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Posts Tagged ‘vitamin b12 deficiency neuropathy’

Pain and Numbness from Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Monday, October 7th, 2013



If you suffer from pins and needles and painful burning or tingling in your hands and feet, then you may have vitamin B12 deficiency. There are many causes of chronic pain and numbness, most of them strongly linked to extremely low vitamin B12 levels or resulting  pernicious anemia.

Pain and Numbness from Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Getting enough vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for your nervous system, but sometimes we don’t get enough, either because of diet or underlying health issues.

Eating a vegan diet devoid of B12-rich meats, fish, and cheese is one way of developing vitamin B12 deficiency, but it is also common in the elderly and people who have had gastrointestinal surgery such as gastric bypass.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also occur with migraine, fibromyalgia, and other forms of chronic pain, as autoimmune history and gastrointestinal problems combine to further raise your chances for developing vitamin B12 deficiency and resulting nerve pain.

If you’re experiencing constant nerve pain and numbness, then you should consider vitamin B12 deficiency as a possible cause.

Vitamin B12 deficiency neuropathy

Neuropathy is any kind of nerve damage that causes intense pain and numbness. Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common forms of nerve pain, but it can also occur as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency or, if prolonged, pernicious anemia.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency neuropathy include:

  • Painful numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Burning or itchy skin rashes
  • Sore burning tongue
  • Difficulty controlling arm and leg movements
  • Muscle spasms

Vitamin B12 and your nerves

Vitamin B12 protects your nervous system by sustaining myelin, a fatty substance that insulates your nerve fibers and enhances intercellular communication, so that sensory messages travel along the spinal cord to the brain quickly and efficiently.

When vitamin B12 levels become depleted, you suffer symptoms resulting from demyelination, destruction of the nerve cell’s outer coating. This is the same process that occurs in patients of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Nervous impulses become slower, and symptoms of tingling, burning, pain and numbness from vitamin B12 deficiency become more frequent.

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can impair your nervous system and cause severe handicaps.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)


Vitamin B12 deficiency is often comorbid with diabetes. Diabetics taking metformin are at a high risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency, as metformin is one of several drugs that prevent absorption of vitamin B12 from foods.

If you are a diabetic using metformin, then it’s crucial sustain vitamin B12 levels through supplementation.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Fibromyalgia Pain Types

Vitamin B12 deficiency is harder to diagnose in people with diabetes, as the symptoms of pain and numbness are already masked by preexisting diabetic neuropathy. Routine vitamin B12 blood tests are recommended for all diabetics using metformin.

Treating nerve pain and numbness

If nerve pain results from vitamin B12 deficiency, then it’s important to boost your intake of vitamin B12 immediately.

The best, most digestible sources of vitamin B12 are non-dietary supplements that are absorbed into your bloodstream, as opposed to vitamin B12 pills that you swallow.

For best results, start out with 1,000mcg of vitamin B12 weekly or more often, as needed or recommended by your doctor.

Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants for neuropathic pain, or he may advise anti-convulsant drugs. All of these, over extended periods of time, may result in uncomfortable side effects, so use with caution.

Topical treatments used to relive arthritis may help to relieve nerve pain, without any harmful side effects.

Your turn!

If you suffer nerve pain and numbness, have you been tested for vitamin B12 deficiency?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

Do-It-Yourself Chronic Pain Management- 6 Helpful Tips

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What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia- B12 deficiency?

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Alcoholic Neuropathy

Thursday, June 14th, 2012



Vitamin B12 deficiency is a condition sometimes inherited, but often also acquired; where there is alcoholism and vitamin B12 deficiency, alcoholic neuropathy (nerve damage) is often a factor. Here are some symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy and vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Alcoholic Neuropathy, Vitamin B12 Patch

What causes alcoholic neuropathy?

Scientists aren’t certain exactly what causes alcoholic neuropathy, but one theory is that long-term alcohol abuse has a toxic effect on the nervous system.  Over time, alcoholics often develop vitamin B12 deficiency that, together with poisoning from alcohol, results in severe irreparable nerve damage, including the destruction of nerve cells.

B12 and Alcohol Consumption

About half of all long-time alcoholics suffer from nerve damage and vitamin B12 deficiency, affecting the central nervous system and peripheral nerves, including the autonomic nervous system that controls internal bodily functions.

Symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy

The earliest symptoms of nerve damage from vitamin B12 deficiency are easily overlooked, especially where alcoholism is a factor. If you feel like you’re always tired and depressed, or have trouble thinking clearly, then that could indicate the onset of neuropathy.  In alcoholics, it’s easy to see how depression can be written off as another result of excess alcohol use.

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

Only a physician can confirm if some of the symptoms you’re experiencing are caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, which is easily treatable with supplementation.

Symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy and vitamin B12 deficiency:

•Painful numbness and tingling in the arms and hands, legs and feet, and tongue (“pins and needles”)

•Weak, sore muscles

•Muscular cramps

•Muscular twitches or tremors

•Muscle atrophy (wasting away)

•Movement disorders



•Inability to urinate



•Extreme sensitivity to heat, particularly after exercising

•Difficulty swallowing food

•Altered taste perception

•“Burning mouth syndrome”

•Speech slurring


•“Brain fog”

•Difficulty concentrating


•Aggressive behavior


•Short-term memory loss

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Alcoholic Neuropathy, Vitamin B12 Patch

Treatment options

Where alcoholism is the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency, only cessation of alcohol abuse can result in a lifelong cure.

If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it’s imperative that you request a vitamin B12 blood test from your doctor. While the results aren’t always reliable (they only count total vitamin B12 levels, not active vitamin B12), they can indicate the need for vitamin B12 supplementation.  Overall, your symptoms are the best gauges for deciding how much vitamin B12 you need, and for how long.

If diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, your doctor will prescribe routine vitamin B12 shots (taken intramuscularly), to be followed by long-term vitamin B12 supplements.

Other coping mechanisms for alcoholic neuropathy may include:

•Physical therapy

•Shin splints

•Orthopedic inserts

•Diabetic socks

•Pain relief medication



•Blood pressure medication

Please tell us…

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, Facebook, or Google+.

You might also like:

5 Ways to Ruin your Memory without getting Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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Alcoholic neuropathy

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15 Chronic Pain Causes and 15 Treatments (Vitamin B12 is one)

Monday, March 12th, 2012



Chronic pain affects close to 50 million Americans with symptoms like severe headaches, nerve pain, muscular soreness, and back pain.  Chronic pain is a nervous system disorder, and does not usually result from any visible injury. Below are 15 common causes of chronic pain, including vitamin B12 deficiency, and 15 potential treatments, including vitamin B12 supplements.


What is chronic pain?

If you break your leg, and it hurts for months afterwards, is that chronic pain?  No.  When you sustain an injury, your nervous system responds by sending out pain signals; that is referred to as “acute pain,” and it is a normal reaction.

With chronic pain, your nervous system continues to fire pain signals, even in the absence of any previous bodily injury.  Chronic pain can last for many months or years, and make it difficult for the pain sufferer to handle everyday commitments.

Chronic pain causes

Below are the 15 most common causes of chronic pain:

  1. 15 CHRONIC PAIN CAUSES AND 15 TREATMENTS (VITAMIN B12 IS ONE) B12 PATCHNeuropathy, including vitamin B12 deficiency and diabetic neuropathy
  2. Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  3. Fibromyalgia
  4. Headache, including migraines and cluster headaches
  5. Lower back pain
  6. Arthritis pain, including osteoarthritis
  7. Psychogenic pain
  8. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  9. Endometriosis
  10. Visceral pain, including pancreatitis and active hepatitis
  11. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  12. Interstitial cystitis
  13. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
  14. Shingles
  15. Vulvodynia


Also read: I have Fibromyalgia…Which Supplements should I take?

Chronic pain treatments

Only about 58% of chronic pain sufferers find relief through prescribed painkillers.  The best way to treat chronic pain is with a multi-pronged approach that incorporates physician-approved medication, relaxation techniques, vitamins, and holistic treatments for pain.


Below are 15 effective pain treatments:

  1. Pain relievers, including acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin
  2. Opioids (narcotics), including codeine, morphine, and oxycodone
  3. Antidepressants, including tricyclic antidepressants (Elavil, Tofranil, Anafranil, Norpramin, Sinequan, and Pamelor) and some SNRIs (Effexor and Cymbalta)
  4. Anticonvulsants Tegretol, Dilantin, Neurontin, Lyrica, and Lamictal, particularly with migraine headaches
  5. When vitamin B12 deficiency occurs with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or diabetic neuropathy, then replenishing vitamin B12 levels through supplementation has been found to be extremely beneficial.
  6. Herbal supplements
  7. Massage
  8. Relaxation
  9. Acupuncture
  10. Biofeedback
  11. Chiropractor care
  12. Low-impact exercise, including walking, stationary bicycling, swimming, yoga, and tai chi
  13. Physical therapy
  14. Nerve stimulation
  15. Cognitive behavioral therapy, particularly helpful with psychogenic pain


Also read: Pernicious Anemia- Vitamin B12 Deficiency is Nerve Rattling- Peripheral Neuropathy

Please tell us…

Do you suffer from a type of chronic pain that isn’t listed above?  Which of the 15 pain treatments have you tried, and which have been the most helpful?  If you currently use prescription painkillers or narcotics, have you considered replacing them with natural supplements that do not cause side effects?

Spread the love…

Know anybody who could be helped by this information?  Please share this article on Facebook, Google+, or by emailing a link.  As always, we welcome your comments!

Read more about chronic pain and vitamin B12 deficiency:

9 Conditions that Mimic Fibromyalgia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia- Is there a Difference?

If Vitamin B12 Deficiency Mimics Multiple Sclerosis, How do you tell the Difference?


Top Causes of Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain

NINDS Chronic Pain Information Page


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New Study: Diabetes Drug Metformin Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Thursday, May 5th, 2011



Diabetics who take metformin are at high risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency, according to recent studies on the correlation between metformin and low vitamin B12 levels in patients with diabetes.

vitamin B12 deficiency, diabetics and metformin can cause nerve damage, such as peripheral neuropathy

What is metformin?

insulin levels in type 2 diabetics. Metformin is also commonly known as glucophage, glumetza, and fortamet. Metformin lowers glucose levels in the blood by controlling the liver’s glucose production, sensitizing the liver to insulin and inhibiting carbohydrate absorption.

Metformin lowers vitamin B12 levels, say scientists

Recent studies show that long-term usage of metformin reduces vitamin B12 levels, causing vitamin B12 deficiency.

  • Researchers discovered that 40% of type 2 diabetics who were prescribed metformin had dangerously low levels of vitamin B12 and suffered from B12 deficiency.
  • Of the metformin-using diabetics who had low B12, approximately 77% also suffered peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage which occurs often with type 2 diabetes.
  • Doctors strongly urge any diabetics currently taking metformin to get tested for B12 deficiency, and to supplement vitamin B12 immediately.
  • One of the most dangerous symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency is neurological damage, such as peripheral neuropathy.

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

What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy is defined as nerve damage in the arms and legs. Peripheral neuropathy is one of four forms of diabetic neuropathy, the others being autonomic, proximal, and focal neuropathies. Some symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are:

  • Pain, tingling or numbness in the hands and/or feet
  • Loss of sensation is often likened to the wearing of thin gloves or socks
  • Pain associated with peripheral neuropathy is described by patients as a burning sensation in both hands or feet
  • Lowered sensitivity to temperature
  • Muscle cramps
  • Loss of balance and coordination

Diabetes is the most common cause for peripheral neuropathy, accounting for 30% of all cases; it can also be caused by infections, autoimmune disorder, toxins or traumatic injuries.

What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 is found in protein-rich food sources such as lean beef, fish, poultry, eggs and cheese. Vitamin B12 is essential for proper functioning of the nervous system, in addition to producing red blood cells and DNA production.

Selectively excluding vitamin B12 from your diet can lead to B12 deficiency. Also, individuals who lack intrinsic factor, such as patients of pernicious anemia, cannot digest vitamin B12 naturally from food sources. People who are advised to supplement with vitamin B12 are vegans, weight loss surgery patients, individuals with gastrointestinal disease and diabetics who take metformin.

The symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency are:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, as caused by nerve damage
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Aggression
  • Altered taste perception
  • Imbalance and decreased coordination
  • Sleep disturbances

Left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency could culminate into severe, irreversible nerve damage and, in rare cases, death.

How can diabetics who take metformin avoid vitamin B12 deficiency and peripheral neuropathy?

Only a blood test can determine if somebody has vitamin B12 deficiency. Doctors advise all diabetics who take metformin to get a screening for B12 deficiency, and to follow up with regular blood tests. If diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, physicians may prescribe a course of B12 injections to be inserted in the thick muscular tissue below the buttocks.

Some individuals have difficulty withstanding painful injections on a regular basis; fibromyalgia patients, children with autism, and others are often advised by physicians to take weekly supplementation of vitamin B12.

For more information on vitamin B12 deficiency, diabetes and metformin, please read:

Diabetics, Put On Your Walking Shoes

Diabetics, Take Heed

B12 Deficiency can really Get on your Nerves


Natural News, PCOS Nutrition Center,MedicineNet, Web MD, Mayo Clinic, Neuropathy AssociationNational Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

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