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Posts Tagged ‘Medications vitamin B12 deficiency’

FAQ: Do Normal (Healthy) People Get Sick from Low Vitamin B12?

Monday, November 4th, 2013

 

 

Thousands of people in the US suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency; some questions people often have are, “How did my B12 levels get so low? I eat healthy and I don’t have any chronic illnesses, so how did I become anemic?” That’s a complex question to answer, because there are many ways that people become gradually deficient in this crucial B vitamin.

FAQ: Do Normal (Healthy) People Get Sick from Low Vitamin B12?

First, why is vitamin B12 important?

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble B vitamin that is essential for basic survival.

  • Vitamin B12 helps to keep your nervous system functioning normally, as it sustains myelin, a fatty coating that protects your nerve cells and enhances intercellular communication.
  • Vitamin B12 also supports a healthy metabolism in converting fuels into much-needed energy and synthesizing DNA.
  • Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, as it helps to maintain a healthy level of normal-sized functioning red blood cells for oxygen transportation to your brain, organs, and cell tissues throughout your body.
  • Vitamin B12 helps to control levels of homocysteine, a hormone that has been linked with increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease.

How do you get vitamin B12?

So we know that vitamin B12 is important; now the question is, “What foods are high in vitamin B12?”

  • The richest sources of vitamin B12 are animal-based foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, and eggs.
  • Still, if you have vitamin B12 malabsorption, a common risk factor for vitamin B12 deficiency, then you must take supplemental forms of vitamin B12 in order to prevent pernicious anemia. (More on vitamin B12 malabsorption later.)

These Foods are Highest in Vitamin B12

Symptoms that mean you need more B12

It’s always good to test for low vitamin B12, but the best way to know if you’re getting enough is by paying close attention to telltale symptoms of severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

Since vitamin B12 depletion happens slowly, you may not realize you’re experiencing a deficiency until you start to notice yourself always feeling tired, depressed, or just generally slower than usual.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of low vitamin B12:

  • Constant overbearing fatigue
  • Long-lasting depression
  • Brain fog
  • You’re talking slower than normal
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Burning, sore red tongue
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty walking in a straight line
  • Constantly dropping things

Risk factors

If you keep a vegan diet, or refrain from eating many animal-based foods, then you are a risk factor for vitamin B12 deficiency, simply because there are no vegetable-based foods that supply sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 to prevent anemia.

Medications

If you’re not a vegan, and you have no chronic illnesses, then you may still be at risk, as there are a number of medications that interfere with your ability to digest vitamin B12 naturally from foods, resulting in vitamin B12 malabsorption- a major cause of vitamin B12 depletion that often slips off the radar.

Some medications that lead to vitamin B12 malabsorption include:

  • Metformin (for diabetes)
  • Protein pump inhibitors (for acid reflux, heartburn)
  • NSAID’s (ibuprofen, etc.)
  • Certain antibiotics

Here is a longer list of medications that cause vitamin B12 deficiency

Surgeries

If you have had a gastric bypass for weight loss, then you may be at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. Also, gastrointestinal surgeries recommended for treating Crohn’s disease, such as removal of the ileum, necessitate frequent vitamin B12 supplementation in order to prevent pernicious anemia.

Alcoholism

Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) from vitamin B12 deficiency is one of many ailments that occur with long-term alcohol abuse.

Autoimmune disorders

An underlying autoimmune disorder can also be the basis of low vitamin B12. Autoimmune intrinsic factor dysfunction causes your body to attack intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme that bonds to vitamin B12 and helps to distribute it into your blood supply. People with autoimmune pernicious anemia cannot get vitamin B12 from foods, regardless of diet, and must use supplemental forms of vitamin B12 for survival.

If you have any other autoimmune disorder, such as celiac disease, fibromyalgia, or lupus, then your risk for autoimmune vitamin B12 deficiency is higher than normal.

GI damage

Finally, any kind of damage to your stomach, intestines, or esophagus can interfere with your ability to absorb vitamin B12, increasing your chance for pernicious anemia. If you suffer from chronic heartburn, gas, and bloating, then that may be an important clue in determining why you often feel tired, anxious, or agitated.

Illnesses that cause frequent vomiting, such as migraines, fibromyalgia, and Crohn’s, are linked with comorbid vitamin B12 deficiency.

Old age

As we age, our bodies tend to slow down; that includes a reduction in the amount of digestive enzymes we produce- proteins needed to absorb vitamin B12. For many healthy individuals over 60, signs of depression and forgetfulness are often discounted as the first symptoms of senility, without even checking vitamin B12 levels.

For that reason, health experts recommend strict vitamin B12 supplementation for all senior citizens, even if they don’t think they need it, as the symptom don’t manifest themselves until vitamin B12 levels reach a dangerous low.

Conclusion

Don’t ignore symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, even if you are “healthy” and “normal.” Plenty of people have vitamin B12 deficiency, and don’t even know it- not until they start experiencing severe ailments.

Get a blood test, take your vitamin B12, and keep track of your mood and energy levels each day; this will be your best Richter scale for determining how much vitamin B12 you need in order to prevent anemia and maintain good health.

Also read:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Can it be Genetic?

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Caused by H. Pylori Infection

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Can it be Genetic?

Monday, October 28th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur because of diet, medication, or gastrointestinal surgery, but it can also be hereditary. Genetic pernicious anemia is a cause of vitamin B12 deficiency that sometimes slips right off the radar, yet can produce debilitating symptoms of extreme fatigue, disorientation, muscular pain, and depression.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Can it be Genetic?

What causes vitamin B12 deficiency?

Listed are just some of the most common causes of vitamin B12 deficiency. For a more complete list, see vitamin B12 deficiency causes.

Diet

Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based food sources such as fish, chicken, beef, and dairy products. The foods that have the most vitamin B12 are shellfish and organ meats. So if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, then it’s vitally important to supplement with vitamin B12 in order to prevent becoming anemic.

Medications

Certain medications can inhibit your ability to digest vitamin B12 from foods; these include PPIs for acid reflux and heartburn, metformin for diabetes, and certain antidepressants.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Surgery

Also, if you’ve ever had bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) or gastrointestinal surgery for Crohn’s disease, then you are required to take lifelong vitamin B12 supplements.

Autoimmune diseases

The more autoimmune disorders you have, the likelier your chances of developing new ailments caused by a weak immune system. Vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia is one such autoimmune disease that can occur alone or along with other genetic autoimmune dysfunctions.

Genetic pernicious anemia is caused by a lack of intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme needed to absorb vitamin B12.

Pernicious anemia can occur as an autoimmune disorder, or it can develop as a comorbid condition to other autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or celiac disease.

If you eat a healthy diet of lean meats and seafood, and you don’t fall into any of the above-mentioned categories, then your cause of vitamin B12 deficiency may be genetic.

Is vitamin B12 deficiency serious?

Vitamin B12 is crucial for many important biochemical responses throughout your body. Vitamin B12 aids in red blood cell formation, and also sustains healthy neurological functioning.

Vitamin B12 boosts cellular energy, supports a good metabolism, and helps to regulate levels of homocysteine, a hormone linked with heart attack and stroke.

Untreated, long-term vitamin B12 deficiency-pernicious anemia can result severe irreversible damage to your nervous system, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, cognitive impairments, and sometimes, death.

Getting tested

Off the bat, your family medical history can tell you if you’re prone to vitamin B12 deficiency from genetic pernicious anemia. If anybody in your family suffers from pernicious anemia or any autoimmune disorder, then your chances of developing severe vitamin B12 deficiency are higher than normal.

You can test for vitamin B12 deficiency easily with one blood test, but the results are not always accurate. In diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency, your doctor should pay attention to the symptoms you’re experiencing and how well you’re responding to vitamin B12 supplementation.

Please tell us…

Do you or your parents have vitamin B12 deficiency? Have you found a genetic link to that or other autoimmune disorders?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.
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What Causes Pernicious Anemia?

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

 

 

There are many causes of pernicious anemia, including autoimmune conditions, medications, and damage to the intestines. Vitamin B12 deficiency caused by vegan dieting is not considered a cause of pernicious anemia, as it can be reversed by eating foods containing ample amounts of vitamin B12.

What Causes Pernicious Anemia?

Digestive illnesses

Crohn’s disease, celiac, and fibromyalgia can impair your ability to produce intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme that is needed in order to extract vitamin B12 from food and replenish supplies of vitamin B12 in the blood stream. Pernicious anemia is often comorbid with illnesses that affect the gastrointestinal system. For prevention, check vitamin B12 levels routinely and supplement with non-pill forms of vitamin B12.

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Genetics

If either of your parents or grandparents suffered from pernicious anemia, then you are also a high risk category for vitamin B12 deficiency. With frequent testing, you can catch the onset of vitamin B12 deficiency before it advances to pernicious anemia.

Pernicious Anemia- What’s your Risk?

Medication-induced vitamin B12 deficiency

Certain medications can eventually impair your ability to absorb vitamin B12, leading to pernicious anemia; these include PPIs used to treat GERD (acid reflux), metformin for diabetes, and various antibiotics, NSAIDs and antidepressants. If you are on long-term medication, check to see if you are a risk factor for megaloblastic anemia and use vitamin B12 supplements.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Gastrointestinal surgery

If you have had bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) or surgical treatments for illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, then pernicious anemia may result because of vitamin B12 malabsorption. To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, supplement with non-oral forms of vitamin B12.

Please tell us…

Do you get enough vitamin B12 to prevent symptoms of pernicious anemia, or would you feel better if your doctor would prescribe more vitamin B12?

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:

Is Pernicious Anemia Megaloblastic?

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Bariatric Surgery

What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia- B12 deficiency?

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25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 is a lot easier to get than people realize- if you take the following medications, you may be susceptible to severe vitamin B12 deficiency, even if you include plenty of B12-rich foods in your diet.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency- B12 Patch

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) occurs naturally in many foods that most people eat every day; lean beef, poultry, organ meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, and dairy products all contain generous amounts of vitamin B12- enough to avoid becoming deficient.

However, there are certain medications that may interfere with your ability to extract vitamin B12 from the foods you eat, eventually resulting in a severe drop in vitamin B12 levels.

What is vitamin B12, and why is it so important?

Vitamin B12 malabsorption may occur if you currently take the following pharmaceutical drugs:

Medications that cause vitamin B12 deficiency

  1. Cholestyramine (Cholybar®, Questran®) – used to lower high cholesterol levels in the blood.
  2. Cimetidine (Tagamet®) – used to treat and prevent stomach ulcers.
  3. Clofibrate (Atromid-S®) – impairs absorption of vitamin B12 -
  4. Colchicine- (ColBenemid®) – used to prevent or treat attacks of gout (also called gouty arthritis)
  5. Co-trimoxazole- It reduces bacteria that cause infections of the urinary tract, lungs (pneumonia), ears, and intestines.
  6. Demeclocycline- an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.
  7. Famotidine- a histamine blocker used to treat and prevent ulcers.
  8. Fluoroquinolones- antimicrobials used to kill bacteria in pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and diarrhea.
  9. Lansoprazole- used to prevent stomach ulcers and to treat other conditions in which the stomach produces too much acid.
  10. Macrolides- antibiotics used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections.
  11. Metformin- type 2 diabetes drug, known to cause vitamin B12 deficiency.
  12. Methyldopa (Aldomet®) – reduces vitamin B12 levels, leading to a vitamin B12 deficiency.
  13. Minocycline- antibiotic used to help treat periodontal disease, acne, and inflammatory arthritis.
  14. Neomycin- antibiotic, antibacterial used topically to treat skin infections, wounds, and burns. Neomycin impairs vitamin B12 absorption and has been shown to decrease vitamin B12 levels.
  15. Nizatidine- used to treat and prevent stomach ulcers, intestinal ulcers, and acid reflux.
  16. Omeprazole (Prilosec®) -used for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  17. Oral contraceptives- oral contraceptives with high estrogen content leads to decreased levels of vitamin B12.
  18. Phenobarbital (Donnatal®, Solfoton®) -barbiturate, anticonvulsant that results in decreased levels of vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, in addition to elevated homocysteine levels. (Vitamin B12, Homocysteine, and your Heart)
  19. Phenytoin- an antiepileptic drug.
  20. Potassium chloride- used for dehydration, can be deadly in its concentrated form.
  21. Ranitidine (Zantac®) H2-receptor, heartburn medication used to suppress production of stomach acids that are necessary for digesting vitamin B12.
  22. Sulfonamides- antibiotics used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections.
  23. Tetracyclines (Achromycin®, Sumycin®, Tetra-C®, Tetracyn®, Tetralyn®, Tetram®, Tropicycline®) – antibiotics prescribed for acne.
  24. Trimethoprim- (TMP/SMX) is used to treat urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and “travelers’ diarrhea.”
  25. Valproic Acid (Depakene®) – anticonvulsant used for migraine headache prevention.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

Because the decline is so gradual, people usually don’t realize that they’re not getting enough vitamin B12 until they begin experiencing the warning symptoms- which often arrive only when depletion is severe.

Warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Sluggish thinking (brain fog)
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Painful tingling, burning, and numbness in hands and feet
  • Poor coordination
  • Muscle twitches and spasms
  • Eye problems
  • Tinnitus (ear ringing)

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:

Top Ten Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Real Illness?

Sources:

Vitamin B12

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