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Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders are some of the most pernicious symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. Most people who suffer the effects of low B12 don’t even know it- not until they start noticing unusual signs like extreme fatigue, memory loss, depression, and dizziness; symptoms that otherwise healthy individuals wouldn’t link to a mere vitamin deficiency, such as vitaminB12 anemia.
Vitamin B12 and the brain
Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients for the brain- it helps to maintain healthy red blood cells, which is needed for delivering oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body.
Vitamin B12 also helps to sustain myelin, a fatty substance that coats your nerve cells, increasing intercellular communication and protecting your nervous system from harm.
Thus, depleted levels of vitamin B12 puts your nervous system at risk for damage, as well as impairing your nerve cells’ ability to act efficiently and convey messages quickly to the brain.
Vitamin B12 deficiency also results in oxygen depletion (hypoxia), which causes symptoms such as fatigue, disorientation, and memory loss.
This may explain why many oft-cited scientific studies, doctors have noted a direct correlation between healthy vitamin B12 levels and reduced risk for depression, anxiety attacks, and other mood disorders.
In vegan-oriented societies, such as India, where B12-rich foods such as beef and seafood are shunned, depression and anxiety are epidemic.
Mental illness symptoms
Scientists have noted a variety of mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, which often occur as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency, or may be exacerbated by plummeting levels of vitamin B12.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, it’s important to have your vitamin B12 levels checked right away, in order to avoid misdiagnosis or prolonged symptoms caused by underlying vitamin B12 deficiency.
Mental illness symptoms linked with vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Inability to focus mentally
Altered sense of taste and smell
In addition to mood disorders, other signs of vitamin B12 may include painful numbness and tingling in the extremities, muscle spasms, learning disorders, difficulty walking, poor motor skills, and difficulty conceiving pregnancy.
Have you noticed any of the early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, such as extreme fatigue, brain fog, or memory loss?
If so, have you tested for vitamin B12 deficiency?
Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please leave your comments below.
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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:
Are constant eyelid twitching and eye spasms driving you batty? Myokymia might be a sign of pernicious anemia caused by low vitamin B12 levels. Learn how to stop eye twitching by halting vitamin B12 deficiency in its tracks.
What is myokymia?
Myokymia is a disorder that causes muscles in your body to twitch involuntarily. Myokymia twitches can affect any groups of nerves or muscles in your body, including your arms, legs, fingers, and back.
It can also occur on your face- hemifacial spasms are muscular twitches that begin on one side of your face, usually the eye. Over time, hemifacial spasms can expand to include the rest of your face, on one side.
Myokymia is a type of nerve damage called trigeminal neuralgia. When your eyelid keeps twitching out of control, it is because the nerves that control the opening and closing of your eyes have been damaged. Eye twitches can occur in either the lower eyelid or upper eyelid,
Causes of myokymia
Causes of eye twitching may include stress, excessive alcohol usage, and staring at a computer screen for long periods of time. Eye spasms can also be a reaction to caffeine, or may signify low levels of cobalamin- vitamin B12.
B12 deficiency symptoms
Vitamin B12 benefits include red blood cell production, protection of the nervous system’s myelin sheathe, cognitive functioning, DNA synthesis, and lowered homocysteine levels.
If your body does not store adequate amounts of vitamin B12, you may get B12 deficiency, and ultimately severe pernicious anemia, a type of megaloblastic anemia blood disease.
B12 deficiency causes emotional and cognitive disorders such as:
If you suspect that you have vitamin B12 deficiency, then consult your physician and request a blood test for B12 levels. If diagnosed with low B12, then your doctor will prescribe vitamin B12 supplements.
If you have pernicious anemia, then you might have to get routine B12 shots indefinitely. Once you start taking vitamin B12, you will notice a decrease in pernicious anemia symptoms immediately, and total reversal of symptoms by the time your B12 levels return to normal.
Vitiligo is a skin disease that often occurs with vitamin B12 deficiency- Find out if taking B12 supplements can treat your vitiligo symptoms and get rid of white patches on your skin forever.
What is vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a skin disorder that causes you to lose brown pigmentation, resulting in white patches on your skin. Hair growing in white skin spots caused by vitiligo may turn white, as well. About 1% of all people in the world have vitiligo, including roughly two million US citizens. Although vitiligo affects people of all races, it is more noticeable in darker skinned ethnic groups.
Doctors are uncertain what exactly causes the skin disorder vitiligo, but they believe it might be an autoimmune disorder. Also, they have noticed strong correlations with certain chronic conditions. People who suffer vitiligo usually fall into one of four groups:
Alopecia areata patients (people with patches of baldness)
What are the symptoms of vitiligo?
Vitiligo causes telltale patches of white skin (depigmentation), typically on parts of your body that get the most sun exposure, like your hands, feet, and face, particularly around the eyes, mouth, and lips.
Vitiligo can also occur on covered-up parts of your body, like your stomach, hips, and armpits, though that is not as common.
Other symptoms of vitiligo may include premature hair greying, including grey eyelash hair. White patches can also occur in the inside of the mouth.
For some, vitiligo symptoms remain only in one area of the body. For others, patches of white skin may slowly spread over years to other parts of the body.
How will taking vitamin B12 supplements affect my vitiligo symptoms?
In one clinical study, vitamin B12 and folic acid were administered to patients who suffered from vitiligo. They were also instructed to keep records of sun exposure.
More than half of the 100 vitiligo patients noticed dramatic results- 37 of which had opted for sun exposure.
Six volunteers who took the vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements experienced noticeably superior results.
Scientists confirmed that supplementing with vitamin B12 and folic acid, combined with sun exposure, is more beneficial for vitiligo patients than simple sun exposure alone.
If you feel tired all the time, then join the club- the vitamin B12 deficiency club, which is becoming the top cause of chronic fatigue allover. Vitamin B12 is crucial for brainhealth, and if you don’t get enough, you run the risk of suffering the red blood cell disease pernicious anemia- one of many vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
Why am I so tired all the time?
Fatigue causes you to feel sluggish, slow, confused, and constantly in a “brain fog.” You’re exhausted before you even step out of bed, and all day at work. On the drive home, you catch yourself several times nodding off at the wheel. By the time you’re ready to pack it up and call it a day, you’re almost too tired to change into your pajamas, sorely tempted to climb into bed, clothes, shoes, and all.
Why are you so tired all the time? Many conditions can cause chronic fatigue, and most of them begin with vitamin B12 deficiency.
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is of the vitamin B complex vitamins, and occurs in foods like beef, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk. Some of the best sources of vitamin B12 are organ meat, lean turkey, crabmeat, halibut, and yogurt. Normally, sufficient amounts of B12 are stored in your liver, unless you are prone to vitamin B12 deficiency.
Tiredness is at the core of the most common symptoms of B12 deficiency: depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety, short-term memory loss, disorientation, trouble concentrating or remembering words, painful numbness or tingling in hands and feet, loss of balance while walking, muscular feebleness, and insomnia.
Here are some illnesses and chronic conditions linked to vitamin B12 deficiency:
Sometimes, pernicious anemia is the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 helps your body produce healthy red blood cells needed to carry oxygen. With pernicious anemia, you have a shortage of vitamin B12, which leads to a shortage of red blood cells, which in turn causes a severe reduction in oxygen throughout your body, including the brain.
The resulting effect is overwhelming tiredness, lightheadedness, and an inability to concentrate.
Scientists found that a high correlation exists between vitamin B12 deficiency and sufferers of fibromyalgia, an autoimmune disease that causes symptoms such as severe pain, skin sensitivity, sleep problems, and chronic fatigue.
People with gastrointestinal disorders such as IBD- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis- have extreme difficulty absorbing vitamin B12. Symptoms such as sluggishness, diarrhea, and unexplainable exhaustion might be confused with IBD symptoms; in fact, vitamin B12 deficiency is a likely culprit that often is overlooked.
Vitamin B12 supports cognitive functioning- low B12 levels are common among people suffering from severe psychological disorders, including schizophrenia, clinical depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). Tiredness is one of many complaints of people suffering from depression and anxiety.
Vitamin B12 helps your body regulate the amount of homocysteine in your blood. High levels of plasma homocysteine are strongly associated with heart disease and stroke. By breaking down homocysteine, and thus reducing the risk for heart disease or stroke, vitamin B12 promotes cardiovascular health.
Treatment for B12 deficiency
A blood test is necessary in order to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency. Not all doctors screen for low B12, so you will need to request a plasma vitamin B12 test. If necessary, your doctor will prescribe B12 injections or sublingual B12.
So you’re sitting at your desk, and suddenly your legs fall asleep. You try to shake it off, but that annoying numbness and tingling sensation just doesn’t want to leave without a fight. Paresthesia, a neuropathic ailment often associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, causes “pins and needles,” numbness, and painful burning in your hands, arms, feet, and legs.
What are the symptoms of paresthesia?
Paresthesia causes numbness and tingling sensations, primarily in your hands, arms, feet, and legs. People who experience paresthesia say they feel like their legs or arms are “falling asleep.” Others describe it as a burning pain in one or more limbs, “pins and needles,” or severe itching.
Is paresthesia serious?
Sometimes, paresthesia happens as a response to hyperventilating, anxiety, or just putting too much pressure on one nerve for too long.
Other times, paresthesia occurs as part of a chronic condition, and the only way to put an end to the constant numbness and prickling sensations is to find out what is causing your symptoms, and the best way to treat it.
What causes your arms or legs to “fall asleep?”
Many chronic conditions, illnesses, or drug interactions can cause neuropathic pain symptoms such as paresthesia.
Vitamin B12 deficiency: Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet are usually the first symptoms noticed by sufferers of vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia.
Vitamin B12 protects the myelin sheath, the fatty layer that protects your peripheral nerves. Left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency causes damage to the nervous system, resulting in peripheral neuropathy.
In addition to limbs falling asleep, other symptoms of B12 deficiency are loss of fine motor control, trouble walking, fatigue, memory loss, “brain fog,” depression, disorientation, anxiety, insomnia, stomach upset, breathlessness, loss of appetite, and hallucinations.
Nerve damage:Other types of nerve damage result from Lyme disease and frostbite.
Elderly individuals suffer from paresthesia caused by vitamin deficiency, in addition to poor circulation in the arms and legs, or peripheral vascular disease (PVD).
Arthritis: Various types of arthritis cause neuropathic pain symptoms similar to paresthesia, in addition to carpal tunnel syndrome. Autoimmune diseases:Lupus, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS) sometimes cause chronic paresthesia. Migraines: If you get migraine attacks, then you might also experience frequent pins and needles, or legs falling asleep. Seizuresand stroke are correlated with paresthesia. Shingles:symptoms include numbness, tingling, and burning sensations in the skin. Drugs:Drug interactions that may cause paresthesia symptoms are beta-blockers, beta-alanines, anticonvulsants, narcotics, opiates, and Lomotil.
The quicker you get your blood flowing to your extremities, the sooner you will start to feel relief. As soon as you feel your arms or legs starting to fall asleep or feel tingly, do one or all of the following:
1-Pump your arms.
2- Clench and unclench your fists.
3-Kick your legs.
4- Walk it off.
5-Stand up, holding onto a chair or wall for support. Put all your weight on the foot that is falling asleep, rise up on your tiptoes, and then lower to the ball of your foot. Repeat the movement, pumping up and down, without resting the heel on the floor, until pain goes away.
6-Massage hands, arms, legs, or feet gently.
These are helpful tips for temporarily relieving paresthesia. However, if you experience numbness, tingling, burning, or other painful symptoms frequently, then it is crucial to visit a doctor. A blood test will determine if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, or one of many other likely conditions.
Is there any connection between lupus and vitamin B12 deficiency? That’s a question asked often both by people with low B12 and diagnosed systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Both autoimmune diseases share similar symptoms, and it’s important to know how to tell the difference.
Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is an autoimmune disease that can cause damage to your muscles, bones, organs, and skin tissue. Like other autoimmune disorders, lupus causes your body’s immune system to attack healthy cells tissue, causing swelling, inflammation, and pain. Damage to your system may include kidney damage, heart attack, lung damage, joint pain, and blood diseases such as anemia (more on this later).
Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the US. Even if you eat plenty of sources rich in vitamin B12 (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and milk), your B12 levels may be at risk if you have had bariatric surgery, take antacid medicine for acid reflux, are among the elderly, have a gastrointestinal autoimmune disease like Crohn’s or celiac disease, or if you are a diabetic taking metformin.
Many symptoms of lupus mimic those of vitamin B12 deficiency, making it difficult to determine low B12 levels without taking a vitamin B12 blood test.
Cognitive functioning and mood disorders. Anxiety, depression, headaches, and short-term memory loss are symptoms common to both lupus patients and vitamin B12 deficiency sufferers.
Chronic fatigue. Chronic fatigue shares a comorbid relationship with lupus and B12 deficiency.
Nerve damage. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes neurological damage such as aching joints and arthritis-like muscular pain. Lupus causes swollen joints, arthritis, and inflamed joints.
Shortness of breath is a symptom of low B12 and lupus.
Hair loss. B12 deficiency may cause premature hair loss and greying. Hair loss is also a symptom common to lupus patients.
Mouth ulcers are typical for vitamin B12 patients and lupus sufferers.
Skin rashes are a side effect of chronic B12 deficiency. Likewise, lupus patients suffer skin rashes across the cheeks and nose (malar rash).
Anemia. One of the most highly correlated symptoms shared by vitamin B12 deficiency patients and lupus patients alike is the susceptibility to anemia. Left untreated, pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe nerve damage, red blood cell depletion, and cognitive impairments. More than half of all lupus patients suffer from blood disorders like anemia.
Heart disease. Lupus and pernicious anemia patients alike are at high risk for contracting heart disease.
Bone loss (osteoporosis) is a risk factor for lupus patients and individuals with vitamin B12 deficiency.
Read more about B12 deficiency and autoimmune diseases:
For years, vitamin B12 has been the staple energy vitamin for stars such as Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Prince. Now, B12 vitamins are part of Glee star Lea Michele’s regimen against vitamin B12 deficiency. Find out why celebrities such as Lea Michele rely on B12 supplements for added stamina, strength, and mental focus.
The Glee star’s secret to weight loss
How does Lea Michele, who plays the bossy, competitive, (and sometimes infuriating) Rachel on Glee keep her figure? Recently, she confessed to following a strictly macrobiotic vegan diet, composed of mostly vegetables, grains, and beans. By cutting out meat, chicken, and dairy products from her diet, Lea has managed to lose ten pounds since she first started filming on the set.
Lea admits to also eating a few servings of fish per week, in order to avoid getting vitamin B12 deficiency. Since Vitamin B12 occurs only in animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk, supplementing with extra vitamin B12 is crucial for avoiding low B12 blood levels. How does she justify introducing a non-vegan source into her vegan diet? Apparently, macrobiotic veganism makes special allowances for seafood. Lea Michele understands that a diet low in vitamin B12 is a diet that leads to B12 deficiency symptoms.
People who deplete their stores of vitamin B12 encounter symptoms such as extreme fatigue, muscular weakness, depression, diminished coordination, memory loss, and frequent numbness or tingling sensations (pins and needles) in their hands, arms, legs, and feet. Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency may escalate into severe memory loss, neurological damage, osteoporosis, and increased risk for heart attack, and stroke.
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.
Do you know how much vitamin B12 you need in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency? Unless you supplement, you could wind up with dangerously low vitamin B12 levels. Find out if your B12 blood levels are normal and how much you need to meet the FDA’s RDA for vitamin B12.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is a water-soluble nutrient that your body gets from protein sources, such as beef, chicken, liver, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Your body uses vitamin B12 for DNA synthesis, protecting your nervous system, and strengthening cognitive skills. Symptoms that indicate a low vitamin B12level include constant fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, depression, agitation, altered taste perception, and red, swollen tongue.
How much B12 is in my blood right now?
By performing a blood test, your doctor can tell you if you are deficient in vitamin B12, or if you have normal B12 levels. Vitamin B12 blood screening requires a 6-8 hour fast before testing. Laboratory tests will measure how many picograms (pg) of cobalamin you have per milliliter (ml) of blood in your body.
How much B12 should I have?
Scientists agree that a normal level of vitamin B12 in your blood is 200 – 900 picograms per milliliter (200-900 pg/ml).
Test results showing less than 200 pg/ml signal vitamin B12 deficiency.
For elderly adults, the recommended vitamin B12 level is much higher- Test results showing less than 500 pg/ml indicates B12 deficiency.
In order to find the cause of a vitamin B12 deficiency, doctors may perform a Schilling test.
What is the recommended dose of vitamin B12?
The FDA’s RDA of vitamin B12 for healthy adults is approximately three mcg daily for males and females alike, including pregnant and nursing moms.
For elderly individuals, the recommended dose of vitamin B12 is 25-100 mcg per day.
Scientific study proves that the RDA for B12 is off.
According to a study conducted in the Netherlands, elderly sufferers of vitamin B12 deficiency need more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) in order to achieve normal levels of B12.
Using methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels as a gauge, scientists established that cyanocobalamin supplementation amounting to 200 times the RDA of vitamin B12 is required in order to stabilize B12 levels in patients showing signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
How much vitamin B12 do you really need?
Vitamin B12 shots administering a daily doseof 1,000 mcg of cobalamin are prescribed for the first 10 days following diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency, continuing with a weekly dose of 1,000 mcg for a consecutive 4-week period.