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Posts Tagged ‘low vitamin B12 levels’

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Insomnia

Sunday, September 8th, 2013



Can’t sleep? Often, insomnia stems from vitamin B12 deficiency. Though nearly everyone experiences occasional trouble with falling asleep, chronic insomnia can be part of a range of symptoms attributed to dangerously low vitamin B12. Here are some ways that vitamin B12 and insomnia are related.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Insomnia

Are you spending your nights tossing and turning, unable to get a restful night sleep? Acute insomnia has a short duration, while chronic insomnia will last longer – anywhere from days to months.

If you suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency and insomnia—and a surprising number of people these days do—then taking extra vitamin B12 may promote good restful sleep at night, and it will also boost your energy during the day, increase your ability to focus, and promote digestive, cardiac, and immune health as well.

Suffering from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue? B12 to the Rescue!

Please note: Insomnia can result from an underlying medical disorder, in addition to vitamin B12 deficiency. Consult your doctor if you suffer from chronic insomnia.

The vitamin B12-melatonin connection

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in production of melatonin, the body’s “sleep hormone” which helps you fall asleep at night and get deep rest until morning. Melatonin is one of your best defenses against insomnia, but you need healthy amounts of vitamin B12 as well.

Melatonin in the blood rises sharply at sundown, making you feel sleepy, and will usually remain elevated for approximately 12 hours – essentially throughout the night – before the onset of sunrise.

As we get older, and vitamin B12 levels begin to plummet, it becomes more difficult to enjoy a good night’s sleep, due to a reciprocal decrease in melatonin. For that reason many senior citizens struggle with both vitamin B12 deficiency and insomnia.

Doctors have recently observed that a large percentage of Americans over age 60 suffer from a severe vitamin B12 deficiency.  Without vitamin B12, your body cannot produce sufficient melatonin, which is needed to help one sleep.

Many people who suffer from insomnia take melatonin pills to help them get to sleep. However, boosting the body’s ability to produce it by increasing vitamin B12 is a more naturally efficient option.

What is vitamin B12 good for?

Vitamin B-12, or cobalamin, is one of the B complex vitamins. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Vitamin B-12 is instrumental for maintaining healthy nerve cells, synthesizing DNA and RNA, and regulating blood cells.  A vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause fatigue, irritability, digestive issues, and shortness of breath.

The elderly, vegetarians, and vegans tend to have a higher risk of developing a Vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 for insomnia

If insomnia is caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, then it’s important to supplement with extra vitamin B12 immediately; untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve cell deterioration and increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Ask your doctor for a vitamin B12 deficiency blood screening while discussing insomnia, and begin supplementation right away.

Take vitamin B12 with folic acid

Taking folic acid (vitamin B9) along with vitamin B12 is also helpful for insomnia, as vitamin B12 assists folate in building red blood cells and absorption of iron, both key components for good sleep health.

For some people, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is yet another cause of insomnia. Research has shown that RLS is related to a folic acid deficiency, and that taking more B vitamins can reduce RLS, helping to provide a full night of sleep, even in people with severe insomnia. It is thus recommended to take vitamin B12 along with vitamin B9 for maximum absorption.

Your turn!

What do you do to prevent insomnia? Do you also struggle with vitamin B12 deficiency? Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

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Like this? Read more:

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Vitamin Deficiency symptoms List

Tired of being Tired all the Time…It’s Tiring!

Image courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos

Is Chronic Fatigue your Middle Name? Maybe it’s…

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012



Does it seem like chronic fatigue follows you around like a sick puppy? It’s not your imagination. You could have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or one of several other maladies whose symptoms include constant tiredness, brain drain, and general achiness.


What is chronic fatigue?

Try this: find a stairwell, run up and down twenty times without breaking for a breather, and now stop.

Feel tired, wiped out, and lightheaded? Good! That means you’re healthy. It’s natural to feel fatigued after a strenuous workout.

People with chronic fatigue always feel exhausted, from morning to nightfall.  Forget running up the stairs- just running an errand to the supermarket can leave you out for the count before noon.

Only a doctor can diagnose your health problems; here are some conditions to look out for that cause fatigue.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

More than just tiredness, chronic fatigue syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that causes debilitating physical pain and cognitive disorders.  Fatigue is constant, regardless of having slept well the night before or not overexerting oneself in physical activities.

Many people diagnosed with CFS also suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency, fibromyalgia, or celiac disease.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency is an often-overlooked cause of fatigue for many people.  Unfortunately, many doctors don’t screen routinely for low vitamin B12 levels, so remember to ask for a blood test, specifically for vitamin B12 deficiency.


Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause severe, irreversible neurological damage, dementia, and increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

9 Conditions that Mimic Fibromyalgia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you think B12 deficiency is not common, then you’re mistaken. It’s one of the leading nutritional deficiencies in the US.  There are several reasons for this:

  • There has been a recent spike in gastric bypass surgeries, as they become more affordable and socially acceptable.  Any type of surgery that invades your digestive system ultimately leads to poor vitamin B12 absorption, but most surgeons fail to warn patients beforehand.  By interfering with your ability to produce intrinsic factor, an enzyme crucial for digesting vitamin B12 from food, a large number of gastric bypass surgeries result in severe depletion of vitamin B12 levels in the blood.
  • Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based foods like beef, poultry, fish, and eggs. With the increasing popularity of vegan dieting, we have also seen a rise in vitamin B12 deficiencies.
  • Certain drugs inhibit your ability to digest vitamin B12; these include the diabetes medication metformin and GERD treatments, protein pump inhibitors (PPIs), which prevent stomach acid production.


In the movie WALL-E, Disney animators envisioned an armchair society for our future, in which all daytime activities- work, play, even dressing- could be controlled with the touch of a button, eliminating the need to leave your house…or your seat.

In fact, idleness is a major source of chronic illness for an increasing number of people.  Avoidance of exercise is more likely to cause fatigue than the actual exercise itself. The deciding factor is how much you exercise, and which activities you choose, not whether you do it at all.


For tips on exercising with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, read 10 Fibromyalgia-Friendly Exercises that Boost Energy- You can do it!

Not getting enough sleep

Fess up- when was the last time you slept eight hours in a row? The fact is- most of us don’t get the bare minimum of quality nighttime sleep that we need to prevent fatigue, stress, and chronic illness.

Current research points to electronic overstimulation as a possible reason for fatigue and insomnia.  We’re always “on.” Handheld devices, cell phones, Bluetooth technology, iPod music players, e-books, laptops, tablets, and a never-ending drone of cable televised media keep us on edge, engaged,  from morning ‘til night.


Tired of being Tired all the Time…It’s Tiring!

To fall asleep quicker and get the most rest, follow these tips:

  • Avoid afternoon naps, even short ones.
  • Cut down on caffeinated beverages.
  • Take vitamin B12 for more daytime energy
  • Exercise every day
  • Put a curfew on all electronic devices, including your television.


Clinical depression is a possible source of fatigue, as well.  If sadness and a sense of hopelessness accompany constant fatigue, then see a doctor immediately.  Many antidepressants are available that are safe and produce no side effects.

Also, ask for vitamin B12 deficiency screening, as depression and anxiety are common symptoms of low vitamin B12 levels.

Please tell us…

Do you experience overwhelming fatigue every day, despite sleeping well?

Does you fatigue occur after exercising, or does it happen all the time, even when you don’t do physical activities?

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+.

Read more about chronic fatigue

Chronically Pained? Here’s your Essential Chronic Pain Checklist…

10 Celebrities with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


imagerymajesticMichal Marcol, Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos, Microsoft.com

Vitamin B12 Deficiency-13 Illnesses that Block B12 Absorption

Monday, April 23rd, 2012



Would you know if you had vitamin B12 deficiency? Sometimes, vitamin B12 malabsorption results from a vegan diet, or as part of the aging process.  Often, vitamin B12 deficiency occurs with autoimmune and gastrointestinal disorders like pernicious anemia, Crohn’s disease, and fibromyalgia, making vitamin B12 deficiency one of the most widespread nutritional problems in the US.  Do you have one of the 13 illnesses associated with low vitamin B12 absorption?

Vitamin B12 Deficiency-13 Illnesses that Block B12 Absorption

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is essential for promoting neurological health, boosting stamina, enhancing metabolic functioning, supporting cognitive skills, and sustaining heart health.

The following symptoms correlate with low vitamin B12 levels:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Forgetfulness
  • Brain fog (confusion)
  • Decreased attention span
  • Vision problems
  • Painful tingling, numbness, and burning in the hands, feet, and mouth
  • Gait disorder (difficulty walking)
  • Decreased motor skills
  • Muscular twitches
  • Sore muscles and joints
  • Tinnitus (ear ringing)
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Acid reflux
  • Heart palpitations
  • Poor tolerance for aerobic exercise
  • Increased risk for heart attack and stroke
  • Osteoporosis

8 Ailments Linked with Gastritis, including B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 Deficiency-13 Illnesses that Block B12 Absorption

Diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency

Certain illnesses mask the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, contributing to mass under-diagnoses.  Many patients of chronic illness who already experience symptoms like fatigue, muscular pain, or mental sluggishness may not realize an underlying problem absorbing vitamin B12, and may never receive a blood screening for low vitamin B12 levels.

If you suffer from one of the following illness correlated with or causing vitamin B12 deficiency, please request a simple blood test immediately.

  1. Pernicious anemia (intrinsic factor anemia)
  2. Crohn’s disease
  3. Vitamin B12 Deficiency-13 Illnesses that Block B12 AbsorptionFibromyalgia
  4. Postsurgical malabsorption (gastric bypass)
  5. Atrophic gastritis
  6. Cystic fibrosis
  7. Celiac disease
  8. Tropical sprue
  9. Tuberculosis
  10. Helicobacter pylori infection
  11. Whipple’s disease
  12. Pancreatitis
  13. AIDS

9 Conditions that Mimic Fibromyalgia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Please tell us…

Do you have one of the conditions associated with low vitamin B12 levels?  Have you been diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, as well? Has supplementation with vitamin B12 reduced any of your symptoms?

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+.

Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency an Autoimmune Disorder? Yup.

Is an Allergy also an Autoimmune Disease? When the Immune System goes awry

Celiac and B12- Celiac Disease and Vitamin B12 Deficiency


Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Lifescript.com

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12


New Study: Diabetes Drug Metformin Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Thursday, May 5th, 2011



Diabetics who take metformin are at high risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency, according to recent studies on the correlation between metformin and low vitamin B12 levels in patients with diabetes.

vitamin B12 deficiency, diabetics and metformin can cause nerve damage, such as peripheral neuropathy

What is metformin?

insulin levels in type 2 diabetics. Metformin is also commonly known as glucophage, glumetza, and fortamet. Metformin lowers glucose levels in the blood by controlling the liver’s glucose production, sensitizing the liver to insulin and inhibiting carbohydrate absorption.

Metformin lowers vitamin B12 levels, say scientists

Recent studies show that long-term usage of metformin reduces vitamin B12 levels, causing vitamin B12 deficiency.

  • Researchers discovered that 40% of type 2 diabetics who were prescribed metformin had dangerously low levels of vitamin B12 and suffered from B12 deficiency.
  • Of the metformin-using diabetics who had low B12, approximately 77% also suffered peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage which occurs often with type 2 diabetes.
  • Doctors strongly urge any diabetics currently taking metformin to get tested for B12 deficiency, and to supplement vitamin B12 immediately.
  • One of the most dangerous symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency is neurological damage, such as peripheral neuropathy.

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

What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is defined as nerve damage in the arms and legs. Peripheral neuropathy is one of four forms of diabetic neuropathy, the others being autonomic, proximal, and focal neuropathies. Some symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are:

  • Pain, tingling or numbness in the hands and/or feet
  • Loss of sensation is often likened to the wearing of thin gloves or socks
  • Pain associated with peripheral neuropathy is described by patients as a burning sensation in both hands or feet
  • Lowered sensitivity to temperature
  • Muscle cramps
  • Loss of balance and coordination

Diabetes is the most common cause for peripheral neuropathy, accounting for 30% of all cases; it can also be caused by infections, autoimmune disorder, toxins or traumatic injuries.

What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 is found in protein-rich food sources such as lean beef, fish, poultry, eggs and cheese. Vitamin B12 is essential for proper functioning of the nervous system, in addition to producing red blood cells and DNA production.

Selectively excluding vitamin B12 from your diet can lead to B12 deficiency. Also, individuals who lack intrinsic factor, such as patients of pernicious anemia, cannot digest vitamin B12 naturally from food sources. People who are advised to supplement with vitamin B12 are vegans, weight loss surgery patients, individuals with gastrointestinal disease and diabetics who take metformin.

The symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency are:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, as caused by nerve damage
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Aggression
  • Altered taste perception
  • Imbalance and decreased coordination
  • Sleep disturbances

Left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency could culminate into severe, irreversible nerve damage and, in rare cases, death.

How can diabetics who take metformin avoid vitamin B12 deficiency and peripheral neuropathy?

Only a blood test can determine if somebody has vitamin B12 deficiency. Doctors advise all diabetics who take metformin to get a screening for B12 deficiency, and to follow up with regular blood tests. If diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, physicians may prescribe a course of B12 injections to be inserted in the thick muscular tissue below the buttocks.

Some individuals have difficulty withstanding painful injections on a regular basis; fibromyalgia patients, children with autism, and others are often advised by physicians to take weekly supplementation of vitamin B12.

For more information on vitamin B12 deficiency, diabetes and metformin, please read:

Diabetics, Put On Your Walking Shoes

Diabetics, Take Heed

B12 Deficiency can really Get on your Nerves


Natural News, PCOS Nutrition Center,MedicineNet, Web MD, Mayo Clinic, Neuropathy AssociationNational Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

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