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Posts Tagged ‘Tingling in hands and feet’

Why do my Arms and Legs often Fall Asleep? B12 and Paresthesia

Monday, November 28th, 2011



So you’re sitting at your desk, and suddenly your legs fall asleep.  You try to shake it off, but that annoying numbness and tingling sensation just doesn’t want to leave without a fight.  Paresthesia, a neuropathic ailment often associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, causes “pins and needles,” numbness, and painful burning in your hands, arms, feet, and legs.


What are the symptoms of paresthesia?

Paresthesia causes numbness and tingling sensations, primarily in your hands, arms, feet, and legs.  People who experience paresthesia say they feel like their legs or arms are “falling asleep.” Others describe it as a burning pain in one or more limbs, “pins and needles,” or severe itching.

Is paresthesia serious?

Sometimes, paresthesia happens as a response to hyperventilating, anxiety, or just putting too much pressure on one nerve for too long.

Other times, paresthesia occurs as part of a chronic condition, and the only way to put an end to the constant numbness and prickling sensations is to find out what is causing your symptoms, and the best way to treat it.


What causes your arms or legs to “fall asleep?”

Many chronic conditions, illnesses, or drug interactions can cause neuropathic pain symptoms such as paresthesia.

Vitamin B12 deficiency: Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet are usually the first symptoms noticed by sufferers of vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia.

Vitamin B12 protects the myelin sheath, the fatty layer that protects your peripheral nerves.  Left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency causes damage to the nervous system, resulting in peripheral neuropathy.

In addition to limbs falling asleep, other symptoms of B12 deficiency are loss of fine motor control, trouble walking, fatigue, memory loss, “brain fog,” depression, disorientation, anxiety, insomnia, stomach upset, breathlessness, loss of appetite, and hallucinations.  

Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Are you at Risk?

WHY DO MY ARMS AND LEGS OFTEN FALL ASLEEP? B12 AND PARESTHESIA, WWW.B12PATCH.COMNerve damage: Other types of nerve damage result from Lyme disease and frostbite.

Elderly individuals suffer from paresthesia caused by vitamin deficiency, in addition to poor circulation in the arms and legs, or peripheral vascular disease (PVD).

Arthritis: Various types of arthritis cause neuropathic pain symptoms similar to paresthesia, in addition to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Autoimmune diseases: Lupus, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS) sometimes cause chronic paresthesia.
Migraines: If you get migraine attacks, then you might also experience frequent pins and needles, or legs falling asleep.
Seizures and stroke are correlated with paresthesia.
Shingles: symptoms include numbness, tingling, and burning sensations in the skin.
Drugs: Drug interactions that may cause paresthesia symptoms are beta-blockers, beta-alanines, anticonvulsants, narcotics, opiates, and Lomotil.

Also read: Brain Drain Medications- Drugs that Drain the B12 out of you


    How do you get rid of numbness and tingling?

    The quicker you get your blood flowing to your extremities, the sooner you will start to feel relief.  As soon as you feel your arms or legs starting to fall asleep or feel tingly, do one or all of the following:

    • 1- Pump your arms.
    • 2- Clench and unclench your fists.
    • 3- Kick your legs.
    • 4- Walk it off.
    • 5- Stand up, holding onto a chair or wall for support.  Put all your weight on the foot that is falling asleep, rise up on your tiptoes, and then lower to the ball of your foot.  Repeat the movement, pumping up and down, without resting the heel on the floor, until pain goes away.
    • 6- Massage hands, arms, legs, or feet gently.


    These are helpful tips for temporarily relieving paresthesia. However, if you experience numbness, tingling, burning, or other painful symptoms frequently, then it is crucial to visit a doctor.  A blood test will determine if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, or one of many other likely conditions.

    Read more about vitamin B12:

    Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Are you at Risk?

    Multiple Sclerosis and Vitamin B12 Deficiency



    Numbness and tingling: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

    What makes your arms, legs and feet fall asleep?

    Image credits, from top:

    Alex HolzknechtTeleyinex, Zabowski, Josiah Mackenzie, healingdream

    Balance your B12, Balance your Nerves

    Friday, November 4th, 2011



    If you’re having trouble finding balance, B12 deficiency might be the culprit.  Symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency- dizziness and nerve damage like ataxia (unsteady gait, difficulty keeping balance), and numbness or tingling in hands and feet require B12 supplements.


    Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms

    Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in all meat, cheese, and egg products, but if you are one of millions of people who cannot absorb B12 efficiently, then you will start feeling symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.  Some common emotional and cognitive signs of B12 deficiency are:

    • BALANCE YOUR B12, BALANCE YOUR NERVES, WWW.B12PATCH.COMChronic fatigue, sleepiness
    • Memory loss
    • Confusion
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Aggressiveness
    • Paranoia
    • Psychoses
    • Dementia

    Nerve damage caused by B12 deficiency

    In addition to psychiatric symptoms, vitamin B12 deficiency causes severe damage to your nerves, notably subacute combined degeneration (SCD) of the spinal cord- a severe neurological disorder caused by B-12 deficiency.  SCD causes damage in your spinal cord, brain, and peripheral nerves, beginning with the myelin sheathe.

    BALANCE YOUR B12, BALANCE YOUR NERVES, WWW.B12PATCH.COM1- The myelin sheathe- your nervous system’s “ozone layer”
    The myelin sheath is a protective covering that surrounds many of your nerves, providing a shield from potential danger.  The myelin sheathe also accelerates communication between your nerves and your many bodily sensors (hands, feet, tongue, nose, eyes).  Vitamin B12 aids your body in maintaining this essential protective mechanism, and low levels of B12 often result in a breakdown of the myelin sheathe.  

    2- Communication breakdown

    The nerves of your spinal cord rely on a steady inflow of information from your nerve sensors throughout your body.  Messages from the nerves in your legs, for example, flow along the spinal cord and to the brain, thus controlling movements like running, walking, skipping, and tapping your feet.  Nerve damage causes these signals to become misinterpreted, resulting in poor coordination, or gait ataxia.


    3- Gait ataxia- taking the spring out of your step

    A typical sign of abnormal neurological behavior resulting from B12 deficiency is gait ataxia, which is difficulty walking.  Gait ataxia is also one of the symptoms of pernicious anemia, red blood cell disease associated with prolonged vitamin B-12 deficiency.  Symptoms of gait ataxia are:

    • Unsteady gait, difficulty walking without stumbling
    • Difficulty staying balanced on one leg
    • Trembling awkward movements, clumsiness
    • Muscular weakness in the legs and arms
    • Spasticity
    • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
    • Vision problems, blurriness

    4- Paresthesias- “pins and needles” and numbness sensations

    An early sign of nerve damage related to vitamin B12 cobalamin deficiency is paresthesias, resulting in numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.  Paresthesias is a kind of peripheral neuropathy that affects the peripheral nerves that run along your spinal cord and to your extremities, thus causing that pins and needles sensation that you often feel in your hands and feet.


    Do you have vitamin B12 deficiency?  Go ask a hematologist.

    The only way to determine if you are indeed suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency is by getting a blood test.  If a physician diagnoses you with dangerously low levels of B12, then he may recommend B12 injections, which will require a prescription.


  • Vitamin B12- How much do you need?
  • Absorbing Vitamin B12, a Metabolic Gastrointestinal Journey
  • Sources:

    Image credits, from top:

    6 Degrees of Vitamin B12- B12 Deficiency and Autoimmune Disease

    Thursday, October 20th, 2011



    Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked with so many types of autoimmune disease; it’s almost like the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Guess what vitamin B12, IBS, cardiovascular disease, and many kinds ofchronic disease have in common…

    B12 deficiency- why worry?

    Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient, one of many B vitamins, that is crucial for optimum health. If you don’t get enough vitamin B12 from meat, chicken, fish, and eggs, from B12 shots, then you could suffer severe vitamin B12 deficiency, which includes symptoms such as short-term memory loss, tingling in hands and feet, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression.  People who are at risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency are vegans, patients of gastric bypass surgery, diabetes sufferers, individuals on heartburn medicine, and anybody with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Vitamin B12 deficiency is also linked with many autoimmune diseases.

    Worried about Low B12 Lab Results?

    Here are 12 illnesses that are“6 degrees” away from vitamin B12 deficiency:

    1) Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

    Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a digestive disease that includes illnesses such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of many IBD symptoms, such as chronic diarrhea, stomach cramping, nausea, heartburn, and constipation.  IBD can cause severe damage to the intestines, including the colon. People with inflammatory bowel disease have difficulty digesting vitamins and minerals from food, which is why they must take regular vitamin supplements. Because their illness occurs in the digestive system, many IBD patients take vitamin B12 shots in order to avoid B12 deficiency, as vitamin B12 pills are ineffective.

    Crohn’s- 9 Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) Myths to Ignore

    2) Celiac disease

    Celiacs disease is an autoimmune disease that attacks the digestive system with the consumption of gluten.  Celiac disease symptoms include indigestion, diarrhea, malnourishment, and nausea.  Gluten intolerance symptoms occur whenever a celiac disease patient consumes a product containing gluten, a protein that occurs in wheat, rye, and barley.  Because of their difficulty digesting vitamins, celiac disease sufferers should supplement regularly with non-oral forms of vitamin B12.

    Celiac Disease Tip: Gluten Free Diet plus Extra Vitamin B12

    3) Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)

    Auto [fibromyalgia symptoms] [symptoms of fibromyalgia]

    Fibromyalgia symptoms strike 1 in 50 Americans.  Many people don’t realize that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease.  Symptoms of fibromyalgia include chronic pain, fatigue, depression, insomnia, and “fibro fog” (disorientation).  Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia also exhibit signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.

    Fibromyalgia FAQs- 6 Need-to-Know Fibro Facts

    4) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is another autoimmune disease, similar to fibromyalgia, which is closely linked with vitamin B12 deficiency. Scientists have noted an extremely high correlation between all three conditions- fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and B12 deficiency.  Symptoms of CFS are extreme tiredness upon waking up in the morning, fatigue following minimal physical exertion, achy joints, and fibro fog.

    40 Things NOT to say to a Fibromyalgia-Chronic Fatigue Sufferer

    5) Diabetes

    Diabetics who take the drug metformin are susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency, say scientists. Scientific studies linking low B12 levels with long-term usage of metformin indicate a 77% chance of developing peripheral neuropathy.

    New Study: Diabetes Drug Metformin Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    6) Psychiatric disorders

    [clinical depression] [anxiety disorder]

    Some symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are often misdiagnosed as psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorder, manic depression, or paranoia.

    Vitamin Deficiencies can drive you Crazy- Seriously! Part 1

    7) Heartburn

    Stomach acids are essential for digesting vitamin B12 naturally from food sources.  That is why people who take heartburn medication frequently, such as people with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or pregnant women, must take care to avoid B12 deficiency.

    The 20 Do’s and Don’ts of the GERD Diet

    8) Gastric bypass

    Some weight loss surgery procedures involve removing the terminal ilium, a part of the digestive system that is responsible for absorbing vitamin B12. For that reason, patients of bariatric surgery are strongly advised to supplement with non-oral vitamin B12.

    10 Mistakes Gastric Bypass Patients Often Make

    9) Pernicious anemia

    Sometimes, vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by pernicious anemia, a condition that distorts your red blood cells and inhibits absorption of vitamin B12. Causes of pernicious anemia include autoimmune disease and gastritis.

    Signs and Symptoms of 6 Types of Anemia Blood Disease

    10) Cardiovascular disease

    Vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate all work together in lowering your body’s level of homocysteine; an amino acid that scientists believe may contribute to heart disease and stroke.

    B Vitamins prevent Cardiovascular Disease- B6, B12 and Folate

    11) Thyroid disease

    Autoimmune thyroid disease, also called Hashimoto’s disease, is an autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland.  There is an unusually high correlation between instances of autoimmune thyroid disease and pernicious anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. Because some of the symptoms of thyroid disease mimic pernicious anemia, many doctors overlook the possibility of vitamin B12 deficiency.

    12) Dementia

    Vitamin B12 helps to sustain cognitive health. In many studies, scientists have noticed that elderly individuals with low levels of B12 are more likely to suffer from early onset dementia than elderly individuals who maintain adequate levels of vitamin B12.

    How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain


    American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.

    Prevalence and evaluation of B12 deficiency in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease- PubMed NCBI

    Peripheral neuropathy- Mayo Clinic

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