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Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia’
The risk for pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency is highest among the elderly, but a significant number of people begin to notice the first symptoms in their 30s, contrary to popular belief. Listed below are some common symptoms of pernicious anemia and explanations regarding your risk for developing pernicious anemia in middle age.
What is pernicious anemia?
Pernicious anemia is the final stage of vitamin B12 deficiency. Pernicious anemia used to be fatal until scientists figured out that death could be easily prevented by feeding patients high concentrations of Vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 deficiency causes many debilitating health problems, including chronic fatigue, lethargy, weakness, memory loss and neurological and psychiatric problems – long before pernicious anemia sets in. These symptoms can be quite misleading, leading to incorrect diagnoses.
Autoimmune disease and immune dysregulation (unregulated immune response)
Male and female infertility
These diseases produce signs and symptoms that also occur with vitamin B12 deficiency – but are rarely diagnosed as such!
Pernicious anemia risk categories
The following groups are at greatest risk for vitamin B12 deficiency-pernicious anemia:
Anybody with a family history for autoimmune disorders or pernicious anemia
Vegetarians and vegans
People aged 60 or over
GERD patients using PPIs or acid suppressing drugs
Diabetics using drugs like metformin
Patients of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac or IBS
Women with a history of infertility and miscarriage
Vegetarians and Vegans take note: Vitamin B12 is found ONLY in animal products! To prevent pernicious anemia, it is absolutely essential that you supplement with high doses of vitamin B12.
Treating pernicious anemia
If you think you might have a vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia, you should pursue blood testing immediately. If you are vitamin B12 deficient, then the next step would be to identify the source of the deficiency.
Once the source of vitamin B12 deficiency is identified, you can then begin vitamin B12 supplementation. The many, long-term or permanent vitamin B12 supplementation is required in order to prevent a relapse of symptoms.
Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please leave your comments below.
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Gastritis, the wearing down of your stomach lining, is sometimes caused by vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia. Other illnesses or conditions related to chronic acid reflux, abdominal pain, bubbling indigestion, and stomach bloating from gastritis are listed below…
What is gastritis?
More than just a stomachache, gastritis is what happens when your stomach lining becomes severely damaged- worn away and inflamed. Gastritis can be a chronic condition that worsens over time, or it can be sudden, because of a stomach infection.
Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your stomach is unable to produce intrinsic factor, a necessary protein for digesting vitamin B12.
While some health sites claim that pernicious anemia causes gastritis, it is most likely the other way around. Stomach damage from gastritis causes you to be unable to make intrinsic factor in the small intestine’s ileum.
Without intrinsic factor, you develop vitamin B12 deficiency, which causes symptoms like fatigue, depression, anxiety, painful tingling in your hands and feet, and many kinds of nerve damage.
Excessive alcohol use can, over time, cause severe damage to your many body organs, including your stomach. Gastritis and vitamin B12 deficiency are both caused by alcohol abuse.
4) Bile reflux
If bile from your liver rises into your stomach and esophagus, it can cause gastritis and esophageal damage. Only surgery can reverse bile reflux and protect you from incurring damage to your stomach.
Anxiety, depression, and daily stress are harmful for both your body and mind. Accumulated stress may cause gastritis from stomach ulcers.
Certain prescribed and OTC drugs can cause severe gastritis; these include sleeping pills and anti-inflammatory painkillers like aspirin.
7) Chronic vomiting
Gastritis may happen because of frequent vomiting from bulimia, migraines, or other chronic conditions that irritate the stomach.
8) Bacterial infection
Helicobacter pylorus (H. pylori) bacteria dwell in your stomach lining. Unless it is treated with antibiotics, bacterial infection from H. pylori may cause gastritis and stomach ulcers.
Vitamin B12 shots
Get routine supplementation of vitamin B12, which are available by prescription in vitamin B12 shots. In addition to the B12 injections, over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 is beneficial to boost vitamin B12 levels and prevent relapse symptoms like fatigue, nerve pain, and stomach cramps.
For chronic heartburn and gastritis, your doctor may prescribe strong antacids.
Please note that protein pump inhibitors (PPI’s) are a common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you choose to use PPI’s over an extended period, then you may need to supplement with vitamin B12 in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency.
In addition to taking medications for gastritis, a simple change in diet is also healthful when bloated stomach, acid reflux, heartburn, and abdominal pain occur. Avoid eating very spicy foods, choose healthy cooking oils, and take probiotics that contain “good bacteria.”
Learn to eat like the Italians! Sit down at every meal, practice mindful eating, and savor every bite slowly and deliberately. Chewing slowly and efficiently is essential for preventing gastritis symptoms like indigestion and nausea.
For gastritis caused by H. pylori infection, you will need to take a strong regimen of antibiotics and probiotics to prevent stomach irritation.
If gastritis is occurring because of a life-threatening condition, your doctor might recommend surgery to correct the disorder. Bile reflux patients and Crohn’s disease patients are candidates for gastrointestinal surgery.
If you feel fatigued, and suspect B12 deficiency, then see your doctor immediately. Before diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia, your doctor will run a vitamin B12 blood test for vitamin B12 levels in your blood, in addition to measuring your red blood cells and homocysteine levels. Here are ten tests still used today to diagnose vitamin B12 and pernicious anemia.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms:
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be difficult to catch, because it masks itself as many other conditions. Sometimes, B12 deficiency occurs as a secondary side effect of a primary illness like fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, or celiac disease. Other times, vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms are overlooked because of underlying conditions such as depression or diabetes.
The most common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia are:
Constant fatigue that is not relieved by sleep and does not result from overexertion
Aggressive behavior that is unusual
Difficulty focusing or paying attention
Forgetting words on “tip of tongue”
Forgetting numerical codes like phone numbers or PINs
Painful tingling and numbness in extremities (hands, feet, arms, and legs)
“Pins and needles”
Painful tingling or burning sensation in tongue and mouth
10 Tests that diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia
1)Serum vitamin B12 level: First, your physician will request a vitamin B12 blood test to determine if your vitamin B12 blood (cobalamin) levels are indeed low. Usually, if test results are positive, then vitamin B12 supplementationbegins immediately.
The vitamin B12 blood screening is the most important test for diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency, and if you respond well to vitamin B12 supplements, then further testing is not usually required.
However, if your doctor suspects pernicious anemia, then he might order one or more of the following additional tests:
2)Complete blood count (CBC): A blood test to screen the amount of red and white blood cells. With pernicious anemia, your red blood cells become engorged and misshapen, resulting in low distribution of red blood cells throughout your body.
3)Serum folate level: Many people who have vitamin B12 deficiency also are deficient in the B vitaminfolate.
4)Serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH): Your doctor might order a blood test measuring LDH levels.
5) Reticulocyte count: This test looks for reticulocytes (slightly immature red blood cells).
6) Homocysteine test: High homocysteine levels in your blood may indicate vitamin B12 deficiency, folate deficiency, or vitamin B6 deficiency.
7) Gastrin level: a test measuring the amount of the hormone gastrin in your blood may help doctors diagnose the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
8) Methylmalonic acid (MMA) test- With vitamin B12 deficiency, methylmalonic acid levels go up. The MMA test provides more proof of the existence of vitamin B12 deficiency.
9) Intrinsic factor antibody test: Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disorder in which sufferers are not able to product intrinsic factor, a necessary hormone for absorbing vitamin B12. Before diagnosing pernicious anemia, your doctor has to confirm the existence of an antibody in your system that inhibits intrinsic factor production, thereby causing vitamin B12 deficiency.
10) Bone marrow staining: Sometimes, your physician might require a bone marrow biopsy in order to determine other potential causes of pernicious anemia or general red blood cell disorders.
What about the Schilling test for vitamin B12 deficiency?
In the past, doctors have used the Schilling test to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency. The Schilling test involves swallowing harmless, radioactive doses of vitamin B12 and tracking its progress in your body. However, because it involves fasting and the use of low-dose radiation, and because it may cause side effects like nausea, the Schilling test is rarely used.
Schilling test—a test in which a harmless amount of radiation is used to assess whether a vitamin B12 deficiency exists (rarely used)
Vitamin B12 supplementation
Once diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, your doctor will likely prescribe vitamin B12 shots, beginning with 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 per week.
These B12 shots are only available upon prescription.
After the first month, B12 shots may be decreased to once per month, upon doctor’s orders.
If B12 deficiency symptoms (fatigue, muscular pain, and brain fog) continue despite vitamin B12 injections, you may supplement with additional over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12.
Once your vitamin B12 levels are normal, your doctor will likely stop vitamin B12 shots in favor of OTC vitamin B12.
Sublingual vitamin B12 are an OTC option that may require supplementation two or three times per day. Side effects may include unpleasant taste and burning, tingling sensation on the tongue.
Note: Sublingual vitamin B12 must be dissolved under the tongue as indicated; if they are chewed or swallowed, then vitamin B12 will not be absorbed.
Please tell us…
Aside from taking the blood test for vitamin B12, have you received any of the other tests mentioned?
Please share your experience with vitamin B12 supplementation.
We welcome all comments, questions, or suggestions!
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Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia:
Did you have vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia during your pregnancy? If you’re currently breastfeeding your baby, it’s crucial that you continue to check your vitamin B12 (cobalamin) levels. Here’s the scoop on taking care of baby with vitamin B12 deficiency.
Breastfeeding with B12 deficiency
Even after giving birth, if you breastfeed and have vitamin B12 deficiency at the same time, then your baby is also at high risk for getting vitamin B12 deficiency, regardless of how often you nurse.
Many studies have been conducted documenting the dangers of exclusive breastfeeding while suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency.
In them, researchers noted some disturbing symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency in infants, such as failure to thrive.
Most of these symptoms were alleviated only after B12 levels were restored to normal throughimmediate supplementation of vitamin B12.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency in infants
In numerous studies, exclusively breastfed infants of mothers with vitamin B12 deficiency showed the following symptoms:
Have you been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy? If not, you should. If you have vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia, you can still have a normal pregnancy and give birth to a happy, healthy baby. Here are some crucial facts about vitamin B12 deficiency and pregnancy.
Vitamin B12- What is it?
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is an essential B-vitamin that occurs naturally in animal-based foods: beef, chicken, halibut, crabmeat, clams, and Swiss cheese are among the richest food sources of vitamin B12.
Your body (and your baby) needs vitamin B12 for many vital functions:
Red blood cell production
Protection of the nerve cells
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
The following symptoms may indicate the beginning of vitamin B12 deficiency:
Fatigue in the morning after sleeping the whole night- this is because your brain is not getting enough oxygen
Memory loss from reduced cognitive skills
Painful tingling in the arms, hands, feet, legs, and tongue- this is a sign of neurological damage
Depression and anxiety- vitamin B12 deficiency compromises emotional wellness.
Numerous studies have been conducted linking vitamin B12 deficiency with the following complications:
According to a National Institutes of Health study, women who have vitamin B12 deficiency before getting pregnant of after conception increase their baby’s chance of suffering from neural tube defects such as spina bifida by five times.
Increased homocysteine levels resulting from insufficient vitamin B12 are linked with miscarriages, preeclampsia, and high risk for heart disease.
Babies born to women with vitamin B12 deficiency are 15% more likely to suffer from insulin resistance, according to a University of California, Davis study.
Most healthy people who eat foods rich in vitamin B12 don’t have to worry about becoming deficient. Still, vitamin B12 malabsorption is the leading nutritional deficiency, and that percentage is climbing, so it’s worth understanding the risk factor involved.
People who are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency include:
People with pernicious anemia, an autoimmune disorder involving the inability to make intrinsic factor, a necessary hormone for absorbing vitamin B12
Anybody who has had gastric bypass surgery
Anybody who has had the ileum removed through gastrointestinal surgery
Diabetics who take metformin
People taking protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) for GERD
People with illnesses or conditions that affect the digestive system, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, food allergies, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Don’t I get enough B12 from prenatal vitamins?
Yes and no. If your stomach is able to manufacture intrinsic factor and thus digest vitamin B12, then you probably get the bare minimum dosage from prenatal vitamin supplements.
However, if you have pernicious anemia, or if you suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder, then it doesn’t matter how many vitamin B12 pills you swallow; all dietary sources of vitamin B12 are indigestible. Without intrinsic factor, your body cannot access vitamin B12 unless it is inserted directly into the bloodstream.
Before you start planning a family, get tested for vitamin B12 deficiency. Unfortunately, most physicians don’t automatically check for vitamin B12 deficiency, so you’ll need to request a B12 blood screening.
If you are diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia, then your doctor will most likely prescribe routine rounds of vitamin B12 shots, which must be inserted intramuscularly. In order to keep from getting deficient again, you may need to continue receiving B12 shots for life.
Please tell us…
If you have pernicious anemia, did you find out only after years of suffering, or were you warned about it from family members?
Have you been putting off having a baby because of low energy from vitamin B12 deficiency?
As always, we welcome your comments!
Spread the love…
Please share this article with your friends, family, or anybody you care about!
For some, brain fog is what happens when you drink too much cough medicine or stay up late at night. For others, people with vitamin B12 deficiency, pernicious anemia, or fibromyalgia, brain fog is part of everyday life. In fact, many people who experience brain fog have had it all their lives, and don’t remember a time when they didn’t have trouble remembering numbers, responding with clever banter, or finding their way out of a parking lot…
Brain fog is a lot easier to describe than it is to define, since scientists are not sure exactly what causes it, and most doctors don’t recognize it as a medical condition, but rather a symptom of other illnesses.
Here are some terms people use to describe their brain fog:
Mental fuzziness or confusion that is caused by a primary illness, condition, or other stimuli like food, drugs, or lifestyle habit
Stupid- This is wrong! Having brain fog does not mean that you are less intelligent than others are. It only means that you have a real disorder with real symptoms, and brain fog is one of them.
What are the symptoms of brain fog?
Most people who suffer brain fog say that they feel tired all the time, even after getting a good night’s rest. But there are lots of other seemingly unrelated symptoms that indicate brain fog besides feeling like you always have a dark cloud over your head.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of brain fog:
Short-term memory loss- forgetting recent reminders, shopping lists, things you talked about a few days ago
Difficulty with math- adding in your head, sequencing, remembering numbers
Forgetting what you were going to say in conversation
Difficulty concentrating or focusing while reading
Difficulty recalling words that should be on the tip of your tongue
Low attention span
Getting lost easily, even in familiar places
Difficulty thinking clearly
Difficulty with multitasking
Difficulty solving problems
Low spatial awareness- stepping on others’ feet, for example
Low learning curve
Difficulty learning new skills
Loss of creativity
What causes brain fog?
Since brain fog is not really a medical or psychiatric term, we likewise don’t have a specific answer as to what causes it. Brain fog is linked with lack of sleep, dementia, chronic pain, brain disorders, vitamin deficiencies, and unusual blood flow to the brain.
Here are 20 conditions and illnesses that correlate with brain fog:
Everybody knows that Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that occurs among the elderly, but did you know that severe memory loss from vitamin B12 deficiency can happen, regardless of your age? Find out how vitamin B12 deficiency affects brain health.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a brain disorder that causes you to lose thinking skills like memory, reasoning, language, and social awareness. Dementia is a progressive condition- the symptoms of dementia only worsen with time.
Degenerative dementia is permanent, meaning that the brain damage that caused dementia is irreversible. Still, some kinds of dementia can be reversed if caught in time; such is the case with a brain tumor.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most notable types of degenerative dementia.
Short-term memory loss: While dementia patients don’t usually have difficulty remembering things from their childhood with crystal-clear vision, they are likely to forget messages, conversations, or doctor’s appointments from the previous day…or hour.
Moodiness: Alzheimer’s disease patients may shift through moods in the blink of an eye- one minute content, the next minute expressing deep anger, and rage. Paranoia and depression are common traits of elderly individuals suffering from dementia. Often, people with dementia lose interest in things like hobbies and social clubs that they used to enjoy. In some cases, they may become antisocial and exhibit bad behavior in public.
Difficulty communicating: People with dementia tend to have circular conversations, immediately forgetting what they spoke of a moment ago, and returning to the same topic. They also have trouble recalling everyday words, as their vocabulary skills have decreased significantly.
Decreased perception skills: Dementia patients have great difficulty understanding new or foreign concepts.
Inability to multi-task
Cognitive decline: Senior citizens with dementia have trouble thinking abstractly, figuring amounts, and using logic.
As there are many different types of dementia, there are also various causes and correlations, as well.
Stroke (Vascular dementia)
Dementia with Lewy bodies
Progressive supranuclear palsy
Vitamin B12 deficiency (Pernicious anemia)
Certain cholesterol-lowering medications
How do doctors diagnose dementia?
If your doctor suspects dementia, he will have to review the patient’s medical history and order various physical exams before he diagnoses dementia. Additionally, any underlying medical conditions that may contribute to dementia symptoms will be reviewed, such as low levels of vitamin B12 or history of depression.
The most common tests used to diagnose dementia are:
Neurological exam (mental status examination)
MRI brain scan
Vitamin B12 blood test
Ammonia blood test
Blood chemistry test
Toxicology screening for alcohol
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis
Treatments for dementia
Depending on the cause of dementia, your physician might prescribe one of the following treatments for dementia:
Vitamin B12 supplements, if vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms are the cause of dementia.
Acetyl cholinesterase inhibitor, for dementia with Lewy bodies