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Posts Tagged ‘pernicious anemia risks’

7 Reasons for the B12 Epidemic

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

 

 

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to mental illness, physical impairments, cognitive problems, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, and in certain situations- even death. Many wonder- if that’s the case, then why isn’t vitamin B12 deficiency, aka pernicious anemia, detected early-on, before B12 levels plummet to such an unhealthy, debilitating level?

7 Reasons for the B12 Epidemic

B12 deficiency is hard to find

Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed- slips completely off the medical radar- for a variety of reasons having to do with our method for diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency, in addition to the fact that there are so many illnesses that occur at the same time that have similar symptoms.

(See Top 10 Disorders Linked with B12 Deficiency)

If you already suffer from chronic depression or fibromyalgia, how would you know if you were running perilously close to developing pernicious anemia, unless your doctor screened for it routinely? (Most doctors don’t)

The problem with diagnosing the early signs of pernicious anemia is compounded by the fact that the medical community doesn’t consider it an epidemic anymore- not since scientists discovered a way of curing lethal pernicious anemia with vitamin B12 supplementation.

For many physicians, pernicious anemia awareness is practically an oxymoron.

7 Reasons for the B12 epidemic

Here are some of the main reasons that vitamin B12 deficiency continues to develop among millions of US citizens between the ages of 40 and 65:

1)      The nationally accepted standard for normal levels of serum vitamin B12 is too low to prevent many of the debilitating ailments that occur when levels are moderate to low.

2)      Other tests which can be used to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency, such as the methylmalonic acid or homocysteine test, are often ignored.

3)      The average medical student receives little or no training in how to detect and treat pernicious anemia.

4)      People who are most at risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency- senior citizens, diabetics, autoimmune disorder patients, or recipients of gastric bypass- are rarely reminded to check their vitamin B12 levels.

5)      Elderly citizens who fall frequently aren’t tested regularly for vitamin B12 deficiency, even though gait disturbances, dizziness, and balance problems are typical signs of pernicious anemia.

6)      Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia often mask underlying vitamin B12 deficiency; nevertheless, doctors rarely conduct B12 screenings for patients with dementia, despite scientific evidence proving its beneficial properties for people suffering from memory loss, confusion, and paranoia.

What do you think?

Should pernicious anemia be recognized as an epidemic worthy of more research?

Should we raise our standards for detecting vitamin B12 deficiency, even when levels are moderate to low?

Does your doctor give enough attention to symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss, brain fog, or “pins and needles?”

Also read:

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Pernicious Anemia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Which Causes Which?

Tired All the Time? 30 Likely Causes of Daytime Fatigue

Image courtesy of Hey Paul

Quick Facts on Vitamin B12- The Energy Vitamin!

Monday, November 18th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients for the body- and the hardest to digest, for many people. A water-based B vitamin, cobalamin is essential for the nervous system, blood cells, and for DNA. Yet an increasing number of people don’t get enough vitamin B12 from food, and as a result feel fatigued and disoriented from pernicious anemia.

Quick Facts on Vitamin B12- The Energy Vitamin!

What does vitamin B12 do?

Vitamin B12 is essential for survival; it is involved in some of the most vital processes that take place in the body.

Vitamin B12 helps to maintain production of healthy red blood cells. Without enough vitamin B12 in your system, your body starts producing overlarge irregular-shaped blood cells that cannot function properly, resulting in a depletion of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin.

Vitamin B12 also aids in converting carbohydrates into necessary energy, ensuring that you have plenty of stamina and mental focus during the day.

Vitamin B12 enhances your nervous system functioning by helping to maintain myelin, a fatty coating that surrounds each individual nerve cell.

Vitamin B12 supports cell reproduction and renewal in preventing common signs of aging.

Boost your Metabolism with Vitamin B12

What foods provide vitamin B12?

Foods that are high in vitamin B12 include meats, seafood, poultry, dairy, and eggs. Among these, organ meat and shellfish provide the richest natural source of vitamin B12.

While it’s possible to find vegan products that are fortified with vitamins such as B12, these are not natural forms of the vitamin, and don’t provide the maximum amount needed to maintain healthy vitamin B12 levels.

To prevent deficiency, vegans and vegetarians are recommended to take vitamin B12 supplements on a regular basis.

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is complicated

Vitamin B12 is one of the few nutrients that require a cofactor for proper absorption. It’s not a simple matter of eating plenty of foods the contain vitamin B12, such as beef, chicken, seafood, and dairy products. To complete the digestion process, your body uses a digestive enzyme called intrinsic factor, which bonds to the vitamin and escorts it through your digestive system.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is anemia

If your vitamin B12 levels have been low for a very long period of time, you may have pernicious anemia, a type of megaloblastic anemia that occurs when people are unable to produce intrinsic factor.

Pernicious anemia can result from an autoimmune disorder or it can occur as a result of damage to the stomach lining (gastritis).

If you have pernicious anemia, then you can’t get enough vitamin B12 from swallowing pills or other dietary supplements. Only supplementation with a highly-absorbable form of vitamin B12 that enters directly into the blood stream can reverse the symptoms of severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

Risk factors for pernicious anemia include:

  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Removal of ilium for Crohn’s disease
  • Metformin for diabetes
  • Protein pump inhibitors (PPI’s) for GERD, acid reflux, chronic heartburn, or ulcer
  • Family history for autoimmune disorders
  • Chronic migraines
  • Old age
  • Alcoholism

I Eat Healthy…So How did I Get Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency

By the time you start to notice the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, you are already on a dangerous decline, as it takes years for the symptoms to manifest themselves. Also, blood tests for vitamin B12 deficiency don’t give you ample warning to up your vitamin B12 intake, as they only test for extremely low levels of vitamin B12, and aren’t always even accurate in such screenings.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- How Long does it Take?

Symptoms that indicate vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Constant fatigue, even after sleeping well
  • Depression
  • Slow talking and thinking
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms, eye twitches
  • Difficulty walking in a straight line
  • Sore, burning red tongue

How much B12 do I need?

The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B12 consumption for healthy people who don’t have a deficiency is a scant 2 or 3 micrograms per day. Why then do most vitamin B12 supplements contain a whopping 1,000mcg of vitamin B12 in one weekly dose?

If you are unable to produce intrinsic factor, then you can only digest about 1% of all the vitamin B12 you get from foods, pills, or other supplements.

So, to get the amount you need to keep your B12 levels at a normal rate, you need to take about 100 times the amount any other person would need to stay healthy.

Please tell us…

Have you ever been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency? Do you suffer from chronic fatigue that you can’t explain?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

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Like this? Read more:

Vitamin B12- Good for your Libido!

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

Image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos

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