Vitamin B12 deficiency is a type of anemia that sneaks up on you; symptoms are often masked by other underlying illnesses, and can worsen intense fatigue, depression, anxiety and weakness. Listed below are illnesses and other health conditions that can be helped by diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency and implementing immediate supplementation.
- Anemia- Pernicious anemia occurs with untreated vitamin B12 deficiency. Once considered a fatal disease, doctors can now prevent irreparable nerve damage, cognitive disorders, and loss of red blood cells by executing high doses of vitamin B12, usually for life.
- Alzheimer’s disease dementia- Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among elderly citizens. As you age, you lose your ability to digest vitamins from natural food sources. One of the earliest symptoms of declining vitamin B12 levels is memory loss. With age-related dementia, undiagnosed vitamin B12 deficiency can exacerbate symptoms like forgetfulness, confusion, moodiness, and paranoia. That’s why doctors recommend routine serum vitamin B12 screenings for individuals over the age of 60.
- Mental illness- Scientists have found that people with bipolar disorder, chronic depression, or post-partum psychosis respond better to medications when vitamin B12 levels are normal. Conversely, vitamin B12 deficiency in people suffering from mental illness (depression, schizophrenia) results in a worsening of symptoms.
- Peripheral neuropathy- Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system, as it supports myelin, a fatty coating that insulates your nerve cells. Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe nerve damage. Symptoms include painful tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, muscle spasms, and poor reflexes.
- Multiple sclerosis- B12 deficiency is sometimes misdiagnosed as MS, as the symptoms are similar and both conditions involve a breakdown of myelin. Vitamin B12 deficiency in multiple sclerosis patients can also magnify symptoms of numbness, muscle pain, and fatigue.
- Vertigo- Dizziness and vertigo is one of many side effects of vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome- Severe fatigue can be helped by correcting a vitamin B12 deficiency, as B12 is needed for energy and mental wellness. Also, many chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers also have gastrointestinal disorders that prevent proper absorption of vitamin B12 from foods, leading to lower than normal B12 levels.
- Fibromyalgia- Similar to CFS, fibromyalgia is also comorbid with severe vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Erectile dysfunction- Many oft-cited scientific reports have seen a link between sexual disorders and abnormally low levels of vitamin B12.
- Infertility- Vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy or while trying to conceive can increase your risk for premature birth, miscarriage, and difficulty conceiving.
If you have any of the illnesses listed above, have you been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency? Sometimes, false-negative test results fail to determine vitamin B12 deficiency when symptoms are evident.
Since vitamin B12 is safe to use in even highest doses, doctors recommend supplementing if any of the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency make it difficult to function normally, even without a diagnosis.
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