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Posts Tagged ‘pernicious anemia’

Which Antacids cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

 

 

In a recent study on vitamin B12 deficiency and antacid medications, doctors from Kaiser Permanente found further evidence proving that people who take stomach acid-inhibiting drugs for GERD (acid reflux) and heartburn are more likely than others to develop significant vitamin B12 anemia over time.  Side effects include memory loss, fatigue, and nerve damage.

Antacids, Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you suffer from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), chronic heartburn, or peptic ulcers, then you’re chances of developing vitamin B12 deficiency (aka pernicious anemia) are higher than normal, according to a California study published in JAMA.

Vitamin B12 and the stomach

In order to digest vitamin B12 from the foods you eat, your body uses digestive enzymes produced in the stomach; without these essential stomach acids, you would not be able to absorb vitamin B12- it would just pass through the digestive system untouched.

And such is the case with patients using certain antacid medications to treat chronic acid reflux, stomach ulcers, painful heartburn, and esophageal strictures. By inhibiting the production of peptic acids, you also inhibit digestion of vitamin B12, resulting in vitamin B12 malabsorption- a widespread cause of vitamin B12 deficiency, or pernicious anemia.

Likewise, elderly individuals who stop producing sufficient stomach acids as a result of old age are also at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.

Quick note: A deficiency in stomach acids is equal to a deficiency in vitamin B12.

Which antacid medications cause B12 deficiency?

In the Kaiser study, doctors examined patients using proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine 2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) who also had vitamin B12 deficiency.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop taking these medications; rather, it’s important to check your vitamin B12 levels regularly if you use any of the following antacid medications long-term:

  • Omeprazole (Prilosec)
  • Esomeprazole (Nexium)
  • Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Famotidine (Pepcid)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac)

Quick note: If you use PPIs or H2RAs, then check your B12 levels yearly, at least.

Is vitamin B12 deficiency serious?

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe nerve damage, dementia, and increased risk for heart attack and stroke.  (Remember, pernicious anemia used to be a fatal disease until scientists learned to treat it with vitamin B12.)

However, even the earliest and middle stages of vitamin B12 deficiency can be extremely debilitating- enough to make daily functioning difficult and tiring.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency:

Listed are common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency which are often overlooked or misdiagnosed:

  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Memory loss
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms
  • Poor motor control
  • Gait problems, difficulty walking straight
  • Poor balance
  • Loss/increase of appetite
  • Sleep problems

Stomach Bloating from B12 Deficiency? Yes, It Happens.

How do I know if I have vitamin B12 deficiency?

Once you start noticing even the earliest symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, that’s a sign that your vitamin B12 levels have already dropped to a dangerous low. So, it’s important to start treating immediately.

A simple blood test may indicate if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, but it’s best not to wait for diagnosis to begin supplementing. Vitamin B12 is safe to use in any amount, so there’s no harm in taking “too much,” but there can be negative ramifications if you wait too long to begin restoring your vitamin B12 levels.

Also, the median used to determine vitamin B12 levels is too low to catch the earliest signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Quick note: Symptoms are a better indicator of vitamin B12 deficiency than lab tests.

Which types of vitamin B12 are best?

With vitamin B12 malabsorption, vitamin B12 pills are useless, as they pass through the stomach undigested. Instead, your doctor may prescribe vitamin B12 injections which must be inserted directly into the muscular tissue of the thigh, arm, abdomen, or buttocks.  Depending on the level of anemia, you may be required to take vitamin B12 shots monthly or bi-monthly.

You may find that monthly sessions of vitamin B12 shots are not enough to make you feel “normal” again. If that’s the case, then it’s helpful to take extra doses of vitamin B12 between injections.  Just make sure to use types of vitamin B12 that pass directly through the skin’s layer into the blood.

Quick note: If you can’t digest vitamin B12 in the stomach, then you have to manually insert it into your blood stream through the skin.

Also read:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Caused by H. Pylori Infection

Gastrointestinal Surgery for Crohn’s (IBD) and B12 Warnings

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles

99 Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms- the Definitive List

Monday, December 9th, 2013

 

 

Still think vitamin B12 deficiency is something that can be ignored? If you have any of the most common symptoms- fatigue, depression, memory loss, painful “pins and needles” in the hands and feet- then you may be surprised to learn that there’s a lot more to pernicious anemia than beats the eye.

99 Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms- the Definitive List

Vitamin B12- You need this!

Vitamin B12 is essential for so many primary biological functions that are necessary for survival- your nervous system, hormonal balance, cognitive functioning, metabolism, cell formation, to name just a few. It’s no wonder that when vitamin B12 levels are even marginally low, the results can range from annoying and disturbing to debilitating and catastrophic.

Pernicious anemia

In years past, pernicious anemia from severe vitamin B12 deficiency used to be fatal. Today, thanks to vitamin B12 supplementation, we are able to maintain normal levels of vitamin B12, even in spite of vitamin B12 malabsorption from autoimmune disorders and gastrointestinal illnesses.

But until you learn to recognize the earliest symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, you’re at risk for pernicious anemia and all the damage that it can cause throughout your system.

Symptoms of low B12

Here are 99 ailments that often occur in people with moderate to severe vitamin B12 deficiency, including comorbid conditions and direct symptoms.

  1. Symptoms of anemia- peripheral (megaloblastic) anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency
  2. Painful tingling and numbness in extremities (hands, fingers, toes)- paresthesias
  3. Peripheral nerve damage from demyelination
  4. Poor motor control in arms and legs
  5. Constantly dropping things
  6. Dizziness, poor equilibrium
  7. Gait disturbances, difficulty walking straight
  8. Vertigo, sensation of spinning when at rest
  9. Confusion
  10. Slow thinking, brain fog
  11. Difficulty remembering words or names
  12. Agitation
  13. Depression
  14. Chronic overwhelming fatigue
  15. Poor concentration, attention problems
  16. Difficulty completing tasks
  17. Mood changes
  18. Memory loss
  19. Unusual sudden anger
  20. Psychosis
  21. Age-related dementia
  22. Paranoia
  23. Hallucinations
  24. Anxiety attacks, panic
  25. Sore muscles, painful burning
  26. Tremors, trembling
  27. Frequent muscle fatigue
  28. Difficulty building muscle tissue, even with exercise
  29. Exercise requires several days of recuperation
  30. Neck pain
  31. Headaches
  32. Tight muscle pain in the arms and legs
  33. Joint pain
  34. Morning muscular stiffness
  35. Muscle spasms, twitches
  36. Tender spots as evident in fibromyalgia
  37. Bursitis- pain in elbows, shoulders, and hips
  38. Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold foods- pain in mouth, teeth
  39. Sore tongue, burning sensation
  40. Red tongue that is abnormally smooth, without texture
  41. Canker sores, mouth pain
  42. Sores at corners of mouth
  43. Dry mouth
  44. Altered sense of taste
  45. Unusual thirst
  46. Metallic taste in mouth
  47. Olfactory hallucinations
  48. Pain in bladder without uterine infection
  49. Stomach pain
  50. Nausea
  51. Constant bloating
  52. Difficulty swallowing food
  53. “Frog in throat” sensation
  54. Acid reflux, GERD
  55. Heartburn
  56. Flatulence
  57. Loss of appetite
  58. Constipation
  59. Diarrhea
  60. Esophageal ulcers
  61. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)f, Crohn’s disease
  62. Dairy sensitivity
  63. Unusual weight loss or weight gain
  64. Poor libido
  65. Hormonal problems
  66. Low sperm count
  67. Erectile dysfunction
  68. Infertility
  69. Post-partum depression
  70. Frequent miscarriage, early abortion
  71. Failure to thrive in infancy
  72. Language delays
  73. PMS, difficult menstrual periods
  74. Chronic yeast infections
  75. Early onset menopause
  76. Pale complexion
  77. Heart palpitations
  78. Shortness of breath
  79. Weak pulse
  80. Thyroid disorders- Hashimoto’s
  81. High levels of homocysteine
  82. Sensory issues- hypersensitivity to touch, scents, textures, tastes, bright lights  and noises
  83. Sleep problems, insomnia
  84. Sleep that does not restore energy
  85. Night terrors
  86. Vision problems- blurring, photosensitivity, poor night vision
  87. Optic neuritis
  88. Tinnitus – ringing in ears
  89. Hyperacusis- extreme sensitivity to sounds
  90. Low body temperature, always feeling chilled
  91. Neural tube defect in children
  92. “Electric shocks,” pain that shoots down arms and legs when you bend your neck
  93. Poor reflexes from impaired nerve cells
  94. Frequent bruising
  95. Constantly itchy skin
  96. Eczema
  97. Early graying of hair
  98. Hair loss
  99. Thin brittle nails with ridges

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

Top 10 Disorders Linked with B12 Deficiency

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a type of anemia that sneaks up on you; symptoms are often masked by other underlying illnesses, and can worsen intense fatigue, depression, anxiety and weakness. Listed below are illnesses and other health conditions that can be helped by diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency and implementing immediate supplementation.

Top 10 Disorders Linked with B12 Deficiency

  1. Anemia- Pernicious anemia occurs with untreated vitamin B12 deficiency. Once considered a fatal disease, doctors can now prevent irreparable nerve damage, cognitive disorders, and loss of red blood cells by executing high doses of vitamin B12, usually for life.
  2. Alzheimer’s disease dementia- Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among elderly citizens. As you age, you lose your ability to digest vitamins from natural food sources. One of the earliest symptoms of declining vitamin B12 levels is memory loss. With age-related dementia, undiagnosed vitamin B12 deficiency can exacerbate symptoms like forgetfulness, confusion, moodiness, and paranoia.  That’s why doctors recommend routine serum vitamin B12 screenings for individuals over the age of 60.
  3. Mental illness- Scientists have found that people with bipolar disorder, chronic depression, or post-partum psychosis respond better to medications when vitamin B12 levels are normal. Conversely, vitamin B12 deficiency in people suffering from mental illness (depression, schizophrenia) results in a worsening of symptoms.
  4. Peripheral neuropathy- Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system, as it supports myelin, a fatty coating that insulates your nerve cells. Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe nerve damage. Symptoms include painful tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, muscle spasms, and poor reflexes.
  5. Multiple sclerosis- B12 deficiency is sometimes misdiagnosed as MS, as the symptoms are similar and both conditions involve a breakdown of myelin. Vitamin B12 deficiency in multiple sclerosis patients can also magnify symptoms of numbness, muscle pain, and fatigue.
  6. Vertigo- Dizziness and vertigo is one of many side effects of vitamin B12 deficiency.
  7. Chronic fatigue syndrome- Severe fatigue can be helped by correcting a vitamin B12 deficiency, as B12 is needed for energy and mental wellness. Also, many chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers also have gastrointestinal disorders that prevent proper absorption of vitamin B12 from foods, leading to lower than normal B12 levels.
  8. Fibromyalgia- Similar to CFS, fibromyalgia is also comorbid with severe vitamin B12 deficiency.
  9. Erectile dysfunction- Many oft-cited scientific reports have seen a link between sexual disorders and abnormally low levels of vitamin B12.
  10. Infertility- Vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy or while trying to conceive can increase your risk for premature birth, miscarriage, and difficulty conceiving.

If you have any of the illnesses listed above, have you been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency? Sometimes, false-negative test results fail to determine vitamin B12 deficiency when symptoms are evident.

Since vitamin B12 is safe to use in even highest doses, doctors recommend supplementing if any of the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency make it difficult to function normally, even without a diagnosis.

Also read

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Menopause Symptoms

Vitamin B12- a Penny a Day Keeps Dementia Away

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Image courtesy of piyaphantawong

Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Millions

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when your blood levels of vitamin B12 drop to an unhealthy low. If you have vitamin B12 deficiency for an extended period, then you are risk for pernicious anemia. Today, experts believe that vitamin B12 deficiency is an overlooked epidemic striking millions of US citizens.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Millions

How common is B12 deficiency?

In 2000, the United States Department of Agriculture stated that nearly two-fifths of all US citizens had some form of vitamin B12 deficiency. Their source of information was the Framingham Offspring Study, which found vitamin B12 deficiency in nearly 40% of 3,000 Framingham, Massachusetts residents between the ages of 26 and 83.

“I think there is a lot of undetected vitamin B12 deficiency out there,” said study author Katherine Tucker.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Today, reports indicate that close to 47 million Americans suffer from middle-low to nearly depleted levels of vitamin B12.

Conflicting reports

So why do government reports such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey claim that the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency among Americans is much lower- closer to 3% with severely low levels, and 20% with borderline B12 anemia?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed and ignored by doctors for many reasons:

First, we’ve been led to believe that pernicious anemia is no longer a fatal or even detrimental disease, so it has essentially fallen off the radar. Many doctors no longer test for vitamin B12 deficiency in their patients, because they believe that it is a non-issue.

Second, standards for detecting vitamin B12 deficiency are remarkably low and inefficient. Serum vitamin B12 screenings only look for lethally-low levels of vitamin B12, which occur only in a rare percentage of people with pernicious anemia. Middle-low ranges of vitamin B12 depletion that nevertheless cause debilitating symptoms are often ignored.

Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging

Finally, even people with “normal” levels of vitamin B12 in their system may exhibit symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, as the blood screenings don’t separate active vitamin B12 from stored vitamin B12. This is an important yet overlooked distinction, as only active molecules of vitamin B12 are able to carry out the biochemical functions necessary for survival.

B12 deficiency in vegetarians

According to a recent report on vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians, vegans are at a higher risk for developing anemia from low vitamin B12 levels compared with vegetarians, and people who follow a vegetarian diet from birth are more at risk than those who made a change to their diet in adulthood.

In the scientific study conducted by the Department of Nutrition Science, the risk for vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians is as follows:

  • Pregnant women- 62%
  • Children- 25-86%
  • Teens- 21-41%
  • Elderly 11-90%

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Signs of B12 deficiency

Some of the early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are often mistaken for chronic depression, anxiety, or age-related dementia. Since vitamin B12 is needed for maintaining myelin, some of the symptoms of low vitamin B12 mimic those of multiple sclerosis.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Memory loss
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness
  • Poor concentration
  • Decreased motor control
  • “Pins and needles” in hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms, twitches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sore, burning red tongue

Do you currently get prescriptions for vitamin B12 shots ? If so, do you feel that you don’t get enough to prevent symptoms between doses?

Also read:

What Causes Vitamin B12 Malabsorption?

Top Ten Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Real Illness?

Image courtesy of xedos4

B12 Shots: Getting your Medical Insurance to Pay

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 shots are crucial if you’re diagnosed with extremely low levels of vitamin B12, but they can be expensive. Some medical insurance plans cover the costs of vitamin B12 injections, but only if you qualify. Even if you’re approved, you may not be getting the right dosage to relieve some of the ailments that come with even mild vitamin B12 deficiency.

B12 Shots: Getting your Medical Insurance to Pay

Intramuscular vitamin B12 shots require the services of a licensed nurse, and to get your fill, your best bet is to apply for coverage from your medical insurance plan.

Unfortunately, healthcare plans such as Cigna, Aetna, and Blue Cross, in addition to Medicare, can make it difficult for you to get enough B12. Their mission is to prevent death from pernicious anemia, and they do that reasonably well…

Still, there are a host of health problems that don’t go away with minimum vitamin B12 shots; constant fatigue, brain fog, and depression can continue if you’re not getting enough vitamin B12 from your healthcare provider.

Aetna

Let’s consider Aetna:

Aetna will pay for vitamin B12 injections if you suffer from:

  • Diagnosed pernicious anemia, or other types of anemia
  • Gastrointestinal disorders linked with lack of intrinsic factor, vitamin B12 malabsorption or gastrointestinal surgeries
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage) from alcoholism, pernicious anemia, or posterolateral sclerosis
  • Dementia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Elevated homocysteine levels caused by homocysteinuria

Also, if you have vitamin B12 deficiency caused by medications such as metformin for diabetes, then you may be able to get your insurance to pay for vitamin B12 shots.

But no mention is made of vitamin B12 supplements in relation to symptoms of fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety, depression, or dizziness that occur when vitamin B12 levels are even marginally low, in people who are not diagnosed with anemia.

Also, children with autism are not approved for vitamin B12 injection compensation, even though many parents have noticed extreme health benefits (cognition, energy, and mood) with routine B12 shots.

So unless you’re diagnosed with pernicious anemia, peripheral neuropathy, or dementia that’s not related to old age, you will have difficulty getting your insurance to pay for vitamin B12 supplements. If your employer insurance plan covers naturopathic medicine, then you may be more successful.

Medicare

If you’re a senior citizen, then your risk for vitamin B12 deficiency is much higher. Still, Medicare Part D follows the same criteria for vitamin B12 shots as the Aetna plan.

Unless you can present proof that you suffer from one of the approved medical conditions as mentioned above, you may not get coverage for vitamin B12, even if you are suffering from extreme fatigue, sluggish thinking, mood problems, or other ailments that can happen even if blood tests indicate normal levels of vitamin B12.

Conclusion

If you’re turned down for Medicare or other healthcare compensation for vitamin B12 supplements, then fear not; there are other options.

While vitamin B12 shots can be expensive, costing upwards of $25 a pop, there are alternative methods of vitamin B12 supplementation that are available online and over the counter (OTC). Many are cheaper, gentler, and more convenient than vitamin B12 shots, and just as likely to get absorbed into your bloodstream.

Moreover, if you receive vitamin B12 shots through your provider, but you want more to “top up” vitamin B12 levels between office visits, then OTC vitamin B12 is a great option to get the amount you need, when you need it, at a fraction of the price of prescription B12.

Please tell us…

Does your healthcare provider cover vitamin B12 shots? If so, are you getting enough 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:

Vitamin B12 Injection Pain- 7 Helpful Tips

Vitamin B12 Shots- Side Effects

Self-Injecting Vitamin B12 Shots- 12 Tips and Warnings

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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

Image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos

These Foods are Highest in Vitamin B12

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

 

 

To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, it’s important to include an assortment of foods that have vitamin B12 in your daily diet. This is harder than it sounds! The majority of the foods that are highest in vitamin B12 are sadly missing from the average American diet. As a result, a rising number of people are suffering the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency, or pernicious anemia, due to a lack of this crucial nutrient in the blood supply.

These Foods are Highest in Vitamin B12

It’s important to note that eating foods that are high in vitamin B12 is only helpful for preventing vitamin B12 deficiency if you are able to digest it naturally. For many, vitamin B12 malabsorption prevents you from digesting vitamin B12 naturally from foods, causing your vitamin B12 levels to diminish steadily.

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

The rule applies for taking vitamin B12 pills. If you are one of many individuals who suffer from vitamin B12 malabsorption, then your risk of developing pernicious anemia increases with time, regardless of your diet.

Foods highest in vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 only occurs in animal-based products- meat, fish, eggs, and milk. Still, certain foods in that category contain significantly higher amounts of vitamin B12 than others. So you may think you’re taking in enough chicken or beef to keep your vitamin B12 at a normal level, when really you’re missing out on some of the richest sources of this essential B vitamin.

(If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, then it is crucial that you supplement with vitamin B12 regularly in order to prevent debilitating symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.)

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Shellfish

Seafood provides some of the most nutritional sources of vitamin B12. One hundred grams of cooked clams provides 98.9mcg of vitamin B12; that’s 1648% of the amount recommended to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency!

Other excellent food sources of vitamin B12 from the seas include mackerel, crab, sardines and caviar.

Organ meat

A 3-ounce serving of cooked beef liver delivers a whopping 70.7mcg of vitamin B12. In fact, before vitamin B12 supplementation, doctors used to prescribe a concoction of pre-digested beef liver (Ew!) as a cure for pernicious anemia.

Chicken Liver pate, moose liver, and grilled chicken hearts are also good food sources of vitamin B12.

Red meat

Not ready for pan-fried liver? A serving of lean chuck beef has about five or six micrograms of vitamin B12, which is the minimum to get your recommended daily allowance.

Lamb chops are also good; they provide half of a day’s worth of vitamin B12.

Milk and eggs

If you follow a vegetarian diet, then it’s important to include lots of dairy foods into your daily diet in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency. One cup of nonfat yogurt delivers 25% of the RDA for vitamin B12, while the same amount of Swiss cheese brings you to 60 per cent.

Chicken eggs are not the best source of vitamin B12; one egg yields 36mcg of vitamin B12, or 6% RDA. Comparatively, one duck egg provides 63% RDA of vitamin B12. And if you can get your hands on a goose egg, then you’ll get 122% of the recommended amount of vitamin B12 in one serving!

Please tell us…

Do you eat any of these foods that are highest in vitamin B12? If you follow a vegan diet, then do you supplement with vitamin B12 in order to prevent deficiency?

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:

Five Fat-Burning Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

Benefits and Sources of Vitamin B12, and How to Avoid Deficiency

The DASH Diet: Good Source of B12?

Image courtesy of jiggoja/freedigitalphotos

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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Stomach Bloating from B12 Deficiency? Yes, It Happens.

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

 

 

If you suffer from constant lot of stomach bloating and other signs of indigestion, it can be linked to vitamin B12 deficiency. Your ability to digest vitamin B12 and use it to prevent pernicious anemia can be traced directly to the environment in your gut. Symptoms of stomach bloating can be the first clue in distinguishing why you’re suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency, and how to prevent it.

Stomach Bloating from B12 Deficiency? Yes, It Happens.

Vitamin B12 malabsorption

When your digestive system is not working properly, then you’re not getting enough vitamin B12. That’s because unlike other vitamins, B12 cannot be absorbed from foods without the help of certain digestive enzymes that are produced by your parietal cells of the stomach.  

Gastritis (stomach inflammation) is one of several causes of vitamin B12 malabsorption.

So even though you eat plenty of meat, chicken, and fish, you aren’t getting the vitamin B12 you need in order to survive. And it all stems from your gastrointestinal health.

What Causes Vitamin B12 Malabsorption?

Pernicious anemia occurs in the stomach

Intrinsic factor is one such protein that your body needs, both to extract cobalamin (vitamin B12) from food and to utilize it efficiently so that it reaches your blood stream.

But with digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease, or if there is any type of damage to your esophagus, stomach walls, or intestinal tract, then you run a high risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, and possibly pernicious anemia.

So while people assume that pernicious anemia is a blood disease, it really begins in the stomach, with bloating, acid reflux, and heartburn.

Symptoms of stomach disorders

The following symptoms, if they occur often, may indicate a breakdown in your digestive system that requires immediate treatment in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency and many other ailments:

  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Stomach bloating
  • Hardening of the stomach
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • “Lump” in your throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Frequent burping
  • Flatulence

IBD or IBS- What’s the Difference in a Tummy Ache?

Comorbid illnesses

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are comorbid with vitamin B12 deficiency, as are many other autoimmune disorders and chronic pain conditions.

The following illnesses and health problems cause damage to the stomach that may also lead to vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Migraines
  • Celiac disease
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Diverticulitis
  • Esophageal stricture

Please tell us…

Have you been experiencing stomach bloating and other signs of digestive disorders, but didn’t realize they were connected to vitamin B12 deficiency?

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

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If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency Caused by H. Pylori Infection

Here’s your Crohn’s Disease Survival Kit

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency Caused by H. Pylori Infection

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Vitamin B12 deficiency and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria are linked in several studies as having a strong causative correlation with each other. Even in people without gastritis or other digestive problems, scientists have detected H. pylori bacteria in more than half of patients suffering from pernicious anemia due to untreated vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Caused by H. Pylori Infection

H. pylori causes vitamin B12 deficiency

H. pylori bacteria damages parietal cells needed to produce intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme which helps to absorb vitamin B12 from the foods we eat.

There are many causes of vitamin B12 deficiency, and if you live in a developed country, then you can probably overrule H. pylori infection.

Still, the numbers add up; about half of the world’s population is carriers of these harmful bacteria, so it’s a good idea to check this one off your list of possible causes of vitamin B12 deficiency.

In a Turkish study on vitamin B12 deficiency and H. pylori, researchers studied 138 patients with pernicious anemia, and discovered the H. pylori infection in 56% of vitamin B12 deficiency sufferers.

Furthermore, removing the bacteria resulted in higher vitamin B12 levels in 40% of afflicted patients, proving that the helicobacter pylori infection can cause vitamin B12 deficiency.

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

In a study based in Pakistan and published by the World Applied Sciences Journal, vitamin B12 deficiency was observed in nearly half of test subjects afflicted with H. Pylori.

In another study, H. pylori has been detected in nearly 78% of people suffering from severe vitamin B12 deficiency, compared with 44% of test subjects with normal healthy levels of vitamin B12.

Who gets H. pylori?

According to studies, H. pylori infections affect more than half of the world’s population, though about 80% will never notice the symptoms.

Still, H. pylori as a cause of vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in developed countries where it is not a high risk factor.

H. pylori infection is recognized as a public health problem, and is often associated with stomach ulcers.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Invisible Epidemic!

H. pylori bacteria can be spread through contaminated food, saliva, vomit, and fecal matter.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of H. pylori also occur with vitamin B12 deficiency; this is not surprising, as gastric dysfunctions are common causes of vitamin B12 malabsorption.

Symptoms of H. pylori include:

  • Stomach pain, bloating
  • Frequent burping
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Black stools
  • Tar-like vomit

Treatment options

To treat vitamin B12 deficiency caused by H. pylori, it’s important to remove the bacteria while also boosting vitamin B12 levels.

Treatments include:

  • Probiotics (beneficial bacteria)
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Antibiotics
  • Acid suppression
  • Intense vitamin B12 supplementation

Please tell us…

Have you been tested for H. pylori with vitamin B12 deficiency?

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 Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Genetic Mutation?

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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

Sources:

Helicobacter pylori: A Cause of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Impact of Helicobacter pylori on the development of vitamin B12 deficiency in the absence of gastric atrophy

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