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Posts Tagged ‘type 2 diabetes’

Type 2 Diabetes and Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Are you at Risk?

Monday, January 2nd, 2012



If you have type 2 diabetes, your chances of developing vitamin B12 deficiency are greater than those of non-diabetics.  That’s because metformin, a popular drug for diabetes interferes with vitamin B12 absorption, causing severe B12 deficiency.  Other causes of vitamin B12 deficiency include pernicious anemia, bariatric surgery, and gastrointestinal disorders.


Vitamin B12- Cobalamin

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that occurs naturally in protein-based foods, including beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese.  It is one of a group of B vitamins (B complex).  Vitamin B12 performs many crucial functions for your body:

  • Vitamin B12 aids in producing red blood cells
  • Vitamin B12 protects your nervous system
  • Vitamin B12 is required for DNA synthesis
  • Vitamin B12 lowers homocysteine levels, thus reducing your risk for heart attack and stroke
  • Vitamin B12 helps your body convert fat to energy


Metformin- its effect on B12 levels

Metformin, a hypoglycemic drug for treating type 2 diabetes, interferes with your body’s ability to digest vitamin B12.  According to numerous studies, up to 30% of diabetics who take metformin suffer the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency. 

Researchers believe that metformin may hinder the production of intrinsic factor, a protein your body uses to grab vitamin B12 from food sources and absorb it into the bloodstream. 

Other suggestions for metformin’s link with B12 deficiency include possible bacterial overgrowth and hindered movement of the small intestines.

Brain Drain Medications- Drugs that Drain the B12 out of you


How much vitamin B12 do you need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin B12 varies by age, and applies to healthy individuals:

  • Infants: .4 mcg to .5 mcg
  • Toddlers: .9 mcg
  • Children, 4-8 yrs. of age: 1.2 mcg
  • Children, 9-13 yrs. of age: 1.8 mcg
  • Adult males: 2.4 mcg
  • Adult females (not pregnant or lactating): 2.4 mcg
  • Pregnant females: 2.6 mcg
  • Lactating females: 2.8 mcg

Diabetics, Take Heed

People suffering from chronic illness may opt to take much higher doses.

People who benefit from larger doses of vitamin B12 include:

  • Elderly individuals
  • People with pernicious anemia
  • People taking proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux or stomach ulcers
  • People with gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease
  • Diabetics taking metformin

Diabetics need even more B12

According to a recent 7-year survey, type 2 diabetics taking metformin may require higher doses of vitamin B12 than originally believed in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency, as the current RDA (2.5 mcg) is not sufficient.

  • Of the survey participants who took metformin for type 2 diabetes, 5.8% had vitamin B12 deficiency- low B12 levels in the blood.
  • Only 2.4% of diabetics not taking metformin had low levels of vitamin B12.
  • About 3.3% of test subjects who did not have diabetes showed signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • For diabetics, taking oral vitamin B12 supplements did not affect their B12 levels, nor did it affect the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • When intestinal disorders interfere with B12 absorption, the only other method for supplementing vitamin B12 is directly through the bloodstream.

Type 2 Diabetes Often Undetected- Do You Have These Symptoms?


Do you have vitamin B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is diagnosed through blood testing.  However, many of the signs of B12 deficiency may be masked by other prevailing ailments, so it’s important to know the symptoms.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Mental confusion, “brain fog”
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Painful numbness in hand and feet, “tingling” sensations
  • Poor motor coordination
  • Clumsiness, stumbling
  • Sore tongue
  • Altered taste perception
  • Eye twitches

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency could result in severe nerve damage, early-onset dementia, increased risk for heart attack and stroke, and death.

Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency:

Painful Tingling in Hands and Feet- What’s Up with That?

Diabetics, Put On Your Walking Shoes


Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12

Association of Biochemical B12 Deficiency With Metformin Therapy and Vitamin B12 Supplements: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2006- PubMed, NCBI

Image credits, from top:

Jon McGovern, Wikipedia, lgringospain, Pink Sherbet Photography

Hot Celebs with Diabetes: How They Manage

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Almost 26 million people in the US have been diagnosed with diabetes. Occasionally, diabetics feel bogged down by this life-long disease, believing that they cannot lead productive lives.  Young diabetics might think that wearing their insulin pump is “not cool.”  But ignoring the symptoms of diabetes can lead to serious complications like vitamin B12 deficiency, blindness, kidney failure, stroke, coma and worse case scenario- death.

Here are some celebrities with diabetes who haven’t let diabetes get in their way:

Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas, tween pop star of the Jonas Brothers was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2005, after experience commons symptoms of diabetes like irritability, thirst and rapid weight loss.  Nick Jonas never leaves the house without his insulin pump. and frequently donates his time to diabetes-related funding and research.

His message to doting  tween-aged fans who’ve been diagnosed with diabetes- “Don’t let it slow you down at all. I made a promise to myself on the way to the hospital that I wouldn’t let this thing slow me down, and I’d just keep moving forward, and that’s what I did. Just keep a positive attitude and keep moving forward with it. Don’t be discouraged.”

Halle Berry

X-Men star, Halle Berry, says she has battled with type 1 diabetes since she was a child; she goes on to say that she has since weaned herself off insulin through diet and exercise, and now only has type 2 diabetes…well, we don’t know about that.  Diabetes experts have responded that it is not physically possible for type 1 diabetics to survive without taking their insulin, and it would be suicide to try.

Brett Michaels

Lead singer of Poison and reality-tv star Brett Michaels has spoken openly about his type 1 diabetes in an interview with Diabetes Health magazine., saying that he has been battling with his diabetes since being diagnosed at the age of 6.  Brett Michaels was hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy, which was followed up several weeks later by a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Tommy Lee

Motley Crue drummer and ex-husband of both Pamela Anderson and Heather Locklear Tommy Lee was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  His famous tattoos inspired a line of t-shirs and jeans manufactured by People’s Liberation, who also sells a line of clothing inspired by Justin Timberlake.

Elliot Yamin

This American Idol contestant placed 3rd in 2006; his 2007 album, Elliot Yamin, hit number 1 on the  Billboard Independent Albums chart.  Believe it or not, he had an eardrum replacement at the age of 13. Elliot Yamin currently wears an insulin pump to manage his type 1 diabetes.

Sharon Stone

Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone suffered a stroke on the set back in 2001; her doctors chalked it up to a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Sharon Stone, a fellow diabetic, often does fundraisers for the Carousel of Hope, which raises millions of dollars every year towards childhood diabetes research.

Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams was the first African-American to be crowned Miss America, and went on to rock the charts with songs like Save the Best for Last. Vanessa Williams is also diabetic.

Nicole Johnson

Another former Miss America, Nicole Johnson also suffers from diabetes.


Examiner.com, USA Today, ABC News, MSN

Type 2 Diabetes Often Undetected- Do You Have These Symptoms?

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

As reported by the Huffington Post, type 2 diabetes is on the rise, and many people who have it don’t even know it.

The following symptoms of type 2 diabetes are often misdiagnosed as old age, fatigue, stress or eating disorder:

  • Decreased energy
  • Weight gain
  • Insatiable need for carbohydrates
  • Increased appetite

Over 7 million people in the US are unaware that they suffer from type 2 diabetes.

The warning signs of type 2 diabetes tend to accumulate gradually, so many diabetics who are unaware of their condition chalk it up to old age or stress. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8.3 % of us have type 2 diabetes; that’s almost 26 million Americans.

What you can do about it:

  • Get yearly check-ups. Every year your physician should perform the following  tests to monitor your blood sugar levels:

Glucose blood test- a standard fast followed by a blood test to check blood sugar. A healthy level is under 95.

Glycosylated hemoglobin A1C test. This is a blood test which reveals your blood sugar levels over the previous three months. A healthy diagnosis is anywhere between 4 and 6.

Triglyceride levels- your doctor should also include this test as part of your cholesterol monitoring. A triglyceride level over 200 could indicate the onset of type 2 diabetes.

  • Keep a food journal. You might be unconsciously craving  carbs, which could mean an unhealthy response to insulin.
  • Keep track of your waist size. A large waist circumference is often indicative of a diabetic condition; men with a waist size of over 40 inches and women over 35 inches should visit a doctor and be checked for type 2 diabetes.
  • Include more vitamin B12-rich proteins in your diet, in addition to plant-based carbohydrates.
  • Exercise regularly. Type 2 diabetes is often a result of excess weight gain, so stay fit by lifting weights and walking or jogging every day.



Diabetics, Put On Your Walking Shoes

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Jan 15, 2010- A study recently published in BMJ reveals that walking may be helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes.

An Australian study, in an attempt to research causes of diabetes and ways in which we might prevent diabetes’ symptoms, made the following discovery: walking ten thousand steps per day not only guarantees weight loss but also prevents the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Of the 592 middle-aged test subjects who were studied over a period of five years, it was the ones who had managed to incorporate at least 10,000 footsteps into their daily routine who demonstrated the lowest body mass index and optimal sensitivity to insulin out of all other volunteers.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to utilize the hormone insulin efficiently.  Although age, stress and heredity may be factors in developing type 2 diabetes, obesity is the leading cause.  Over 80% of patients who have type 2 diabetes are clinically overweight.

How does walking help to prevent diabetes?

  • Exercise regulates glucose levels by helping your muscles absorb sugar more efficiently, thus avoiding a sudden excess of sugar in the bloodstream.
  • Walking induces weight loss, another important factor in avoiding diabetes. 
  • Light cardiovascular workouts such as walking are essential for avoiding heart disease, which has a high correlation to diabetes.
  • A Half-hour of walking per day is recommended for maximum benefit, as well as adherence to a strict low-fat diet.

Care to take the 10,000-step challenge?

Here are some necessary tools to get you on your way:

  • The Omron HJ-112 digital pedometer can be hooked onto your belt or underclothes and silently calculates steps, distance, burned calories and has a 7-day memory.
  • Sportline’s 344 Talking Safety Alarm tells you how you’re doing and will also send out an alert if medical assistance is needed.  Great for heart patients.
  • Yamax SW-200 Digiwalker pedometer is simple to use and does exactly what it was designed to do- count steps efficiently.
  • Many New Balance walking shoes for women feature an innovatively curved sole which is designed to help you achieve maximum performance during your walking workout.
  • Asics GEL running shoes for men provide cushioned support for greater comfort and reduced injury.
  • Many shoe stores offer diabetic walking shoes which are tailored to meet the medical needs of diabetics


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