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Posts Tagged ‘diabetes’

Pain and Numbness from Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Monday, October 7th, 2013



If you suffer from pins and needles and painful burning or tingling in your hands and feet, then you may have vitamin B12 deficiency. There are many causes of chronic pain and numbness, most of them strongly linked to extremely low vitamin B12 levels or resulting  pernicious anemia.

Pain and Numbness from Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Getting enough vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for your nervous system, but sometimes we don’t get enough, either because of diet or underlying health issues.

Eating a vegan diet devoid of B12-rich meats, fish, and cheese is one way of developing vitamin B12 deficiency, but it is also common in the elderly and people who have had gastrointestinal surgery such as gastric bypass.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also occur with migraine, fibromyalgia, and other forms of chronic pain, as autoimmune history and gastrointestinal problems combine to further raise your chances for developing vitamin B12 deficiency and resulting nerve pain.

If you’re experiencing constant nerve pain and numbness, then you should consider vitamin B12 deficiency as a possible cause.

Vitamin B12 deficiency neuropathy

Neuropathy is any kind of nerve damage that causes intense pain and numbness. Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common forms of nerve pain, but it can also occur as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency or, if prolonged, pernicious anemia.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency neuropathy include:

  • Painful numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Burning or itchy skin rashes
  • Sore burning tongue
  • Difficulty controlling arm and leg movements
  • Muscle spasms

Vitamin B12 and your nerves

Vitamin B12 protects your nervous system by sustaining myelin, a fatty substance that insulates your nerve fibers and enhances intercellular communication, so that sensory messages travel along the spinal cord to the brain quickly and efficiently.

When vitamin B12 levels become depleted, you suffer symptoms resulting from demyelination, destruction of the nerve cell’s outer coating. This is the same process that occurs in patients of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Nervous impulses become slower, and symptoms of tingling, burning, pain and numbness from vitamin B12 deficiency become more frequent.

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can impair your nervous system and cause severe handicaps.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)


Vitamin B12 deficiency is often comorbid with diabetes. Diabetics taking metformin are at a high risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency, as metformin is one of several drugs that prevent absorption of vitamin B12 from foods.

If you are a diabetic using metformin, then it’s crucial sustain vitamin B12 levels through supplementation.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Fibromyalgia Pain Types

Vitamin B12 deficiency is harder to diagnose in people with diabetes, as the symptoms of pain and numbness are already masked by preexisting diabetic neuropathy. Routine vitamin B12 blood tests are recommended for all diabetics using metformin.

Treating nerve pain and numbness

If nerve pain results from vitamin B12 deficiency, then it’s important to boost your intake of vitamin B12 immediately.

The best, most digestible sources of vitamin B12 are non-dietary supplements that are absorbed into your bloodstream, as opposed to vitamin B12 pills that you swallow.

For best results, start out with 1,000mcg of vitamin B12 weekly or more often, as needed or recommended by your doctor.

Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants for neuropathic pain, or he may advise anti-convulsant drugs. All of these, over extended periods of time, may result in uncomfortable side effects, so use with caution.

Topical treatments used to relive arthritis may help to relieve nerve pain, without any harmful side effects.

Your turn!

If you suffer nerve pain and numbness, have you been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency?

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:

Do-It-Yourself Chronic Pain Management- 6 Helpful Tips

Help- My Legs keep Falling Asleep!

What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia- B12 deficiency?

Image courtesy of marin/freedigitalphotos

6 Degrees of Vitamin B12- B12 Deficiency and Autoimmune Disease

Thursday, October 20th, 2011



Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked with so many types of autoimmune disease; it’s almost like the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Guess what vitamin B12, IBS, cardiovascular disease, and many kinds ofchronic disease have in common…

B12 deficiency- why worry?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient, one of many B vitamins, that is crucial for optimum health. If you don’t get enough vitamin B12 from meat, chicken, fish, and eggs, from B12 shots, then you could suffer severe vitamin B12 deficiency, which includes symptoms such as short-term memory loss, tingling in hands and feet, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression.  People who are at risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency are vegans, patients of gastric bypass surgery, diabetes sufferers, individuals on heartburn medicine, and anybody with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Vitamin B12 deficiency is also linked with many autoimmune diseases.

Worried about Low B12 Lab Results?

Here are 12 illnesses that are“6 degrees” away from vitamin B12 deficiency:

1) Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a digestive disease that includes illnesses such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of many IBD symptoms, such as chronic diarrhea, stomach cramping, nausea, heartburn, and constipation.  IBD can cause severe damage to the intestines, including the colon. People with inflammatory bowel disease have difficulty digesting vitamins and minerals from food, which is why they must take regular vitamin supplements. Because their illness occurs in the digestive system, many IBD patients take vitamin B12 shots in order to avoid B12 deficiency, as vitamin B12 pills are ineffective.

Crohn’s- 9 Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) Myths to Ignore

2) Celiac disease

Celiacs disease is an autoimmune disease that attacks the digestive system with the consumption of gluten.  Celiac disease symptoms include indigestion, diarrhea, malnourishment, and nausea.  Gluten intolerance symptoms occur whenever a celiac disease patient consumes a product containing gluten, a protein that occurs in wheat, rye, and barley.  Because of their difficulty digesting vitamins, celiac disease sufferers should supplement regularly with non-oral forms of vitamin B12.

Celiac Disease Tip: Gluten Free Diet plus Extra Vitamin B12

3) Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)

Auto [fibromyalgia symptoms] [symptoms of fibromyalgia]

Fibromyalgia symptoms strike 1 in 50 Americans.  Many people don’t realize that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease.  Symptoms of fibromyalgia include chronic pain, fatigue, depression, insomnia, and “fibro fog” (disorientation).  Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia also exhibit signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Fibromyalgia FAQs- 6 Need-to-Know Fibro Facts

4) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is another autoimmune disease, similar to fibromyalgia, which is closely linked with vitamin B12 deficiency. Scientists have noted an extremely high correlation between all three conditions- fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and B12 deficiency.  Symptoms of CFS are extreme tiredness upon waking up in the morning, fatigue following minimal physical exertion, achy joints, and fibro fog.

40 Things NOT to say to a Fibromyalgia-Chronic Fatigue Sufferer

5) Diabetes

Diabetics who take the drug metformin are susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency, say scientists. Scientific studies linking low B12 levels with long-term usage of metformin indicate a 77% chance of developing peripheral neuropathy.

New Study: Diabetes Drug Metformin Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency

6) Psychiatric disorders

[clinical depression] [anxiety disorder]

Some symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are often misdiagnosed as psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorder, manic depression, or paranoia.

Vitamin Deficiencies can drive you Crazy- Seriously! Part 1

7) Heartburn

Stomach acids are essential for digesting vitamin B12 naturally from food sources.  That is why people who take heartburn medication frequently, such as people with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or pregnant women, must take care to avoid B12 deficiency.

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

8) Gastric bypass

Some weight loss surgery procedures involve removing the terminal ilium, a part of the digestive system that is responsible for absorbing vitamin B12. For that reason, patients of bariatric surgery are strongly advised to supplement with non-oral vitamin B12.

10 Mistakes Gastric Bypass Patients Often Make

9) Pernicious anemia

Sometimes, vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by pernicious anemia, a condition that distorts your red blood cells and inhibits absorption of vitamin B12. Causes of pernicious anemia include autoimmune disease and gastritis.

Signs and Symptoms of 6 Types of Anemia Blood Disease

10) Cardiovascular disease

Vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate all work together in lowering your body’s level of homocysteine; an amino acid that scientists believe may contribute to heart disease and stroke.

B Vitamins prevent Cardiovascular Disease- B6, B12 and Folate

11) Thyroid disease

Autoimmune thyroid disease, also called Hashimoto’s disease, is an autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland.  There is an unusually high correlation between instances of autoimmune thyroid disease and pernicious anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. Because some of the symptoms of thyroid disease mimic pernicious anemia, many doctors overlook the possibility of vitamin B12 deficiency.

12) Dementia

Vitamin B12 helps to sustain cognitive health. In many studies, scientists have noticed that elderly individuals with low levels of B12 are more likely to suffer from early onset dementia than elderly individuals who maintain adequate levels of vitamin B12.

How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain


American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.

Prevalence and evaluation of B12 deficiency in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease- PubMed NCBI

Peripheral neuropathy- Mayo Clinic

Throw a Diabetes-Friendly Dinner Party in 4 Easy Steps

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011



Nervous about what to serve guests who are diabetic? Hosting a dinner party for guests with diabetes is no sweat if you follow these four simple rules…

Throw a Diabetes-Friendly Dinner Party in 4 Easy Steps: Making an Occasion Special for Diabetics

Planning a dinner party can be overwhelming, even for the most confident of hosts…

Deciding which kinds of appetizers to serve, how much food to buy, and what to present as the main course can be daunting, even without taking into consideration one’s dietary preferences.

If you know that a guest is diabetic, you will need to make a few adjustments to your usual dinner routine, but not a lot.

Diabetics can eat the same kinds of foods as non-diabetics, only in smaller amounts and with limitations.

Mainly, try to limit foods that affect blood sugar levels, such as carbohydrates like sweet beverages and starchy white bread rolls. Encourage guests to help themselves to crispy vegetable sticks with dressing and sparkling water with fruit juice.

With careful planning, you can treat your guests to a delicious and diabetically healthy dinner party they’ll be talking about for years.

Type 2 Diabetes Often Undetected- Do You Have These Symptoms?

Throw a Diabetes-Friendly Dinner Party in 4 Easy Steps - B12 patch

Here are 4 simple rules for planning a party for diabetic guests:

Step 1: Make it a six-course meal, or longer

Doctors warn diabetics not to eat a heavy meal in one sitting, but rather to eat small bites throughout the day, with at least an hour in between servings.

Greet your guests with a small, heart-healthy appetizer, preferably something that is low in carbs, like marinated artichokes and mushrooms.  Later, introduce a soup course, followed by a light salad.  For the main meal, serve your guests a selection of smothered chicken breasts, lean roast beef, or vegetarian stuffed squash.

Limit starchy pastas and rice to side dishes, and incorporate veggies like broccoli, carrots, and zucchini.

Step 2: Support their drinking habit

Diabetics need to drink plenty of water- it keeps their blood sugar down.  Refrain from buying cases of colas and the like- they’re just candy in disguise.  Instead, stock up on mineral water, plain seltzer, and sugarless iced tea.

In addition, in case their sugar level should plummet, station a few pitchers of fresh, pure orange juice around the room.

Throw a Diabetes-Friendly Dinner Party in 4 Easy Steps: Making an Occasion Special for Diabetics

Diabetics, Take Heed

Step 3:  Use dessert plates…for every meal

Even if you’re not diabetic, a good rule of thumb for limiting portion sizes is to use small plates.  Seeing a lot of empty space on our dish makes us feel like we’re depriving ourselves.  Likewise, filling up our plate, however small, tricks our brain into thinking we’re getting more, and we’re more likely to feel satisfied later.


Step 4: Don’t skimp on dessert

Diabetics’ worst enemies are often the stuff of dessert tables- chocolate layer cake with fudgy ganache, tiramisu; even seemingly, innocent fruit pies promise to give you a sugar high in record speed.

Make a lovely presentation of grapes, melon, and berries.  Serve sugarless yogurt and light whipped topping on the side.  Follow up with some skinny wedges of assorted cheeses and coffee or tea.

Throw a Diabetes-Friendly Dinner Party in 4 Easy Steps: Making an Occasion Special for Diabetics

Suggested Reading:

New Study: Diabetes Drug Metformin Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Study: Gastric Bypass as a Cure for Diabetes?

Hot Celebs with Diabetes: How They Manage

Diabetics, Put On Your Walking Shoes


Planning a Dinner Party for diabetics

Holly B. Clegg: 6 Ways To Make Dinner Parties Diabetic-Friendly

How to Plan a Dinner Party with a Diabetic Guest | eHow.com

Hot Celebs with Diabetes: How They Manage

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Almost 26 million people in the US have been diagnosed with diabetes. Occasionally, diabetics feel bogged down by this life-long disease, believing that they cannot lead productive lives.  Young diabetics might think that wearing their insulin pump is “not cool.”  But ignoring the symptoms of diabetes can lead to serious complications like vitamin B12 deficiency, blindness, kidney failure, stroke, coma and worse case scenario- death.

Here are some celebrities with diabetes who haven’t let diabetes get in their way:

Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas, tween pop star of the Jonas Brothers was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2005, after experience commons symptoms of diabetes like irritability, thirst and rapid weight loss.  Nick Jonas never leaves the house without his insulin pump. and frequently donates his time to diabetes-related funding and research.

His message to doting  tween-aged fans who’ve been diagnosed with diabetes- “Don’t let it slow you down at all. I made a promise to myself on the way to the hospital that I wouldn’t let this thing slow me down, and I’d just keep moving forward, and that’s what I did. Just keep a positive attitude and keep moving forward with it. Don’t be discouraged.”

Halle Berry

X-Men star, Halle Berry, says she has battled with type 1 diabetes since she was a child; she goes on to say that she has since weaned herself off insulin through diet and exercise, and now only has type 2 diabetes…well, we don’t know about that.  Diabetes experts have responded that it is not physically possible for type 1 diabetics to survive without taking their insulin, and it would be suicide to try.

Brett Michaels

Lead singer of Poison and reality-tv star Brett Michaels has spoken openly about his type 1 diabetes in an interview with Diabetes Health magazine., saying that he has been battling with his diabetes since being diagnosed at the age of 6.  Brett Michaels was hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy, which was followed up several weeks later by a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Tommy Lee

Motley Crue drummer and ex-husband of both Pamela Anderson and Heather Locklear Tommy Lee was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  His famous tattoos inspired a line of t-shirs and jeans manufactured by People’s Liberation, who also sells a line of clothing inspired by Justin Timberlake.

Elliot Yamin

This American Idol contestant placed 3rd in 2006; his 2007 album, Elliot Yamin, hit number 1 on the  Billboard Independent Albums chart.  Believe it or not, he had an eardrum replacement at the age of 13. Elliot Yamin currently wears an insulin pump to manage his type 1 diabetes.

Sharon Stone

Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone suffered a stroke on the set back in 2001; her doctors chalked it up to a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Sharon Stone, a fellow diabetic, often does fundraisers for the Carousel of Hope, which raises millions of dollars every year towards childhood diabetes research.

Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams was the first African-American to be crowned Miss America, and went on to rock the charts with songs like Save the Best for Last. Vanessa Williams is also diabetic.

Nicole Johnson

Another former Miss America, Nicole Johnson also suffers from diabetes.


Examiner.com, USA Today, ABC News, MSN

Diabetics, Put On Your Walking Shoes

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Jan 15, 2010- A study recently published in BMJ reveals that walking may be helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes.

An Australian study, in an attempt to research causes of diabetes and ways in which we might prevent diabetes’ symptoms, made the following discovery: walking ten thousand steps per day not only guarantees weight loss but also prevents the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Of the 592 middle-aged test subjects who were studied over a period of five years, it was the ones who had managed to incorporate at least 10,000 footsteps into their daily routine who demonstrated the lowest body mass index and optimal sensitivity to insulin out of all other volunteers.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to utilize the hormone insulin efficiently.  Although age, stress and heredity may be factors in developing type 2 diabetes, obesity is the leading cause.  Over 80% of patients who have type 2 diabetes are clinically overweight.

How does walking help to prevent diabetes?

  • Exercise regulates glucose levels by helping your muscles absorb sugar more efficiently, thus avoiding a sudden excess of sugar in the bloodstream.
  • Walking induces weight loss, another important factor in avoiding diabetes. 
  • Light cardiovascular workouts such as walking are essential for avoiding heart disease, which has a high correlation to diabetes.
  • A Half-hour of walking per day is recommended for maximum benefit, as well as adherence to a strict low-fat diet.

Care to take the 10,000-step challenge?

Here are some necessary tools to get you on your way:

  • The Omron HJ-112 digital pedometer can be hooked onto your belt or underclothes and silently calculates steps, distance, burned calories and has a 7-day memory.
  • Sportline’s 344 Talking Safety Alarm tells you how you’re doing and will also send out an alert if medical assistance is needed.  Great for heart patients.
  • Yamax SW-200 Digiwalker pedometer is simple to use and does exactly what it was designed to do- count steps efficiently.
  • Many New Balance walking shoes for women feature an innovatively curved sole which is designed to help you achieve maximum performance during your walking workout.
  • Asics GEL running shoes for men provide cushioned support for greater comfort and reduced injury.
  • Many shoe stores offer diabetic walking shoes which are tailored to meet the medical needs of diabetics


Fox News

Huffington Post

Web MD

New Year’s Resolution #1: Get a Hot Tub

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Well, another year is upon us, and what better way to ring in the second decade of the 21st century than to make a firm commitment to live healthier, happier and wiser (once the confetti has settled and the bubbly champagne has fizzed out, that is).

Next on the agenda: take a bath.  A recent study by the Washington State University National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute lists five reasons why hydrotherapy is essential for mind, body and spirit.

Get Down…

Get your blood pressure down, that is.  The WSU study concluded that soaking in water of any temperature is helpful for reducing blood pressure, although test participants who soaked in hot water demonstrated the lowest blood pressure of all.

Get Pumped…

Heart disease patients and diabetics should consider hydrotherapy for cardiovascular health and circulation.  Water immersion gets your blood pumping and your heart thumping to a steady beat.

Now Twist…

Athletes, listen up: soaking your muscles after a workout is more than just a treat to reward work well done – your body needs it in order to repair and soothe torn muscles.

Loosen up…

Ever notice that wonderful light, anti-gravity feeling you get when you’re sitting in a body of water?  Well, your joints notice it, too.  Floating in a tub of water relieves the joints and increases flexibility.

And Just Chill

Studies have proven that taking a hot bath lowers stress by balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Diabetics, Take Heed

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

A new study released by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) warns diabetics who take metformin to get their blood checked regularly for vitamin deficiencies, particularly B12.

Sold under the brand name of Glucophage, metformin is often prescribed to patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes.  Metformin increases the body’s receptiveness to insulin while, at the same time, significantly decreasing the amount of glucose secreted by the liver; additionally, it also aids in lowering bad cholesterol.   Scientists, however, have reason to believe that metformin may prevent the body from efficiently absorbing B12, a vitamin which is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system and red blood cell production.  According to recent research, patients who take metformin are 10% – 30% more likely to have difficulty utilizing B12.  Health experts urge anybody taking the medication over a long period of time to have their B12 levels tested routinely.

B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed, as its symptoms are similar to those of many other illnesses.

Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression
  • Loss of memory
  • Tingling and numbness in the extremities
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Slow reflexes
  • Slow blood clotting
  • Dandruff
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Red or sore tongue
  • Menstrual complications

Treatment for B12 deficiency may include a series of B12 vitamin supplements taken in the form of intramuscular injections.


Bloomberg Businessweek

Web MD

Diabetes Self-Management

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