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You might be surprised to know that vitamin B12 deficiency can cause symptoms like depression, fatigue, and anxiety. Vitamin B12 benefits your body in many ways, and when you don’t get enough, you can start to feel sluggish, nervous, and depressed, in addition to suffering many neurological disorders. Sometimes, depression from B12 deficiency mimics clinical depression, interfering with a proper diagnosis.
Do you have vitamin B12 deficiency?
The only way to be certain if your B12 levels are low is by getting a blood test. This will indicate if you need more vitamin B12, even if it doesn’t necessarily explain why your B12 levels are lower than normal.
Here are some typical signs of vitamin B12 deficiency that “masquerade” as mental illness:
Depression that lingers
Neurological symptoms of B12 deficiency include:
Painful tingling in your legs, hands, and feet
Frequent clumsiness and tripping
Altered sense of taste
How many types of depression are there?
Here are some of the most common types of depression:
Major depressive disorder: The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) characterizes major depression as a “combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities.” Most people who suffer from major depression will experience several episodes of depression in their lives, but it is possible to experience it only once. With major depressive disorder, medication is required for treatment of symptoms.
Dysthymic disorder: Dysthymia is depression that lingers over several years. With dysthymia, depression is less severe than major depression, and not as likely to interfere in one’s ability to work or study. Still, dysthymic disorder causes feelings of sadness and disquiet. People with dysthymia may suffer from episodes of major depression, as well.
Minor depression: Minor depression is diagnosed when one has a short interval of depression over a few weeks. Minor depression itself is not debilitating, but untreated may escalate into major depression.
Bipolar disorder: Manic-depressive illness is less common than major depression, and involves swift mood changes that alternate from exhilarating highs to deep depression.
Psychotic depression: Depression that accompanies other forms of severe mental illness, such as hallucinations or delusions, is called psychotic depression.
Postpartum depression: About 10%-15% of women suffer from postpartum depression after giving birth, which is caused by shifting hormones and overwhelming lifestyle changes.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): During the winter months, it is common for some people to suffer from seasonal affective disorder because of decreased exposure to sunlight. Still, antidepressants and psychotherapy are more effective at treating SAD than light therapy.
Depression from vitamin deficiency: Vitamin B12 deficiency and folate deficiency are directly linked to some incidences of depression. According to NIMH, “depression and poor response to antidepressant medication have been linked to deficiency in the vitamins folate and B12.”
In other studies, elevated homocysteine levels were associated with increased risk for depression. Vitamin B12 and folate supplementation, which decrease homocysteine levels in the blood, were instrumental in treating depression.
What’s the connection between vitamin B12 and depression?
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is necessary for various biochemical functions, such as DNA synthesis, red blood cell distribution, production of myelin, which protects your nerve cells, and breaking down homocysteine. In addition, vitamin B12 also helps to maintain healthy cognitive functioning.
When vitamin B12 levels are low, your brain suffers. You begin to experience severe memory loss, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and emotional problems like depression, anxiety, paranoia, feelings of hostility, and moodiness.
Vitamin B12 food sources include meat, fish, milk, and egg products. However, if you suffer from pernicious anemia or other autoimmune disorders, you probably cannot digest vitamin B12 from foods, and must supplement with sublingual vitamin B12 or vitamin B12 shots.
Please tell us…
If you suffer from depression, have you had your B12 levels checked, as well? If you currently take vitamin B12 supplements, do you take them orally, through B12 injections, or otherwise?
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Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency and depression:
Everybody knows that Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that occurs among the elderly, but did you know that severe memory loss from vitamin B12 deficiency can happen, regardless of your age? Find out how vitamin B12 deficiency affects brain health.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a brain disorder that causes you to lose thinking skills like memory, reasoning, language, and social awareness. Dementia is a progressive condition- the symptoms of dementia only worsen with time.
Degenerative dementia is permanent, meaning that the brain damage that caused dementia is irreversible. Still, some kinds of dementia can be reversed if caught in time; such is the case with a brain tumor.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most notable types of degenerative dementia.
Short-term memory loss: While dementia patients don’t usually have difficulty remembering things from their childhood with crystal-clear vision, they are likely to forget messages, conversations, or doctor’s appointments from the previous day…or hour.
Moodiness: Alzheimer’s disease patients may shift through moods in the blink of an eye- one minute content, the next minute expressing deep anger, and rage. Paranoia and depression are common traits of elderly individuals suffering from dementia. Often, people with dementia lose interest in things like hobbies and social clubs that they used to enjoy. In some cases, they may become antisocial and exhibit bad behavior in public.
Difficulty communicating: People with dementia tend to have circular conversations, immediately forgetting what they spoke of a moment ago, and returning to the same topic. They also have trouble recalling everyday words, as their vocabulary skills have decreased significantly.
Decreased perception skills: Dementia patients have great difficulty understanding new or foreign concepts.
Inability to multi-task
Cognitive decline: Senior citizens with dementia have trouble thinking abstractly, figuring amounts, and using logic.
As there are many different types of dementia, there are also various causes and correlations, as well.
Stroke (Vascular dementia)
Dementia with Lewy bodies
Progressive supranuclear palsy
Vitamin B12 deficiency (Pernicious anemia)
Certain cholesterol-lowering medications
How do doctors diagnose dementia?
If your doctor suspects dementia, he will have to review the patient’s medical history and order various physical exams before he diagnoses dementia. Additionally, any underlying medical conditions that may contribute to dementia symptoms will be reviewed, such as low levels of vitamin B12 or history of depression.
The most common tests used to diagnose dementia are:
Neurological exam (mental status examination)
MRI brain scan
Vitamin B12 blood test
Ammonia blood test
Blood chemistry test
Toxicology screening for alcohol
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis
Treatments for dementia
Depending on the cause of dementia, your physician might prescribe one of the following treatments for dementia:
Vitamin B12 supplements, if vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms are the cause of dementia.
Acetyl cholinesterase inhibitor, for dementia with Lewy bodies
Were you called “clumsy child” a lot growing up? It’s probably not your fault. Dyspraxia (or apraxia) is a neurological disorder that makes it difficult for people to make their bodies behave. Clumsiness, frequent stumbling, having a hard time focusing or remembering instructions- these are all symptoms that people with dyspraxia have to cope with all their lives.
What is Dyspraxia?
“Clumsy child syndrome” or dyspraxia is a mild form of apraxia, a neurological disorder that makes it difficult for people to plan and execute physical actions like jumping, carrying items, or standing in line without stumbling or dropping.
Dyspraxia is also called motor learning disability and development co-ordination disorder (DCD). People with dyspraxia might have difficulty walking without stumbling, catching a ball, or learning new skills, but that does not mean they are less smart than others are; they are able to learn the same things as other people, only at a slower rate.
What causes dyspraxia?
There are two main kinds of dyspraxia- dyspraxia that occurred because of a stroke or other illness, and developmental dyspraxia, which is inherited from birth. Scientists don’t know what causes developmental dyspraxia, and there is no cure.
Approximately 10% of all people have some basic level of dyspraxia, although only 2% have severe dyspraxia. About 75% of all dyspraxia sufferers are male.
What are the symptoms of dyspraxia?
Children and adults with developmental dyspraxia may exhibit the following symptoms:
Difficulty dressing himself and tying his shoes
Tripping while going up and down stairs
Frequently bumping into furniture
Inability to compete in sport-like activities, like jumping, playing hopscotch, and catching, throwing or kicking a ball
Difficulty processing thoughts
Overly affected by stimuli like scents, noise, and tactile sensations
Inability to filter out stimuli
Difficulty in learning new skills- low learning curve
Finds being in a classroom overwhelming, but is able to learn with a personal tutor
Difficulty learning math skills
Difficulty following instructions and remembering them later
Famous successful people with dyspraxia
Developmental dyspraxia is not a form of brain damage, and it does not reflect one’s intelligence. In fact, many of the world’s greatest thinkers have suffered from dyspraxia. Below are some famous people who have learning disorders like dyspraxia , and some who are rumored to be among the many sufferers of this disorder.
David Bailey (An English photographer whose subjects included The Beatles and The Rolling Stones)
Richard Branson (the billionaire who owns the Virgin Group
Einstein (although many rumor that he had Asperger’s disorder)
How does this relate to vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiencyand apraxia symptoms both include similar neurological disorders; gait disorders like difficulty walking, jumping, and running, decreased hand-motor coordination, and frequent clumsiness are some common indicators of vitamin B12 deficiency and dyspraxia/apraxia. But unlike the latter, vitamin B12 deficiency has a cure; routine vitamin B12 supplements quickly cure any neurological impairment caused by low B12 levels.
Question: What do you think of the statistic that boys are 75% more likely to suffer from apraxia than girls are?Do you think that’s a true statement, or is it more likely that girls are better able to disguise their disability and adapt to social norms, and that deficiencies in physical performance are more noticeable in boys than in girls?
Do you know anybody who would be interested in receiving this information? Please share!
If you have type 2 diabetes, your chances of developing vitamin B12 deficiency are greater than those of non-diabetics. That’s because metformin, a popular drug for diabetes interferes with vitamin B12 absorption, causing severe B12 deficiency. Other causes of vitamin B12 deficiency include pernicious anemia, bariatric surgery, and gastrointestinal disorders.
Vitamin B12- Cobalamin
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that occurs naturally in protein-based foods, including beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese. It is one of a group of B vitamins (B complex). Vitamin B12 performs many crucial functions for your body:
Vitamin B12 aids in producing red blood cells
Vitamin B12 protects your nervous system
Vitamin B12 is required for DNA synthesis
Vitamin B12 lowers homocysteine levels, thus reducing your risk for heart attack and stroke
Vitamin B12 helps your body convert fat to energy
Metformin- its effect on B12 levels
Metformin, a hypoglycemic drug for treating type 2 diabetes, interferes with your body’s ability to digest vitamin B12. According to numerous studies, up to 30% of diabetics who take metformin suffer the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Researchers believe that metformin may hinder the production of intrinsic factor, a protein your body uses to grab vitamin B12 from food sources and absorb it into the bloodstream.
Other suggestions for metformin’s link with B12 deficiency include possible bacterial overgrowth and hindered movement of the small intestines.
People suffering from chronic illness may opt to take much higher doses.
People who benefit from larger doses of vitamin B12 include:
People with pernicious anemia
People taking proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux or stomach ulcers
People with gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease
Diabetics taking metformin
Diabetics need even more B12
According to a recent 7-year survey, type 2 diabetics taking metformin may require higher doses of vitamin B12 than originally believed in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency, as the current RDA (2.5 mcg) is not sufficient.
Of the survey participants who took metformin for type 2 diabetes, 5.8% had vitamin B12 deficiency- low B12 levels in the blood.
Only 2.4% of diabetics not taking metformin had low levels of vitamin B12.
About 3.3% of test subjects who did not have diabetes showed signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
For diabetics, taking oral vitamin B12 supplements did not affect their B12 levels, nor did it affect the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
When intestinal disorders interfere with B12 absorption, the only other method for supplementing vitamin B12 is directly through the bloodstream.
If you suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD), then you probably won’t appreciate extravagant (albeit well-meaning) gifts like World’s Largest Cheese Ball, Seven-Spice fruitcake, or a subscription to the Beer of the Month club. It’s hard for non-IBD sufferers to know what kind of gift to get for somebody with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Make it easier on them- print out this handy list, and avoid unnecessarily awkward gift-giving scenarios.
Who wouldn’t appreciate this lovely, aesthetically appealing gift of tea? Drop a tea bud into a pot of hot water, and watch as it slowly “blossoms” into a breathtaking underwater bouquet. Choose from an assortment of organic black, white, green or oolong teas.
Part of coping with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis means always being prepared for bathroom emergencies, and these flushable bathroom wipes are the best thing since sliced bread! This is a great stocking-stuffer for anybody with IBD.
Let’s face it- you can’t always count on hand soap. And while you’re ready to negotiate on comfort and convenience at rest stops, you’re not about to invite extra bouts of diarrhea from fecal contamination. These soap sheets from Travelon are amazing- they’re compact, they last forever, they dissolve easily with very little water, and one small pack contains 50 sheets! Also available- body wash, shampoo, conditioner, shaving lotion, and laundry soap.
Take your bathroom supplies with you without looking conspicuous. This leather toiletry bag lets you bring your basic bathroom necessities like flushable wipes and Travelon soap sheets without raising any eyebrows.
If you spend an inordinate amount of time in bed, then you’ll appreciate having a compact refrigerator for storing things like iced tea, water, meds, or a soothing snack. This cooler is great for people who live on a second floor, and don’t have the ability…or energy to climb up and down stairs. Or, keep this in your car for emergency trips to the hospital.
Uncle John has been entertaining restroom readers for 25 years, and it’s easy to see why. Each tome is chock full of miscellaneous bits of interesting stories, anecdotes, facts, trivia games, and mini biographies. It’s like having a compact library, right where you need it most. You’ll probably never get through the whole book, but if you do, there are dozens of Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers to choose from, including one for kids!
Not sure what to cook that won’t upset your tummy? Take the blah out of your staple dinner routine by following some of the innovatively healthy recipes in the Creative
Colitis Cookbook for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Are bleeding gums a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency? If your body isn’t getting enough vitamin B12, it will let you know in many ways. You might experience symptoms such as fatigue, nerve pain, and memory loss, in addition to change in the appearance of your hair, skin, nails, and gums. That’s your brain telling you to eat some more foods that have B12, such as lean meat, fish, eggs and cheese.
You also need vitamin B12 in order to produce plenty of red blood cells. People who suffer vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia are at risk for depletion of red blood cells and severe nerve cell damage.
Bleeding and swollen gums can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. Some clear signs are painful, sore gums that bleed every time you brush or floss. Additionally, you might also have gingivitis, a gum disease. If soreness and redness persists, see a dentist, as well as your doctor for a vitamin B12 blood screening test.
Aplastic anemia occurs when your body stops making enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, causing many different bodily functions to malfunction.
Low red blood cells mean that your body is not getting hemoglobin, which in turn can cause fatigue, dizziness, headaches and cold hands and feet. Checking your B12 level will determine if vitamin B12 deficiency is causing your anemic condition.
Low white blood cells signals a low immunity. White blood cells are needed to fight infections, so a deficiency of white blood cells could result in autoimmune disease, fever and frequent flu-like symptoms. (Also read AIDS with B12 Deficiency.)
Blood platelets are used to stop the bleeding when you get a cut. A low platelet count often causes multiple bruising, pale gums that bleed, nosebleeds and cuts that don’t heal.
Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency
In addition to regulating your red blood cell supply and brain functions, vitamin B12 is also essential for monitoring DNA synthesis, restricting homocysteine levels and protecting the nervous system. Deficiencies of vitamin B12 may cause:
“Okay. So, I eat plenty of protein foods. Do I still need to worry about vitamin B12 deficiency?”
Yes. Individuals who lack intrinsic factor are unable to properly digest B12 naturally from foods and risk becoming severely deficient in vitamin B12. Some people don’t realize they have low B12 levels until they start experiencing some the characteristic symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. These include:
Short-term memory loss
Difficulty with balance and coordination
Altered taste perception
Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
Left unchecked, severe vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to irreversible neurological damage, heart attack, or stroke.
“How can I find out if I’m suffering from B12 deficiency?”
The only way to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency is through a blood screening. Some physicians don’t include vitamin B12 blood testing with yearly checkups, so it’s important to ask your doctor to check yourvitamin B12 levels in order to avoid deficiency. Chronic B12 deficiency patients are advised to get their B12 levels checked on a regular basis. Also read: Worried about Low B12 Lab Results?
“Which people are at risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency?”
There are many individuals who must supplement with B12 vitamins, either because they don’t have the intrinsic factor hormone, or because they lack the stomach acids needed to utilize vitamins such as B12; these include gastric bypass patients, people who take regular antacid medication for heartburn or individuals with autoimmune or gastrointestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or AIDS. Other individuals who must take regular vitamin B12 supplements are vegans, strict vegetarians and diabetics who take metformin.
“What kinds of vitamin B12 supplements are available?”
There are several forms of vitamin B12 supplementation; these include:
Vitamin B12 injections. For treating chronic B12 deficiency, physicians will often prescribe routine B12 shots. These injections are painful, as they must be inserted in the dense muscular flesh below the buttocks. Some patients are given one round of vitamin B12 shots once per week, for 3-4 weeks, while others with severe vitamin B12 deficiency require a more extended regimen of B12 injections.
Sublingual vitamin B12 tablets. These are dissolvable pills which are placed under the tongue. Physicians might recommend daily B12 pills as a preventative measure against vitamin B12 deficiency. Some questions have been raised as to the effectiveness of B12 pills, and there are reports that sublingual B12 tablets aren’t absorbed efficiently enough to prevent long-term vitamin B12 deficiency.
Read more about the risks associated with vitamin B12 deficiency:
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder of the intestines which causes symptoms such as diarrhea and stomach cramps, in addition to non-gastrointestinal disturbances such as arthritis, eczema, chronic fatigue and mental distraction. Some of the debilitating symptoms of Crohn’s disease may be treated naturally through dietary changes.
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s is classified as an auto-immune disease; the immune system is triggered into attacking the body’s digestive system, causing inflammation as the body attempts to counteract the symptoms of a weakened immune system.
What causes Crohn’s disease?
Scientists have noted a correlation between Crohn’s disease patients and the presence of anti-yeast antibodies. Crohn’s sufferers tend to have diminished lectin binding proteins, which are essential for utilizing mannan, a yeast derivative. Low levels of lectin combined with a compromised immune system result in production of anti-yeast antibodies which neutralize mannan, often creating a yeast infection or similar inflammation in the gut lining.
What are some natural treatments for Crohn’s disease?
Many of the symptoms of Crohn’s can be avoided by making certaindietary changes.
Here are some tips for preventing Crohn’s naturally:
Avoid yeast products and foods which trigger allergies, such as gluten, soy products and certain nuts.
Heavy protein foods are also to be avoided, such as meat, cheese and eggs, all of which are essential sources of vitamin B12.
In order to avoid getting vitamin B12 deficiency, Crohn’s disease patients are strongly urged to take regular vitamin B12, as vitamin deficiency is a common symptom among Crohn’s patients who neglect to take sufficient vitamin supplements.
Nightshade vegetables such as eggplants, onions and tomatoes are known to cause stomach upset in Crohn’s sufferers, and are to be avoided.
Omega-3 fatty acids are effective at encouraging a healthy response to inflammation which results from Crohn’s. Other natural anti-inflammatory agents are berries, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and rosemary.
Naturally fermented foods are helpful for producing good bacteria, and are excellent treatments for sufferers of auto-immune diseases. Vegetable dishes which promote healthy “gut bugs” are sauerkraut, kimchi and pickled cucumbers.
Did your recent lab work point to vitamin B12 deficiency? A low vitamin B12blood test is serious. Symptoms of B12 deficiency can include nerve damage, loss of red blood cells, and mood disorders.
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient which your body extracts from food sources such as lean meats, dairy products, eggs and fish. Vitamin B12 is necessary for producing plenty of red blood cells, maintaining a healthy nervous system, regulating homocysteine levels and monitoring DNA synthesis. A blood test which results in low B12 levels means that some of these vital bodily functions could be malfunctioning.
What causes low B12 levels?
There are many factors which can cause your B12 levels to dip dangerously low; these include:
Lack of intrinsic factor, a protein which is necessary for proper digestion of vitamin B12 from natural food sources
Long-term use of heartburn or antacid medication
Following a vegan diet, which excludes foods which are rich in vitamin B12, such as beef, chicken, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs and fish.
Gastrointestinal conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or gluten intolerance
Weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery.
My lab test results indicate vitamin B12 deficiency. Should I be worried?
Due to the fact that it dissolves in water, your body is not able to hold vitamin B12 in the system for long; vitamin B12 must be constantly replenished through protein-rich foods or vitamin B12 supplements, in order to avoid becoming deficient in B12.
Regular lab blood testing is crucial for catching vitamin B12 deficiency before it has a chance to create any lasting impairment. If left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to life-threatening illness and irreversible damage. These include:
Increased risk for heart attack, due to elevating levels of homocysteine
If you are not able to utilize sufficient stores of vitamin B12 naturally, then you must supplement regularly in order to avoid B12 deficiency.
For chronically low B12 levels, doctors have often administered vitamin B12 injections until symptoms abate.
Sublingual tablets are also often prescribed as a preventative measure, but recent studies indicate that under-the-tongue B12 supplements are not the most effective sources of B12, as they are not wholly digestible.
Vitamin B12 deficiency, if left unchecked, can cause severe nerve damage, say health experts.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin which is essential for a healthy nervous system. B12 strengthens the communication between the brain and the body’s many nerve sensors, such as fingers, toes and tongue, assuring quick brain-body response time and effective sensory reactions.
What if I don’t get enough vitamin B12?
Because the body is unable to store vitamin B12 in the system for very long, people who don’t frequently eat food sources which contain vitamin B12 or take B12 supplements are at risk of getting B12 deficiency. Low B12 levels can corrupt neurological functions, leading to a variety of vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms, including numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, altered taste perception, slow reflexes and mouth soreness.
Your body needs adequate amounts of vitamin B12 in order to control muscular movements. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, B12 deficiency causes severe nerve damage that could hinder one’s ability to walk straight or control muscle behavior efficiently. Also, muscle strength and balance can be severely compromised.
Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in maintaining emotional stability and clarity. Insufficient vitamin B12 levels can cause mental disturbances such as depression, restlessness,aggressiveness, hallucinations and paranoia. Studies have also proven that vitamin B12 prevents dementia by delaying age-related brain shrinkage, a result of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. Some other serious consequences of B12 deficiency include pernicious anemia, chronic fatigue and increased risk for heart attack.
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in foods such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. Vegans are therefore at risk for developing B12 deficiency, as their diet specifically excludes all rich sources of vitamin B12.
Some individuals are unable to digest B12 from food sources, due to lack of intrinsic factor, a protein which is essential for drawing B12 from food supplies and delivering it to the body. For patients of gastric bypass surgery or Crohn’s disease, diabetics who take metformin, or individuals who take heartburn medication, doctors frequently advise a strict regimen of vitamin B12 supplements.