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What does Vitamin B12 deficiency have to do with movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndrome? Vitamin B12 protects your nervous system, and many of the symptoms of pernicious anemia from B12 deficiency result in poor muscle control, including muscular spasms, nervous eye twitching, decreased motor skills, and difficulty walking.
Vitamin B12 benefits the nerves
Cyanocobalamin or Vitamin B12 benefits your body in many ways- it lends itself in red blood cell production, DNA synthesis, healthy cognitive functioning, energy production, and homocysteine control. Also, vitamin B12 helps your body produce myelin, a fatty substance that protects your nervous system’s sensitive nerve fibers in the brain and the spinal cord.
Without sufficient levels of vitamin B12, you may develop severe nerve damage- peripheral neuropathy.
Some symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency- peripheral neuropathy include:
painful tingling and numbness in the hands, feet, and ankles
burning mouth syndrome
decreased motor control
frequent clumsiness and tripping
difficulty balancing on one foot
Vitamin B12 deficiency and other movement disorders
It should come as no surprise, then, that other movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease (PD) have close ties with vitamin B12 deficiency. Involuntary muscular movements may or may not be caused by low B12 levels, but
In some movement disorder cases, scientists have noted improvement with vitamin B12 supplements.
Even when pernicious anemia is not a cause of muscle spasms or walking difficulties, researchers sometimes notice a comorbid relationship with vitamin B12 deficiency.
Another occurrence in diagnosing movement disorders is a tendency for doctors to misdiagnose vitamin B12 deficiency as a more serious illness, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s disease.
In a scientific report on Parkinson’s and neuropathy, researchers confirmed a high rate of vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with Parkinson’s disease, and recommended close monitoring of B12 levels and routine administration of vitamin B12 supplements. Results were published in Neurology.
Chorea- focal dystonia
Chorea is an abnormal involuntary movement disorder, part of a group of neurological disorders called dyskinesia. Chorea is a symptom of Huntington’s disease, but it can also occur in other illnesses, including focal dystonia. In one of many studies on vitamin B12 deficiency and focal dystonia, scientists saw favorable results with cyanocobalamin supplementation, attributing it to decreased homocysteine levels.
Restless leg syndrome
The most common symptom of restless leg syndrome is the urgent need to shake your leg to relieve “creeping, crawling” sensations, usually between the kneecap and ankle.Restless leg syndrome occurs often with peripheral neuropathy, a symptom of pernicious anemia. Other possible causes are kidney disease, diabetes neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, and drug interactions.
Stiff person syndrome
Stiff-person syndrome (SPS) is a rare neurological disorder that occurs with autoimmune disease. Symptoms of SPS are muscle spasms in the limbs and trunk, hypersensitivity to touch, noise, and stress, and stiff posture. People who often suffer stiff person syndrome are patients of pernicious anemia (vitamin B12 deficiency), diabetes, thyroiditis, and vitiligo.
Ataxia is an inability to control muscular movements used in walking, jumping, balancing, or holding objects. Chronic ataxia is one of the earliest symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, along with muscular weakness, poor reflexes, spasticity, vision impairment, dementia, and psychosis, according to a Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center study of 153 patients suffering from cobalamin deficiency neuropathy.
Eye movement disorders
Nystagmus, uncontrollable movements of the eyeballs, might be caused by low vitamin B12 levels, according to a study focusing on downbeat nystagmus and vitamin B12 deficiency. Another phenomenon common with B12 deficiency is myokymia- eyelid twitching.
Read more about B12 deficiency and your nervous system:
Numerous studies linking elevated homocysteine with mental illness prove that symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency caused by low B12 (cyanocobalamin) in the blood are often mistaken for mental health issues, such as depression, dementia, and schizophrenia.
What is homocysteine?
Homocysteine is an amino acid that your body makes when you eat meat products. Having too much homocysteine in your blood supply causes damage to your arteries and increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.
What is B12, and how does it regulate homocysteine?
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that occurs exclusively in animal-based foods such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, and milk products. Some of the riches sources of vitamin B12 are organ meats (liver, heart), oysters, and clams.
Together with vitamin B6 and folic acid, vitamin B12 helps break down homocysteine and keep them at a safe, healthy level. Without sufficient stores of these essential vitamins, homocysteine levels would escalate, leaving you at a high risk for developing diseases associated with elevated homocysteine levels, such as neurological impairments and cardiovascular disease.
Elevated homocysteine plasma levels are one of many symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
What illnesses are associated with elevated plasma homocysteine levels?
Scientists believe that homocysteine is behind a wide variety of conditions and illnesses, from visual problems and eating disorders, to heart disease and schizophrenia.
Currently, most scientists agree that elevated homocysteine levels share a significant correlation with the following diseases:
Atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries)
Increased risk of heart attacks
Increased risk of strokes
How many studies link elevated plasma homocysteine levels with mental illness?
A growing number of scientific studies prove a significant correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency, homocysteine levels, and mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, depression, chronic fatigue, dementia, and even eating disorders in women.
1- In Beersheva, Israel, a study focused on treating patients of Alzheimer’s and cerebrovascular disease with folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 supplements. In this randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, scientists of Ben Gurion University noted dramatic cognitive benefits in patients who received the vitamin supplements.
2- In Boston, Massachusetts, a Tufts University study linking low vitamin B12 and cognitive impairment in the elderly noted a direct correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and anemia, macrocytosis, and cognitive problems such as dementia.
4- Elevated plasma levels of homocysteine in females with eating disorders were also the focus of this German study that linked excessive homocysteine with depression, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
5- A Swedish study on older patients with mental illness concluded that age and plasma homocysteine levels more accurately predict cognitive functioning skills than brain imaging, as measured by the Mini mental state examination (MMSE).
Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency and mental illness:
Vitamin B12 supplements essential as part of your weight loss program. What are the benefits of vitamin B12 for weight loss? Vitamin B12 boosts metabolism, in addition to providing energy and stabilizing your mood.
Vitamin B12 contains cobalt; together, the minerals that make up vitamin B12, cobalamin, are essential coenzymes that increase metabolism by converting food to energy in the body. In diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency, researchers often take into account changes in the metabolic rate, in addition to measuring levels of B12 and homocysteine.
“Elevated methylmalonic acid levels might be a more reliable indicator of vitamin B12 status because they indicate a metabolic change that is highly specific to vitamin B12 deficiency.” - National Institutes of Health
People with high metabolisms tend to lose weight more quickly and efficiently than others who have slower metabolic rates. In order to burn fat at an optimal rate, it is essential to maintain healthy stores of vitamin B12.
B12 boosts energy
If you have symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, then you experience symptoms such as tiredness, muscular weakness, decreased motor skills, and lack of energy.
Unfortunately, many people who suffer symptoms of low B12 don’t even know it. Often, comorbid conditions such as clinical depression, anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), or hypothyroidism (low thyroid) mask the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. So, despite taking treatments such as antidepressants, insulin, thyroid medications, or pain relievers, they continue to feel sad and tired all the time, battling with constant “brain fog” without knowing why.
Increasing your energy level provides mental focus, determination, and emotional wellness, in addition to improving your quality of life. These things together assure weight loss success by enabling you to stick to a workout routine, increase your sports performance and stamina, challenge yourself in the gym, and stay on track.
B12 boosts mood
Common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety, paranoia, and unusually aggressive behavior. When you are in a bad mood, you are more likely to make poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drug use, oversleeping, eating fattening, salty or sugary foods, and sedentary activities like television watching and playing video games.
Scientists have proven a high correlation between depression and weight gain. If you feel sluggish, depressed, or more fatigued than usual, then you are statistically less likely to follow an exercise regimen or commit yourself to a new weight loss diet.
Only by taking vitamin B12 supplements can you begin to recover from symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and achieve an overall sense of well-being.
Being tired all the time is a symptom of B12 deficiency, but it can also signal hypothyroidism (low thyroid), a thyroid disease that occurs with lowB12 levels. Because hypothyroid symptoms are similar, vitamin B12 deficiency often goes undetected.
B12 deficiency causes fatigue, depression, and other mood disorders often associated with an underactive thyroid. If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroiditis, then it’s also important also to recognize the symptoms of B12 deficiency, and know whether you might require more vitamin B12 (cobalamin).
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) that occurs in the thyroid gland, causing inflammation, and reducing its ability to produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones. Hashimoto’s disease is one example of thyroiditis that causes low thyroid levels.
Sometimes, thyroid treatment for hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), such as radioactive iodine or surgery, can backfire, causing underactive thyroid symptoms.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that is responsible for making red blood cells, controlling DNA synthesis, regulating the nervous system, and improving cognitive functioning. Without proper levels of vitamin B12, you may suffer neurological damage, dementia, or heart attack resulting from elevated homocysteine levels.
In a study conducted in Sapir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel, patients with autoimmune thyroid disease received blood screening for vitamin B12 deficiency. Researchers noted a significantly high percentage of people with AITD who also had vitamin B12 deficiency caused by pernicious anemia, a disease that inhibits proper absorption of vitamin B12.
Another study conducted in Pakistan by Aga Khan University produced similar results; namely, a 40% prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency among patients with hypothyroidism.
If you are a patient of hypothyroidism, then physicians strongly recommend routine blood testing for vitamin B12 deficiency, regardless of thyroid hormone levels.
Having a hangover is not fun- Hangovers signal alcohol-poisoning symptoms resulting from vitamin B12 deficiency. For that reason, many hangover remedies include vitamin B12 and folate, another member of the B complex vitamins.
It’s best to avoid drinking too much alcohol, and chronic alcohol abuse is detrimental, not only for your health, but for the mental health of your loved ones. If you suffer from alcohol addiction, please seek help from a professional, or call your local Alcoholics Anonymous.
What is a hangover?
A hangover(medical term: Veisalgia) is the aftereffect of your body’s reaction to sudden vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, in addition to intoxication, hypoglycemia, and dehydration.
Hangovers are symptoms of alcohol poisoning that many happen after binging on alcoholic beverages. Certain factors affect your chances of suffering a hangover after drinking, such as body weight, amount of alcohol consumption, and emptiness of stomach.
A hangover can last for several days following an alcoholic binge.
Common symptoms of a hangover may include throbbing headache, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, increased sensitivity to bright light and loud noise, and severe thirst.
Vitamin B12- one of many essential B vitamins
Vitamin B12 is crucial for healthy brain development and functioning, in addition to stabilizing the nervous system, producing red blood cells, and reducing your risk for heart attack or stroke. Vitamin B12, or Cobalamin, is part of the family of B-complex vitamins.
B12 deficiency symptoms include fatigue, loss of energy, “brain fog,” short-term memory loss, increased risk of early-onset dementia, and neurological damage.
Vitamin B12- a hangover cure?
Scientists have noted a strong correlation between hangover symptoms and low B12.
According to Dr. David Katz of the Yale Prevention Research Center, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to absorb nutrients such as vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.
Depending on your level of intoxication, B12 deficiency could be mild- resulting in tiredness, disorientation, and dizziness- or severe, causing extreme depression, nervousness, paranoia, and neurological disorders.
Taking extra doses of B-complex vitamins, especially vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, before drinking alcohol and the following day, are excellent ways of avoiding vitamin B12 deficiency. Also, remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day and evening.
Celiac disease and vitamin B12 deficiency are interrelated, but many celiacs are unaware of the high risk for developing vitamin B-12 deficiency. Like celiac disease, vitamin B12 deficiency is sometimes an autoimmune disorder brought on by pernicious anemia.
What is vitamin B-12?
Vitamin B12, “cyanocobalamin,” is an essential nutrient that occurs in protein foods, such as beef and chicken liver, oysters, shrimp, cheese, yogurt, and eggs. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, and is stored in the liver.
B12 is crucial for healthy red blood cell production, for protecting your nervous system, for supporting cardiovascular health, and for sustaining normal cognitive functioning, such as memory, thinking skills, and logic.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency?
If you are unable to sustain sufficient amounts of B12 in your liver, then you may start to feel tired, depressed, and disoriented. You might notice a numbing or tingling sensation in your hands and feet, described as “pins and needles.”
You might also notice that you have a hard time remembering important dates or meetings, or finding the right word while talking to somebody or sending an e-mail.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac patients and others with gluten intolerance must avoid all products containing gluten- baked goods, packaged snacks, and a long list of food additives- in order to avoid symptoms.
Celiac disease is one of many autoimmune diseases that occur with vitamin B12 deficiency. With celiac, patients who eat any foods containing gluten experience painful symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and achiness. That is because their immune system identifies gluten as a threat, and begins to attack traces of gluten in the digestive system, causing severe damage to the intestinal tract.
Why are celiac disease patients at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency?
Scientists don’t claim that celiac disease is an outright cause of low vitamin B12, but they have noted a strong correlation- enough to warrant extensive research and recommendations.
In order to digest nutrients such as vitamin B12 properly, you need to have a healthy digestive system. People with autoimmune diseases that cause gastrointestinal damage, such as Hashimoto’sdisease, Crohn’sdisease, and celiac diseases, are unable to absorb nutrients from dietary sources because of damage to their stomach linings, small intestines or colon.
For them, malabsorption often leads to anemia, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, and peripheral neuropathy in the hands and feet (thus the tingling and numbness).
Celiac disease patients, and others who can’t absorb vitamin B12
Besides celiac disease, other factors can make it difficult for your body to absorb enough vitamin B12:
Inability to produce intrinsic factor, a necessary protein for B12 vitamin absorption
Gastrointestinal surgeries (gastric bypass, IBD surgery) that involve removing your ileum, a part of your small intestine that helps you digest vitamin B12 from food
Long-time usage of heartburn medications
Following a vegan diet
Does following a gluten-free diet cure vitamin B12 deficiency?
Not entirely; according to research by the University of Edinburgh, people who suffer celiac disease, but do not receive treatment, have a 41% chance of developing vitamin B12 deficiency.
In celiac patients who started following a gluten-free diet, most of their symptoms disappeared. However, a significant amount of celiacs continued to suffer neuropathic symptoms such as tingling and numbness, and those side effects did not disappear until they brought their vitamin B12 levels back to normal with routine vitamin B12 supplements.
Read more about preventing vitamin B12 deficiency:
Elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid known to contribute to heart disease symptoms, is called “hyperhomocysteinemia.”
Having too much homocysteine in your blood increases your chances of developing “coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.”
Homocysteine damages the inner linings of your arteries and causes blood clots.
B vitamins, such as vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and folate help your body break down homocysteine in your blood, keeping it at a healthy minimum.
People with high vitamin B12 levels have the lowest concentration of homocysteine levels.
People with a family history of heart disease should check their homocysteine levels routinely, in addition to including B vitamins in their diet, or at least supplementing with vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate.
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in beef, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products, and brewer’s yeast. However, if you lack intrinsic factor, or if you have had bariatric surgery, then your body is not able to digest vitamin B12 naturally from food. Your only course of action in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency is to supplement with Vitamin B12.
Like B12, vitamin B6 sources also include protein foods, such as liver, fish, and other meats, in addition to fortified cereals.
Folate is a B vitamin that occurs in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fortified cereals.
A vitamin b12 injection (cyanocobalamin) is a synthetic form of vitamin b12. The primary reason for getting a b12 injection is to treat b12 deficiency. For many years b12 injections have also been given for patients suffering from fatigue and low energy. The most common dosage is a 1000 microgram (mcg) b12 injection once a week. There are no upper limit dosages to vitamin b12 and there are no reported side effects to b12 overdose.