Previously, we discussed the risk for developing severe vitamin B12 deficiency if you have high levels of folic acid (folate) in your blood. (Warning: If you take Folate, you may have Vitamin B12 Deficiency) In order to avoid neurological damage, cognitive decline, and mood disorders resulting from pernicious anemia, it’s important to know the risk factors before adding folic acid to your diet.
Who’s at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency?
The key to healthy folic acid supplementation is to confirm that you are not at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, and to get tested often. A simple blood test can determine if your vitamin B12 levels are low.
It’s important to note that blood tests which measure serum vitamin B12 are not always accurate, and often fail to detect early-onset vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then you may be at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, and should consider being tested before starting folic acid supplementations.
- Do you have a family history for autoimmune disorders?
- Has anybody in your family suffered from pernicious anemia or vitamin B12 deficiency?
- Do you take metformin for diabetes?
- Do you take protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) for GERD?
- Are you a vegan or vegetarian?
- Do you suffer from gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis?
- Are you a senior citizen?
- Have you had bariatric surgery, such as a gastric bypass?
- Do you suffer from fibromyalgia of chronic fatigue syndrome?
- Are you battling alcoholism?
If you are diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, then you may need to begin an intensive round of vitamin B12 supplementation until levels are normal, especially if your folic acid levels are high. After a few months, you may need to continue taking vitamin B12 supplements for life in order to prevent nerve damage, mood disorders, and memory loss.
Vitamin B12 supplementation usually involves regimental vitamin B12 injections which must be inserted into the thick muscular tissue of your thighs, buttocks, or abdomen.
For many, vitamin B12 shots serve to prevent life-threatening symptoms, while not necessarily relieving many of the debilitating symptoms that may linger despite ongoing supplementation.
Many patients continue to experience intense fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, numbness, memory loss, and chronic pain, even when their vitamin B12 tests come back normal, regardless of folic acid.
This has resulted in a rise in over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplementations, which are available without a prescription and can be purchased cheaply over the internet.
For many, OTC vitamin B12 is a life-saving device, as a large segment of physicians are still unaware of the consequences of vitamin B12 deficiency, and are hesitant to prescribe a vitamin as a cure for something that they’ve already diagnosed as a simple mood disorder.
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