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Posts Tagged ‘gastric bypass’

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

Getting your Vitamin B12, Post-Bariatric Surgery

Thursday, February 7th, 2013



After bariatric surgery procedures, such as gastric bypass, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B12 (cobalamin), in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, a common debilitating side effect which can be avoided by adhering to strict vitamin supplementation.

Getting your Vitamin B12, Post-Bariatric Surgery- B12 Patch

Many people considering weigh loss surgery wrongly assume that their struggles with food choices will be over once they’ve completed the operation and lost the desired amount of weight.

Nothing could be further from the truth! Now, more than ever, it’s important to pay close attention to the nutritional values of the food you eat, in addition to adopting a strict regimen of quality vitamin supplements.

Vitamin B12 deficiency after surgery

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause severe, irreversible neurological damage, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, and in rare cases, death.

Unfortunately, many bariatric surgery patients are not sufficiently warned to check their vitamin B12 levels continually following their operation.

This cannot be stressed enough! Even if you include plenty of meat products in your diet, once you have elected for bariatric surgery, you will not be able to get the amount of vitamin B12 that you need without supplementation.

This is because part of the gastric bypass procedure involves removal of the ilium, the bottom-most section of the small intestine, which is responsible for digesting vitamin B12.

For this reason, patients of bariatric surgery have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from the foods they eat, such as beef, seafood, and poultry.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

Severe vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the leading complications that can arise following any gastrointestinal surgery, including bariatric surgery.

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can result in osteoporosis, hypertension, neurological disorders, poor immune system functioning, and emotional problems.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency may include:

  • Excessive constant fatigue
  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness
  • Dizziness
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Muscle twitches, spasms
  • Difficulty controlling arm and leg movements
  • Vision problems
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Poor appetite

For more, read B12 Deficiency: Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

Getting your B12

Once you have had gastric bypass surgery, your only alternative in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency is to supplement with non-dietary vitamin B12.

This includes vitamin B12 injections, sublingual vitamin B12, and other forms of over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 that do not require oral supplementation.

One drawback of using sublingual vitamin B12 tablets is that you have to be careful not to swallow it; not because swallowing vitamin B12 is dangerous (it isn’t), but because once swallowed, it is rendered useless.

If you’re not able to allow the B12 lozenge to rest under your tongue long enough to dissolve, which may take 15 minutes, then this is probably not a good option for you.

In addition to vitamin B12 shots, other forms of non-oral vitamin B12 are also available online without the need for prescription.

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:

10 Mistakes Gastric Bypass Patients Often Make

Gastric Bypass Surgery Better than Banding…or it it?

Image(s) courtesy of marin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

Gastric Bypass Stomach Surgery in Mexico- Would you?

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Medical Tourism, New Healthcare Reform?




There’s never been a better time to visit Costa Rica- really.

As the cost of food and other living expenses goes up, one would think that people in the US would be less inclined to travel to exotic destinations than ever before.  With gas prices skyrocketing, why would anybody in his right mind choose to hop on a plane headed for Thailand, India, or Mexico?

But that’s exactly what more people are doing these days, and believe it or not, their motives are cost-effective.

“Medical Tourism” is at a statistical high, with hopeful patients traveling as far as South Korea for a tummy tuck, Malaysia for a gastric lap band, or Singapore for a gastric bypass.  With hospital safety standards equal to that of American hospitals, many countries in Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific are cashing in on their newly acquired medical technology by appealing to Americans who are tired of paying high health care prices.



The $6K rule of thumb

Medical tourism agencies have sprouted to meet the demands of US citizens seeking low-cost bariatric surgeries, heart surgeries, and cosmetic surgeries.  But what about the cost of air travel, time off from work, and other vacation expenses? How can you be sure that you won’t just break even in the end, or worse, end up paying more than you would had you elected for surgery in the US of A?

Josef Woodman, author of the consumer guide, Patients Beyond Borders, suggests getting a complete quote from your healthcare insurance, including the actual price of surgery, plus overnight hospital stays and doctor visits.  If the total comes out to more than $6,000, then call your travel agent.  Chances are, you can save a significant amount of money by searching outside the US for a more economical quote.



Compare the cost:

1) United States

Gastric Bypass- $32K, Gastric Lap Band- $30K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $7-20K, Tummy Tuck- $6-9K

2) Mexico

Gastric Bypass- $11K, Gastric Lap Band- $9K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $9K, Tummy Tuck- $4K

3) Costa Rica

Gastric Bypass- $10-12K, Gastric Lap Band- $8K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $10K, Tummy Tuck- $4K

4) India

Gastric Bypass- $10K, Gastric Lap Band- $9K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $5K, Tummy Tuck- $3K



5) Korea

Gastric Bypass- $9K, Gastric Lap Band- $11K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $9K, Tummy Tuck- $5K

6) Malaysia

Gastric Bypass- $12K, Gastric Lap Band- $8K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $8K, Tummy Tuck- $4K

7) Singapore

Gastric Bypass- $16K, Gastric Lap Band $9K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $11K, Tummy Tuck- $6K

8) Thailand

Gastric Bypass- $13-16K, Gastric Lap Band- $14K, Gastric Sleeve Surgery- $13K, Tummy Tuck- $5K




Weight Loss Surgery Mexico & Abroad- Analysis and Recommendations

Brazil to Turkey: Top 10 Medical Tourism Destinations

Medical Tourism Statistics & Facts- Patients Beyond Borders

Medical Tourism Statistics and Facts

FACTBOX: Five facts about medical tourism- Reuters

Compare Cost- Medical Tourism

Placid Way   Medical Treatment Abroad Prices

Tired of getting Dumped? 4 Ways to avoid Gastric Bypass Dumping.

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011



What is gastric bypass dumping , and how can I avoid it? If you’ve had bariatric surgery, then you need to learn how to prevent getting “dumped.”


Dumping Syndrome or “rapid gastric emptying” is what occurs after a gastric bypass surgery when the food you eat moves through your digestive system too quickly.

Swallowed bits of food are unceremoniously “dumped” through your stomach and into your small intestines without proper digestion, leading to unpleasant side effects, such as nausea.

Dumping syndrome can happen quickly, only thirty minutes after eating, but it can also occur several hours later.

Within the first hour of eating, dumping syndrome symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Belching
  • Heart palpitations

When dumping occurs about three hours after a meal, then symptoms may include:

  • Perspiring
  • Tiredness
  • Light-headedness
  • Jerkiness
  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fainting
  • Muddled thinking
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

10 Mistakes Gastric Bypass Patients Often Make

Dumping syndrome is painful and often embarrassing, with strict adherence to a few simple dietary rules, you can avoiding experiencing it in the future.

Here are four basic rules for preventing gastric bypass dumping symptoms:

1) Eat slowly.

Eating or drinking hurriedly is a certain way to cause dumping later. 

Because your body no longer has the control mechanism that regulates how quickly food enters your small intestines, it is up to you to make sure that your stomach receives food to digest at a slow, steady pace before sending it on through your gastrointestinal tract.

So eat at a leisurely pace, chew your food carefully, and take small bites.

2) Avoid simple sugars.

Certain foods, such as ice cream, cakes, and cookies (the very things that got you fat in the first place) are likely to cause the unpleasant side effects of dumping, such as dizziness, hypertension, nausea, and diarrhea

Check food labels, and avoid anything that lists sugar, glucose, or dextrose (or anything ending in –ose) as one of its first three ingredients.  

Study: Gastric Bypass as a Cure for Diabetes?

3) Sip water throughout the day, and lots of it.

Never drink liquids while eating, as that causes dumping symptoms, like nausea and vomiting.  

Always leave a no-drinking window of thirty minutes before and after eating. 

Additionally, drinking during a meal will cause you to eat less, which can lead to malnutrition.  

To avoid dehydration, remember to drink small sips of water between meals, amounting to 64 ounces per day. Don’t rush- the same rules apply for eating as they do for drinking water.

4) Eat protein with your meals.

Half of your dinner plate should include a source of protein, such as lean beef, chicken, fish, eggs or dairy.  Because it takes longer to digest protein, you’re less likely to overeat or eat too quickly. 

In addition, protein foods are high in vitamin B12, a nutrient that you should be including in your daily supplements, as well as in your regular diet.  

B12 Deficiency: Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

Related Reading:

Weight Loss Surgery: What 50 Post-Op Patients have to Say

Teens and Weight Loss Surgery: Worth the Risk?

Gastric Bypass Surgery: Good for the Heart


Gastric bypass diet- MayoClinic.com

How to Prevent Dumping Syndrome After Weight Loss Surgery | eHow.com

Gastric Dumping Diet | LIVESTRONG.COM

Dumping Syndrome: Unpleasant Gastric Bypass Side Effect. Avoid It!

Dumping Syndrome: The Dirty Secret Gastric Bypass Patients Keep

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