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Posts Tagged ‘prevent vitamin B12 deficiency’

Prevent Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Beyond Nutrition

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012



It seems like it should be easy to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency. Feeling tired, tingly, and numb? No problem. Just take a few vitamin B12 pills until you get your energy back.  Unfortunately, for many, preventing vitamin B12 deficiency, i.e. pernicious anemia, is a lifelong dilemma that produces many serious health concerns.

Prevent Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Beyond Nutrition- B12 Patch

Vitamin B12- cobalamin

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a crucial nutrient that is involved with many biochemical reactions in your body. Part of the B-complex set of vitamins, vitamin B12 helps to maintain normal energy levels while also supporting a healthy nervous system.

Vitamin B12 is also essential for producing red blood cells and controlling homocysteine, a hormone linked with increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk. Healthy individuals may prevent vitamin B12 deficiency by including lean beef, chicken, turkey, organ meats, seafood, and cheeses in their daily diet.

Since plant-based sources of vitamin B12 are scarce, doctors advise individuals following a strict vegan diet to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency by supplementing with daily vitamin B12 pills.

Vitamin B12 deficiency causes

Even if you are a meat-eater, you may be at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. There are many factors- lifestyle choices or illnesses- that impair your body’s ability to digest vitamin B12 naturally from the foods that you eat.

Vitamin B12 malabsorption (inability to digest vitamin B12) is a common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency in people who consume sufficient amounts of dietary vitamin B12, either from food sources or nutritional supplements.

You may be unable to absorb vitamin B12 if you meet any of the following risk factors:

  • You have had a gastric bypass
  • You have had an ileostomy
  • You take metformin for diabetes
  • You take protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) for GERD
  • You suffer at least one autoimmune disorder
  • You vomit frequently
  • You have Crohn’s disease
  • You suffer from alcoholism
  • You are a senior citizen
  • You suffer from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, celiac disease, or lupus
  • You have a family history for pernicious anemia

Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia

Pernicious anemia is one of the most common causes of vitamin B12 deficiency.

A type of megaloblastic anemia, pernicious anemia occurs when your body is unable to produce intrinsic factor, a necessary digestive enzyme for absorbing vitamin B12.

There are two causes of vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia: gastritis and intrinsic factor autoimmune disorder.

Also read: Diagnosing Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Pernicious Anemia: Top 10 Tests

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms

Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include severe fatigue, brain fog, depression, anxiety, and pain or numbness in the extremities, including your hands, feet, fingers, toes, and tongue.

Unless prevented, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause severe neurological damage and (rarely) death.

Also read: What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia- B12 deficiency?

Can I prevent vitamin B12 deficiency?

If you have vitamin B12 deficiency caused by an autoimmune disorder, then there is no prevention. It is important to confirm the presence of the intrinsic factor antibody by taking a blood test. Routine vitamin B12 screenings are necessary in order to manage cobalamin levels and prevent debilitating symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

For treating pernicious anemia and preventing vitamin B12 deficiency, you will need to take lifelong vitamin B12 supplements in a non-dietary form. These include vitamin B12 shots, sublingual tablets, or other over-the-counter (OTC) types of nonedible vitamin B12.

To prevent other types of vitamin B12, it is crucial to treat the underlying condition that is inhibiting vitamin B12 absorption.

Often, dieting, exercise, and vitamin supplementation are effective measures against obesity, diabetes, and gastrointestinal problems. By incorporating natural, alternative medicine into your daily routine, you may avoid the need for harmful pharmaceuticals or invasive surgeries that often lead to nutritional deficiencies and other health ailments.

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Like this? Read more:

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Prevent a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Anemia – B12 deficiency

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“I’ve heard of the X Factor and Fear Factor…But what’s Intrinsic Factor?”

Sunday, May 15th, 2011



What is intrinsic factor, and how does it affect my vitamin B12 levels? Here are some facts about digesting vitamin B12 wit intrinsic factor, and why you might not be.

“I’ve heard of the X Factor and Fear Factor…But what’s Intrinsic Factor?” www.b12patch.com “I’ve heard of the X Factor and Fear Factor…But what’s Intrinsic Factor?” www.b12patch.com

No, it’s not a new television show about bonding with your inner child-

Intrinsic factor is an essential antibody which allows you to bond with vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is found in many high protein foods, but unless you have intrinsic factor your body isn’t able to grab the B vitamins needed to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.

“Does my body really need vitamin B12? Aren’t all B vitamins alike?”


Many of the B vitamins complement each other, but each has its own specific task.

Vitamin B12 has some very important duties which are vital for your survival. If your body doesn’t get sufficient vitamin B12, then it will be unable to perform some of these essential functions.

Vitamin B12 is crucial for:

  • Maintaining the myelin sheathe which protects nerve cells, such as those in our hands, mouth and feet
  • Directing brain-to-body communication through neuron activity
  • Curbing homocysteine levels, which are linked with increased risk for heart attack or stroke
  • Producing red blood cells needed to carry oxygen throughout the body and protect the immune system
  • DNA synthesis
  • Supporting memory retention in people with early signs of age-related dementia

“Which foods are high in vitamin B12?”

Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in food sources which are high in protein. The foods that have high levels of B12 are:

  • Meat, including lean beef chuck, veal and liver.
  • Poultry, such as boneless chicken or turkey breast
  • Fish, including salmon, tuna and halibut
  • Shellfish, particularly crabmeat, clams, oysters and mussels
  • Dairy products, including Swiss cheese, yogurt and milk.
  • Eggs

Vegans are urged to take daily vitamin B12 supplements in order to prevent vitamin deficiency, as their diet specifically excludes food sources which are rich in vitamin B12.

Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Three Reasons Why You Might Not Be

“Okay. So, I eat plenty of protein foods. Do I still need to worry about vitamin B12 deficiency?”

Yes.  Individuals who lack intrinsic factor are unable to properly digest B12 naturally from foods and risk becoming severely deficient in vitamin B12. Some people don’t realize they have low B12 levels until they start experiencing some the characteristic symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. These include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Occasional dizziness
  • Difficulty with balance and coordination
  • Altered taste perception
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet

Left unchecked, severe vitamin B12 deficiency
could lead to irreversible neurological damage,
heart attack, or stroke.

“I’ve heard of the X Factor and Fear Factor…But what’s Intrinsic Factor?” www.b12patch.com “I’ve heard of the X Factor and Fear Factor…But what’s Intrinsic Factor?” www.b12patch.com

“How can I find out if I’m suffering from B12 deficiency?”

The only way to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency is through a blood screening. Some physicians don’t include vitamin B12 blood testing with yearly checkups, so it’s important to ask your doctor to check your vitamin B12 levels in order to avoid deficiency. Chronic B12 deficiency patients are advised to get their B12 levels checked on a regular basis. Also read: Worried about Low B12 Lab Results?

“Which people are at risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency?”

There are many individuals who must supplement with B12 vitamins, either because they don’t have the intrinsic factor hormone, or because they lack the stomach acids needed to utilize vitamins such as B12; these include gastric bypass patients, people who take regular antacid medication for heartburn or individuals with autoimmune or gastrointestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or AIDS. Other individuals who must take regular vitamin B12 supplements are vegans, strict vegetarians and diabetics who take metformin.

“What kinds of vitamin B12 supplements are available?”

There are several forms of vitamin B12 supplementation; these include:

  • Vitamin B12 injections. For treating chronic B12 deficiency, physicians will often prescribe routine B12 shots. These injections are painful, as they must be inserted in the dense muscular flesh below the buttocks. Some patients are given one round of vitamin B12 shots once per week, for 3-4 weeks, while others with severe vitamin B12 deficiency require a more extended regimen of B12 injections.
  • Sublingual vitamin B12 tablets. These are dissolvable pills which are placed under the tongue. Physicians might recommend daily B12 pills as a preventative measure against vitamin B12 deficiency. Some questions have been raised as to the effectiveness of B12 pills, and there are reports that sublingual B12 tablets aren’t absorbed efficiently enough to prevent long-term vitamin B12 deficiency.

Read more about the risks associated with vitamin B12 deficiency:

B12 Deficiency: Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

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