For most people with vitamin B12 deficiency, that is the case.

However, another large part of the problem is the fact that most people don’t eat a variety of protein foods, sticking to the basic staples of ground beef, chicken, cheese, and eggs. These all contain moderate amounts of vitamin B12…

…But the richest sources of vitamin B12 occur in animal-based foods that aren’t part of the standard American diet; recipes that our grandparents probably ate, but have since fallen from grace amidst today’s ready-in-15-minutes, nonperishable, kid-friendly cuisine.

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Here’s your B12…

Listed below are some not-so-typical culinary dishes that also contain the highest amounts of vitamin B12.  How many of these items do you eat regularly? How many of these dishes have you never tried, not even once?

1- Clams

-500mcg vitamin B12 per serving. Without a doubt, canned clams, liquid included, pack the biggest punch of vitamin B12.

So, when was the last time you’ve been to a clam bake, or ordered clam chowder at a restaurant?

2- Lamb kidneys

-115mcg vitamin B12 per serving. Braised lamb kidneys are next in line after clams for the richest source of vitamin B12, unless you’re willing to try raw lamb liver, which delivers 130mcg of nutritious vitamin B12.

Does McDonald’s offer a Quarter Pounder with Chopped Kidneys on their menu?

3- Fish eggs

-108mcg vitamin B12 per serving. Whitefish caviar, native to Alaska, is our third runner-up for best source of B12 foods.

Spread it on toast, or order it at a sushi bar, but don’t expect your kids to eat it with a spoon.

4- Beef liver

-95mcg vitamin B12 per serving. Finally, something more conventional- beef liver can be found easily at your local butcher or supermarket. To get the most out of this dish, pan-fry slabs of liver with caramelized onions.

5- Moose liver

-92mcg per serving. In the mood for something different? Poached moose liver is #5 on our list of vitamin B12-packed food items.

Don’t live in Alaska? You can order frozen moose liver online…

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, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

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

Vitamin Deficiencies can drive you Crazy- Seriously! Part 1

Benefits and Sources of Vitamin B12, and How to Avoid Deficiency


Foods highest in Vitamin B12

Image(s) courtesy of Dr Joseph Valks/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4 Ways to Energize your Brain

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013



Want to stop feeling fatigued, out-of-focus and absentminded? The key is to energize your brain by feeding it nutrients you need for cognitive health, stamina, and neurological excellence. Here are 4 sure-fire ways to improve your mental skills, lift your mood, and increase productivity.

4 Ways to Energize your Brain- B12 Patch

Spice it up!

For hundreds of years, traditional herbalists have been using turmeric to boost energy, maintain healthy circulation, and prevent age-related dementia. The secret is its active ingredient, curcumin, which benefits your brain in many ways:

  • Curcumin promotes growth of new brain cells while also enhancing neurological integrity. By increasing brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), this famous mustard-yellow curry spice improves your learning curve, instills a sense of well-being, wards off depression, and energizes your brain cells.
  • Curcumin also increases your level of serotonin and dopamine; neurotransmitters that make you feel good.
  • Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant that improves your brain’s response to inflammation.

Boost Energy Now! 20 Practical Tips for Fighting Fatigue

Fuel your brain!

Citicoline is gathering a lot of attention in the medical world for its ability to prevent dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. This powerful brain energizer is used to treat cognitive disorders, such as age-related memory loss, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), and other conditions resulting from poor circulation in the brain. A vital brain chemical, citicoline is produced naturally, but can also be supplemented in doses, as advised by your doctor.

4 Ways to Energize your Brain

Buy citicoline from our Amazon store!

Eat breakfast!

In a UK study of 1,386 school children between the ages of 6 and 16 years of age, scientists noted a strong correlation between cognitive skills and breakfast. In their research, participants who ate breakfast made fewer mistakes in a mental acuity test, and were able to remain attentive longer than others. On the other hand, students who failed to eat even a light breakfast that day made frequent errors, had difficulty concentrating, and exhibited flagging energy levels throughout the day.

Get your B12!

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that is vital for metabolic energy, cognitive integrity, and neurological functioning. Low levels of vitamin B12 strongly correlate with depression, fatigue, memory loss, and age-related dementia.

  • Vitamin B12 helps to support myelin production, a fatty sheath that protects your nerve cells and enhances communication with the brain. Vitamin B12 deficiency often results in delayed nervous impulses, neuropathic pain in the hands and feet, and difficulty controlling arm and leg movements.
  • Also, vitamin B12 maintains healthy red blood cell production. Without enough B12 in your system, reduced oxygen levels resulting from insufficient hemoglobin cause symptoms such as low energy, panting, brain fog, poor concentration, and memory problems.
  • To treat vitamin B12 deficiency, make sure you’re getting between 1,000-5,000 micrograms of cobalamin per shot, or an equal amount in over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplements. If necessary, it is perfectly safe to supplement with extra vitamin B12 while also receiving regular vitamin B12 shots.

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, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

Low Energy could mean Low B12- It’s Correlational

Will Vitamin B12 Boost Energy if I don’t have B12 Deficiency? YES!


Breakfast is associated with enhanced cognitive function in schoolchildren. An internet based study.

Curcumin reverses corticosterone-induced depressive-like behavior and decrease in brain BDNF levels in rats.

Vitamin B: A Key to Energy

Image(s) courtesy of farconville/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As seen on Hypersweep.com!

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms that Mimic Aging

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
Are you experiencing early signs of aging…or do you have vitamin B12 deficiency? Symptoms like premature greying, aching joints, and memory loss that normally occur in old age may not be what you think.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms that Mimic Aging- B12 Patch

Vitamin B12 deficiency misdiagnosis

Vitamin B12 is essential for many important biological functions throughout the body; vitamin B12 (cobalamin) helps to maintain neurological health, DNA production, and continuous development of normal red blood cells.

Often, symptoms that indicate vitamin B12 deficiency- memory loss, fatigue, vision problems, and chronic pain- are confused with conditions that occur in aging, such as early-onset dementia, arthritis, and glaucoma.

Because symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency usually don’t occur until middle age, and because old age is often a risk factor for developing vitamin B12 deficiency, finding- and treating- the cause of shared symptoms can be tricky, as the rate of misdiagnosis is unusually high.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and aging

Losing your train of thought

  • Difficulty summoning familiar words
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty integrating new information

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

Feeling tired all the time

  • Feeling mentally sluggish
  • Lethargy
  • Constant extreme fatigue
  • Severe muscle fatigue
  • Muscular weakness

Will Vitamin B12 Boost Energy if I don’t have B12 Deficiency? YES!

Confused and disoriented

  • Frequently confused
  • “Brain fog”
  • Poor concentration
  • Dizziness

7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It

Anxious and depressed

  • Irritable
  • Feeling depressed for months
  • Panic attacks
  • Shortness of breath
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Vitamin B12, the Anti-Aging Vitamin that Rocks

Muscles and joints always aching

  • Burning muscle pain
  • Constant muscle pains following exercise
  • Stiff neck muscles
  • Frequent muscle spasms
  • Bone loss

Vitamin B12 and your Bones- Osteoporosis from B12 Deficiency

Arms and legs always “falling asleep”

  • Paresthesia- painful tingling and numbness in extremities (hands, feet, arms, legs)
  • Hands and feet feel “gloved”
  • Unsteady gait
  • Trembling, shakiness
  • Electric-like shocks
  • Frequent tripping or dropping things

Stomach or urinary problems

  • Nausea
  • Stomach not emptying
  • Bloating, flatulence
  • Acid reflux
  • Loss of appetite for B12-rich foods like meat, fish, and cheese
  • Esophageal or stomach ulcers
  • Difficulty emptying or controlling bladder

Aging skin and hair

  • Greying or whitening of hair
  • Premature baldness or hair thinning
  • Pale complexion
  • Dry, itchy skin patches
  • Brittle, thin nails
  • Dents or ridges in nails
  • Mouth sores

Vitamin B12 for Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails

Vision problems

  • Eye floaters
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Night blindness
  • Hypersensitivity to bright light

Fertility problems

  • Reduced libido
  • Low testosterone or estrogen
  • Low sperm count
  • Frequent miscarriages or stillborn births
  • Early onset of menopause

Pregnancy and B12 Deficiency

Treating vitamin B12 deficiency

The most widely-endorsed treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency is supplementation through synthetic vitamin B12 injections. B12 shots are helpful for preventing severe neurological damage or death resulting from pernicious anemia, the most common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.

However, for complete alleviation of symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, you may need to supplement beyond the recommended dose of vitamin B12.

Many forms of sublingual or non-dietary over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplements are available to help you achieve the goal of total recovery from vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, and may be taken safely without the need for prescription.

Please tell us…

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, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

Aging begins at 45- Tips on how to Prevent Early Memory Loss


It Could Be Old Age, or It Could Be Low B12

Seven Signs that You Might Have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Image(s) courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Can’t Concentrate? Attention Deficit Disorder and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012



Attention deficit disorder (ADD) isn’t just for school-aged kids; many adults have also struggled with concentration issues for years, without understanding causes of attention deficit disorder in diet, behavior, and underlying illnesses. Often, vitamin B12 deficiency causes cognitive decline, causing memory loss, poor attention skills, and fatigue.

Can’t Concentrate? Attention Deficit Disorder and Vitamin B12 Deficiency- B12 Patch

Vitamin B12 benefits

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is an essential nutrient for the brain, as it controls many biochemical reactions in the body that affect cognitive, emotional, and neurological development. Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is sometimes a consequence of inadequate amounts of vitamin B12 in the blood.

•Vitamin B12 maintains healthy brain mass and delays the onset of age-related dementia, as seen in several scientific studies on thinking and attention skills in people with varying levels of vitamin B12 in the blood supply.

•Vitamin B12 protects the nervous system by supporting the production of myelin, a fatty coating that insulates each individual nerve cell in our brain and spinal cord, enhancing intercellular communication and providing a defense against harmful elements.

•Vitamin B12 also regulates red blood cell production, ensuring continuous distribution of oxygen to all the cells of our body, particularly the brain.

•Vitamin B12 prevents fatigue by helping our body digest carbohydrates into energy.

7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It

Vitamin B12 deficiency

Likewise, when vitamin B12 deficiency (pernicious anemia) occurs, we lose all the valuable benefits that cobalamin contributes to the brain.

•We begin to suffer short-term memory loss, forgetting words that used to be on the tip of our tongue, or regularly forgetting to make appointments.

•We have more difficulty concentrating while reading, getting easily distracted by slight noises (a common symptom of attention deficit disorder).

•Also, when vitamin B12 levels are low, we feel tired all the time, starting and ending the day exhausted. These are signs that our body is not getting enough oxygen, due to a decline in red blood cells caused by pernicious anemia. Chronic fatigue is often associated with attention deficit disorder, as well as depression and anxiety.

•We start to suffer the effects of damage to the nerve cells, as our myelin sheath gradually deteriorates, in a process called demyelination. We begin to experience neurological impairments, such as painful numbness in the extremities and muscle spasms. Attention deficit disorder is regarded by many as a neurological impairment.

Treatment options

Currently, the most popular treatment for ADD is Ritalin. However, if vitamin B12 deficiency is the cause of poor concentration, fatigue, or “brain fog,” then no amount of Ritalin will help to reverse the symptoms of attention deficit disorder. Instead, it may cause harmful side effects such as deep depression and anxiety.

To find out if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, ask your doctor for a blood test measuring “active cobalamin” levels. This is a very good indicator to determine if your vitamin B12 supplies are low. Still, best way to be certain is to monitor the symptoms you’re experiencing and their response to supplementation of vitamin B12.

For boosting attention skills and enhancing cognitive functioning, many people who suffer from ADD choose lifelong supplementation of over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12, in a nonedible form that dispenses directly into the bloodstream.

Please tell us…

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, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

Adult ADHD Could Lead to Dementia

Is Adult ADHD-ADD Making you Obese? 5 Weight Loss Tactics


ADHD in Adults – Symptoms, Causes, Types, Treatments, and More

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pernicious Anemia and B12 Deficiency- Historically Fatal, Still Formidable

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012



Vitamin B12 deficiency, Addison-Biermer’s anemia- Pernicious anemia (PA) has been called many things.  Though we have a cure in vitamin B12 supplements, symptoms of pernicious anemia remain similar to historical descriptions of this once fatal disease.


“Starvation in the midst of plenty”

In 1849, if a doctor diagnosed you with pernicious anemia, he would have told you to say your prayers.  That’s because back then, the survival rate was 1-3 years.  Many scientists tried various experiments to find out what caused this fatal disease, which was as dreaded as leukemia is today, causing symptoms like tiredness, painful tingling in the arms and legs, muscular weakness, and finally, death.

Pernicious Anemia: Your 13 Most Frequently Asked Questions, Answered!

Anybody care for a shot of liver juice?

PERNICIOUS ANEMIA AND B12 DEFICIENCY- HISTORICALLY FATAL, STILL FORMIDABLE, B12PATCH.COMFinally, Dr. William B. Castle made an important scientific breakthrough.  He conducted an experiment that involved feeding regurgitated raw hamburger meat to patients of pernicious anemia, and discovered the presence of intrinsic factor, an essential chemical found in gastric juices that is lacking in pernicious anemia patients.  Like many medical discoveries, the next one that occurred somewhat by accident.  In trying to find a cure for anemia resulting from blood loss, Dr. George Whipple produced the first cure for pernicious anemia- raw liver. Later, in 1926, scientists developed a more concentrated antidote based on the same therapy- raw liver juice, to be swallowed or injected.

Juvenile Vitamin B12 Deficiency- the Dinosaur of all Disorders, say Scientists

Vitamin B12 is born

It wasn’t until two decades later that scientists finally discovered the potent ingredient in raw liver juice. In 1948, two chemists from the US and Britain isolated cobalamin as the health-giving nutrient, and named it vitamin B12.  For patients of pernicious anemia, dosages of 1000 to 4000 mcg, prescribed daily, were given orally as vitamin B12 pills or through intramuscular injection, as a vitamin B12 shot. Another method of supplementing vitamin B12 are sublingual B12 tablets.


Painful Tingling in Hands and Feet- What’s Up with That?

Pernicious anemia symptoms

Scientists today understand that pernicious anemia is a form of megaloblastic anemia, resulting from weakened DNA synthesis in red blood cells.  People with pernicious anemia suffer from an autoimmune condition that inhibits your body’s ability to produce intrinsic factor, thus resulting in vitamin B12 deficiency.  Rarely does pernicious anemia ever result in death, since doctors today know how to diagnose the symptoms early on, and confirm diagnosis with a vitamin B12 blood test. Still, many of the symptoms of pernicious anemia are disabling, and often confused with other conditions like clinical depression, thyroid disorder, and diabetes.

Typical symptoms of pernicious anemia are:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Pale complexion
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of concentration
  • Shortness of breath while exercising
  • Painful tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Sore, red swollen tongue
  • Bleeding gums
  • Altered taste perception
  • Depression
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Frequent stumbling
  • Clumsiness

Read more about pernicious anemia and B12:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- 4 Causes, 1 Solution

Top Ten Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

What is vitamin B12, and why is it so important?


William B. Castle

Pernicious anemia

Images, from top:

HikingArtist.com, Frank Muckenheim, Mario Caruso, genericlook

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- 4 Causes, 1 Solution

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012



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 deficiency today

Vitamin B12 deficiency is the leading form of vitamin deficiency, affecting nearly 40% of people between the ages of 26 and 83, according to a Tufts University study on B12 deficiency.  For elderly individuals, the risk of low B12 levels is 20%.

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.

For a list of more symptoms of B12 deficiency, read B12 Deficiency: Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

Four roads to vitamin B12 deficiency

#1 Not eating meat

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.

The top food sources of vitamin B12 are:

  • lean beef and chicken
  • organ meat (liver, heart)
  • fish (halibut, herring, salmon)
  • shellfish (oysters, clams)
  • Eggs
  • Cheese (Swiss, Muenster)
  • Milk products (yogurt, whole milk)

Natalie Portman Chooses B12 over Veganism

#2 Not making enough stomach acid

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.

The 20 Do’s and Don’ts of the GERD Diet

#3 Not making intrinsic factor

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.

“I’ve heard of the X Factor and Fear Factor…But what’s Intrinsic Factor?”

#4 Gastrointestinal conditions and surgeries

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
  • Celiac disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal surgery for Crohn’s
  • Gastric bypass surgery

Absorbing Vitamin B12, a Metabolic Gastrointestinal Journey

What’s the solution?

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.

Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency:

Gastrointestinal Surgery for Crohn’s (IBD) and B12 Warnings

6 Food Cravings that Signal Vitamin Deficiency

Ten Bites to Better Brain Power


Are you getting enough of this vitamin?

B12 Deficiency May Be More Widespread Than Thought

Spirulina and Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 Sources and Bioavailability

Brewer’s yeast

Images, from top:


12 Healthy Heart Habits, Including Vitamin B12 Supplements

Monday, December 26th, 2011



Keeping your heart healthy requires making many lifestyle changes; most people don’t realize that avoiding vitamin B12 deficiency is just as essential for your heart as eating heart-healthy foods, exercising, and reducing stress.  Below are some pointers for promoting cardiovascular health, including reasons why extra vitamin B12 supplements are beneficial for a healthy heart.

1- Monitor your vitamin B12 levels

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, supports many necessary biochemical functions in your body.  Vitamin B12 helps you produce plenty of red blood cells, helps maintain your nervous system, assists in building DNA, and sustains normal metabolism, cognitive functioning, strength, and energy.

Vitamin B12 is also an essential nutrient for heart health, as it regulates homocysteine levels. In many studies, the hormone homocysteine has been found to increase your risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Vitamin B12 helps your body break down homocysteine, thus reducing your risk for heart disease.

The American Heart Association urges people to eat a healthy diet that includes folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 for optimal heart health.

Goal: Get tested! Elderly individuals, people diagnosed with pernicious anemia, patients of gastrointestinal disorders, or anybody who has had gastrointestinal surgery involving the removal of the ileum (gastric bypass) cannot absorb vitamin B12 in the stomach, and must take B12 supplements in order to avoid suffering B12 deficiency.  To find out if you are at risk, request a blood screening for vitamin B12 deficiency from your doctor.

Read more about vitamin B12 and heart disease-

B Vitamins prevent Cardiovascular Disease- B6, B12 and Folate

2- Get moving

All health experts agree that incorporating at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, at least 5 days per week, is the single most important lifestyle change you can make for your heart.  Conversely, increasing evidence indicates that living a sedentary lifestyle- watching several hours of television each day, sitting at a desk for long periods without breaks, and shunning exercise- is one of the biggest contributing factors to heart disease.

Goal: Break it down! If you’re daunted by the idea of spending 30 minutes on a treadmill, plan three 10-minute breaks in the day for exercise, instead.  Walk your dog or do a window-shopping run around the mall (without stopping!).  If you work at a desk, set your timer to alert you to get up and stretch at regular intervals.

Staying Fit with Fibromyalgia: 13 Pain-Free Workouts

3- Eat more heart-healthy foods

Prevent cardiovascular disease by following a low fat, low cholesterol diet.  Avoid saturated trans-fats, and opt instead for small doses of healthy monounsaturated fats, like olive or canola oils.  If you normally eat red meat, switch instead to lean poultry, which also contains plenty of vitamin B12.  In addition to cutting down on fats, you should also eat more vitamin-enriched foods that are low in salt and refined carbohydrates.

Goal: Spice it up! Train your tongue to like nutritious, low-fat foods that have fewer “empty” calories.  Go for high-fiber vegetables, grains, and legumes, lower-fat meats, cheeses, and spreads, and shake things up with dashes of cayenne pepper, ginger, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and granulated garlic.  By focusing on the spices, you’ll feel more satisfied, and less likely to miss that fatty mouth-feel of fried foods.

The Best- and Worst- Cooking Oils for Heart Health

4- Mind your weight

Numerous studies conclude that obesity is one of the greatest health risks that affect people today.  Being overweight overburdens your entire body, contributing to illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and other life threatening conditions.

Goal: Size it down! By cutting down the size of your plate, you alternatively cut down your dress size.  Try using smaller plates, include veggies, omit surgery drinks, eat slower, and resist the urge to go for seconds.

Vitamin B12 for Weight Loss- Why it Works

5- Don’t ignore the elephant in the living room

If you think you might be suffering some of the symptoms of heart disease, such as breathlessness, heart palpitations, increased sweating, call your doctor right away.  Ignoring even the smallest signs can be a matter of life or death.

Goal: See your doctor! Pay attention to bodily cues, and schedule a checkup, immediately.

6- Keep your emotions in check

Stress, anxiety, and depression are all taxing on your heart.  Succumbing to anger increases your chances for heart attack, as well.

Goal: Talk it out! When you feel nervous, sad, or stressed, confide in a friend or close family member.  If you’re uncomfortable asking others for help, schedule a meeting with a psychiatrist or social worker, instead.

Can Elevated Homocysteine (Low B12) cause Mental Illness?

7- Snuff out the cigarettes

At the very least, you should quit smoking in order to improve your heart health and your lungs.  Smoking is linked with asthma and chronic bronchitis.

Goal: Don’t give up! If you’ve tried to quit smoking in the past, then try again.  Research shows that the more times you attempt to quit smoking cigarette, the greater the chances of eventually reaching that smoke-free goal.  Ask your healthcare provider about quit-smoking programs, or try using a nicotine patch.

Smoking and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

8- Cut down on alcohol

If you drink more than two alcoholic beverages per day, then you need to cut it down.  Research shows that drinking too much alcohol is dangerous for the heart, as well as the liver.

Goal: Seek help! If the notion of keeping your alcohol drinking down to one or two beers each day sounds overwhelming, then you might require extra assistance from Alcoholics Anonymous.

B12 and Alcohol Consumption

9- Sleep soundly

If you snore, then you might be a candidate for heart failure or stroke, according to latest research on the heavy risks of snoring.  Obstructive sleep apnea is one of many factors that may lead to cardiovascular disease.

Goal: Wear your mask! So far, the best treatment for severe sleep apnea is wearing a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device (CPAP) while sleeping.

10- Take care of your choppers

Over time, your teeth develop a layer of plaque that contains bacteria.  Unless you brush and floss regularly, you can get gum disease, causing bacteria to seep into your blood supply and contributing to heart disease.

Goal: Floss it! Floss and brush morning and evening, and floss after meals.

What your Gums have to Say about your B12 Level

11- Set reasonable goals

Don’t fall victim to the “all or nothing” attitude.  You don’t have to become a health and fitness enthusiast, but nor should you throw up your hands in despair.  Accept that with every one success come numerous setbacks, and that lifestyle changes happen slowly, over a period of weeks, months, or even years.

Goal: Take baby steps! All successful weight-loss and fitness experts encourage you to set small, reachable short-term goals, in addition to the long-term goal of better health.  This allows you to feel a small measure of success, and gives you the motivation you need to stay on the wagon.  Congratulate yourself for losing 10% of your weight, losing a dress size, or every time you make a healthy food choice.

12- Respect your medications

Don’t think that just because you feel better, that you can stop taking your blood pressure medications.  Many heart patients make that common mistake.  If you are unhappy with a side effect of certain medications, then ask your doctor for an alternative.  Conversely, don’t rely on medications alone to keep you healthy. It is essential to follow a heart-healthy diet, in addition to exercising and reducing stress, for optimal cardiovascular health.

Goal: Get organized! Keep your meds somewhere where you won’t forget them.  If necessary, store a batch of precut tablets in a pill keeper.

Brain Drain Medications- Drugs that Drain the B12 out of you

Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Are you at Risk?

Pernicious Anemia: Your 13 Most Frequently Asked Questions, Answered!

Why do my Arms and Legs often Fall Asleep? B12 and Paresthesia


5 Essential Heart Health Habits

17 Worst Habits for Your Heart

Homocysteine, Folic Acid and Cardiovascular Disease

‘Wake Up’ To Health Risks Of Heavy Snoring

Myokymia is not a Hawaiian Island- Eyelid Twitching and Eye Spasms

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011



Are constant eyelid twitching and eye spasms driving you batty?  Myokymia might be a sign of pernicious anemia caused by low vitamin B12 levels.  Learn how to stop eye twitching by halting vitamin B12 deficiency in its tracks.


What is myokymia?

Myokymia is a disorder that causes muscles in your body to twitch involuntarily.  Myokymia twitches can affect any groups of nerves or muscles in your body, including your arms, legs, fingers, and back. 

It can also occur on your face- hemifacial spasms are muscular twitches that begin on one side of your face, usually the eye.  Over time, hemifacial spasms can expand to include the rest of your face, on one side.

Balance your B12, Balance your Nerves

Why is my eye twitching?

Myokymia is a type of nerve damage called trigeminal neuralgia.  When your eyelid keeps twitching out of control, it is because the nerves that control the opening and closing of your eyes have been damaged. Eye twitches can occur in either the lower eyelid or upper eyelid,

Causes of myokymia

Causes of eye twitching may include stress, excessive alcohol usage, and staring at a computer screen for long periods of time.  Eye spasms can also be a reaction to caffeine, or may signify low levels of cobalamin- vitamin B12.

B12 deficiency symptoms

Vitamin B12 benefits include red blood cell production, protection of the nervous system’s myelin sheathe, cognitive functioning, DNA synthesis, and lowered homocysteine levels.

If your body does not store adequate amounts of vitamin B12, you may get B12 deficiency, and ultimately severe pernicious anemia, a type of megaloblastic anemia blood disease.

B12 deficiency causes emotional and cognitive disorders such as:

  • Memory loss
  • Decreased mental focus
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Hallucinations

Top Ten Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Pernicious anemia symptoms include severe nerve damage, such as eyelid spasms caused by myokymia.  Lower eyelid twitches are most common with vitamin B12 deficiency patients.  

Other symptoms of nerve damage caused by pernicious anemia include:

  • Numbness and painful tingling in the hands and feet
  • Arms or legs constantly “falling asleep”
  • Prickly feeling in the tongue
  • Altered taste perception
  • Sore or swollen tongue

Why do my Arms and Legs often Fall Asleep? B12 and Paresthesia

Stop eye twitching

If you suspect that you have vitamin B12 deficiency, then consult your physician and request a blood test for B12 levels. If diagnosed with low B12, then your doctor will prescribe vitamin B12 supplements. 

If you have pernicious anemia, then you might have to get routine B12 shots indefinitely. Once you start taking vitamin B12, you will notice a decrease in pernicious anemia symptoms immediately, and total reversal of symptoms by the time your B12 levels return to normal.


Multiple Sclerosis and Vitamin B12 Deficiency


Hemifacial Spasm Information Page: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Signs of B12 Deficiency

Myokymia – Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Eyelid Myokymia

Image credits, from top:

cameronparkins, graur codrin, Tambako the Jaguar

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