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Posts Tagged ‘low vitamin b12 symptoms’

Worried about Low B12 Lab Results?

Sunday, May 8th, 2011



Did your recent lab work point to vitamin B12 deficiency? A low vitamin B12 blood 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.
  • Read Anorexic British Teen Regrets 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
  • Dementia
  • Irreparable nerve damage
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Read AIDS with B12 Deficiency

What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?

Some low vitamin B12 symptoms are often misdiagnosed as diabetes, mental illness or thyroid disorder.

Below is a list of common symptoms caused by vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
  • Difficulty maintaining balance while walking
  • Altered taste perception
  • Dizziness while sitting upright
  • Read: B12 Deficiency can really Get on your Nerves


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.

Also read:

New Study: Diabetes Drug Metformin Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency

B12: Celebs Say it’s the New C



Sluggish? Confused? Maybe it’s the Cheeseburger.

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

January 19, 2011- the Wall Street Journal just published a report on b12 deficiency and its accompanying symptoms.  Kudos to the WSJ for giving b12 deficiency the attention it deserves, as the symptoms of low b12 vitamin levels are still being misdiagnosed by physicians.

The Wall Street Journal article quotes Dr. Alan Pocinki of Washington, D.C., “B12 deficiency is much more common than the textbooks and journal articles say it is,” How right you are, doc. Over 60 years ago scientists first discovered a link between vitamin b12 deficiency and pernicious anemia, yet doctors still confuse red flag indicators such as numbness and tingling in the feet with the common side effects of type 2 diabetes. Likely they are unaware of the diabetes drug metformin-low b12 link.

The consequences of ignoring low b12 levels can be severe.  Warning signs often begin as premature hair loss, decreased appetite, dizziness and bouts of depression; untreated they escalate to chronic fatigue syndrome, anemia and short-term memory loss.  Finally, and unless given medical attention, vitamin b12 deficiency could result in irreversible neurological damage or pernicious anemia.

I’d like to take the WSJ author to task on a few issues, though, regarding her piece: first of all, what’s with the cheeseburger reference? So what if a cheeseburger contains 30% of the suggested b12 allowance? A plate of chopped liver contains 800% - more b12 than a person would need in an entire week, and it’s a lot healthier.  But I suppose that a close-up shot of freshly mashed beef liver wouldn’t have attracted the same kind of attention as a larger-than-life double-decker burger. Still, is she suggesting we all just go out and order a cheeseburger for lunch everyday in order to meet our b12 allowance?  What about stroke and heart disease? I’ll take low b12 over a heart attack any day. Not to make light of the seriousness of b12 deficiency, but let’s just keep things in perspective here.

As if that weren’t enough, she then cites Dr. Pocinki as saying that his “very lean” patients often suffer from b12 deficiency, as they lack the fatty tissues necessary to properly store b12 in their system.  Well, who says you have to store it? That’s what eating is for. You eat, your body gets the vitamins it needs and then…you eat again tomorrow.  No folks, if you aren’t getting enough vitamin b12 from your foods, and some of you who are on a vegan diet, take acid-blocking medicines and metformin or simply do not produce enough stomach acids aren’t getting your daily allowance of b12, then your only alternative is to supplement every day. Please don’t jump on the cheeseburger bandwagon.  Have a heart.

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