Managing fibromyalgia symptoms means treating yourself to lots of TLC, and that includes getting mega doses of vitamin B12 supplements. Fibromyalgia has a high correlation with vitamin B12 deficiency, due to gastric atrophy caused by fibromyalgia symptoms. Unfortunately, unless your doctor screens for low vitamin B12 (cobalamin) levels, you could have B12 deficiency without even knowing it. Here are some tips on getting enough vitamin B12 with fibromyalgia.
If you have fibromyalgia, then you need to get your B12 levels tested routinely. There are several reasons for this, the main ones being:
Fibromyalgia causes vitamin B12 deficiency.
One of the symptoms of fibromyalgia includes a wearing away of the stomach’s lining. Your stomach cells make a digestive enzyme, intrinsic factor that is crucial for digesting vitamin B12 from food sources like meat, fish, and eggs. Damage to the stomach causes decreased production of intrinsic factor, leading to vitamin B12 deficiency. Only a blood test can determine if you have B12 deficiency.
Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder.
And so is pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency. Scientists believe that autoimmune disorders are often comorbid with each other. So, if you have fibromyalgia, then you are at a high risk of also having autoimmune pernicious anemia or celiac disease. With pernicious anemia, your stomach fails to make intrinsic factor for vitamin B12 absorption because of an autoimmune disorder that attacks your stomach cells. A test for intrinsic factor antibodies can determine if that is the case.
Fibromyalgia and vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms are alike.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms may mask themselves as other ailments. This can get confusing for doctors and patients alike, especially when you already have a chronic illness that includes similar symptoms. Pernicious anemia can be misdiagnosed as depression, fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue, as symptoms include both physical and mental disorders.
Typical symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Severe fatigue
- Muddled thinking (brain fog)
- Poor attention skills
- Painful tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
- Sleep disturbances
- Decreased motor control
- Frequent clumsiness or tripping
- Impaired memory
Treating vitamin B12 deficiency with fibromyalgia
If you suffer from an illness like fibromyalgia that causes similar symptoms to vitamin B12 deficiency, then it’s necessary to get your vitamin B12 levels checked routinely, as the symptoms won’t be apparent.
Treatment may include vitamin B12 injections, to be taken in rounds of weekly or monthly B12 shots.
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