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Posts Tagged ‘vitamin B12 deficiency’

Which Antacids cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

 

 

In a recent study on vitamin B12 deficiency and antacid medications, doctors from Kaiser Permanente found further evidence proving that people who take stomach acid-inhibiting drugs for GERD (acid reflux) and heartburn are more likely than others to develop significant vitamin B12 anemia over time.  Side effects include memory loss, fatigue, and nerve damage.

Antacids, Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you suffer from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), chronic heartburn, or peptic ulcers, then you’re chances of developing vitamin B12 deficiency (aka pernicious anemia) are higher than normal, according to a California study published in JAMA.

Vitamin B12 and the stomach

In order to digest vitamin B12 from the foods you eat, your body uses digestive enzymes produced in the stomach; without these essential stomach acids, you would not be able to absorb vitamin B12 in the distal bowel – it would just pass through the digestive system untouched.

And such is the case with patients using certain antacid medications to treat chronic acid reflux, stomach ulcers, painful heartburn, and esophageal strictures. By inhibiting the production of peptic acids, you also inhibit digestion of vitamin B12, resulting in vitamin B12 malabsorption- a widespread cause of vitamin B12 deficiency, or pernicious anemia.

Likewise, elderly individuals who stop producing sufficient stomach acids as a result of old age are also at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.

Quick note: A deficiency in stomach acids is equal to a deficiency in vitamin B12.

Which antacid medications cause B12 deficiency?

In the Kaiser study, doctors examined patients using proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine 2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) who also had vitamin B12 deficiency.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop taking these medications; rather, it’s important to check your vitamin B12 levels regularly if you use any of the following antacid medications long-term:

  • Omeprazole (Prilosec)
  • Esomeprazole (Nexium)
  • Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Famotidine (Pepcid)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac)

Quick note: If you use PPIs or H2RAs, then check your B12 levels yearly, at least.

Is vitamin B12 deficiency serious?

Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to severe nerve damage, dementia, and increased risk for heart attack and stroke.  (Remember, pernicious anemia used to be a fatal disease until scientists learned to treat it with vitamin B12.)

However, even the earliest and middle stages of vitamin B12 deficiency can be extremely debilitating- enough to make daily functioning difficult and tiring.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency:

Listed are common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency which are often overlooked or misdiagnosed:

  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Memory loss
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms
  • Poor motor control
  • Gait problems, difficulty walking straight
  • Poor balance
  • Loss/increase of appetite
  • Sleep problems

Stomach Bloating from B12 Deficiency? Yes, It Happens.

How do I know if I have vitamin B12 deficiency?

Once you start noticing even the earliest symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, that’s a sign that your vitamin B12 levels have already dropped to a dangerous low. So, it’s important to start treating immediately.

A simple blood test may indicate if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, but it’s best not to wait for diagnosis to begin supplementing. Vitamin B12 is safe to use in any amount, so there’s no harm in taking “too much,” but there can be negative ramifications if you wait too long to begin restoring your vitamin B12 levels.

Also, the median used to determine vitamin B12 levels is too low to catch the earliest signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Quick note: Symptoms are a better indicator of vitamin B12 deficiency than lab tests.

Which types of vitamin B12 are best?

With vitamin B12 malabsorption, vitamin B12 pills are useless, as they pass through the stomach undigested. Instead, your doctor may prescribe vitamin B12 injections which must be inserted directly into the muscular tissue of the thigh, arm, abdomen, or buttocks.  Depending on the level of anemia, you may be required to take vitamin B12 shots monthly or bi-monthly.

You may find that monthly sessions of vitamin B12 shots are not enough to make you feel “normal” again. If that’s the case, then it’s helpful to take extra doses of vitamin B12 between injections.  Just make sure to use types of vitamin B12 that pass directly through the skin’s layer into the blood.

Quick note: If you can’t digest vitamin B12 in the stomach, then you have to manually insert it into your blood stream through the skin.

Also read:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Caused by H. Pylori Infection

Gastrointestinal Surgery for Crohn’s (IBD) and B12 Warnings

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles

Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Millions

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when your blood levels of vitamin B12 drop to an unhealthy low. If you have vitamin B12 deficiency for an extended period, then you are risk for pernicious anemia. Today, experts believe that vitamin B12 deficiency is an overlooked epidemic striking millions of US citizens.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Millions

How common is B12 deficiency?

In 2000, the United States Department of Agriculture stated that nearly two-fifths of all US citizens had some form of vitamin B12 deficiency. Their source of information was the Framingham Offspring Study, which found vitamin B12 deficiency in nearly 40% of 3,000 Framingham, Massachusetts residents between the ages of 26 and 83.

“I think there is a lot of undetected vitamin B12 deficiency out there,” said study author Katherine Tucker.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Today, reports indicate that close to 47 million Americans suffer from middle-low to nearly depleted levels of vitamin B12.

Conflicting reports

So why do government reports such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey claim that the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency among Americans is much lower- closer to 3% with severely low levels, and 20% with borderline B12 anemia?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed and ignored by doctors for many reasons:

First, we’ve been led to believe that pernicious anemia is no longer a fatal or even detrimental disease, so it has essentially fallen off the radar. Many doctors no longer test for vitamin B12 deficiency in their patients, because they believe that it is a non-issue.

Second, standards for detecting vitamin B12 deficiency are remarkably low and inefficient. Serum vitamin B12 screenings only look for lethally-low levels of vitamin B12, which occur only in a rare percentage of people with pernicious anemia. Middle-low ranges of vitamin B12 depletion that nevertheless cause debilitating symptoms are often ignored.

Here’s Your Brain on B12 Deficiency- Memory Loss and Aging

Finally, even people with “normal” levels of vitamin B12 in their system may exhibit symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, as the blood screenings don’t separate active vitamin B12 from stored vitamin B12. This is an important yet overlooked distinction, as only active molecules of vitamin B12 are able to carry out the biochemical functions necessary for survival.

B12 deficiency in vegetarians

According to a recent report on vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians, vegans are at a higher risk for developing anemia from low vitamin B12 levels compared with vegetarians, and people who follow a vegetarian diet from birth are more at risk than those who made a change to their diet in adulthood.

In the scientific study conducted by the Department of Nutrition Science, the risk for vitamin B12 deficiency among vegetarians is as follows:

  • Pregnant women- 62%
  • Children- 25-86%
  • Teens- 21-41%
  • Elderly 11-90%

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Signs of B12 deficiency

Some of the early signs of vitamin B12 deficiency are often mistaken for chronic depression, anxiety, or age-related dementia. Since vitamin B12 is needed for maintaining myelin, some of the symptoms of low vitamin B12 mimic those of multiple sclerosis.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Memory loss
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness
  • Poor concentration
  • Decreased motor control
  • “Pins and needles” in hands and feet
  • Muscle spasms, twitches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sore, burning red tongue

Do you currently get prescriptions for vitamin B12 shots ? If so, do you feel that you don’t get enough to prevent symptoms between doses?

Also read:

What Causes Vitamin B12 Malabsorption?

Top Ten Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Real Illness?

Image courtesy of xedos4

B12 Shots: Getting your Medical Insurance to Pay

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 shots are crucial if you’re diagnosed with extremely low levels of vitamin B12, but they can be expensive. Some medical insurance plans cover the costs of vitamin B12 injections, but only if you qualify. Even if you’re approved, you may not be getting the right dosage to relieve some of the ailments that come with even mild vitamin B12 deficiency.

B12 Shots: Getting your Medical Insurance to Pay

Intramuscular vitamin B12 shots require the services of a licensed nurse, and to get your fill, your best bet is to apply for coverage from your medical insurance plan.

Unfortunately, healthcare plans such as Cigna, Aetna, and Blue Cross, in addition to Medicare, can make it difficult for you to get enough B12. Their mission is to prevent death from pernicious anemia, and they do that reasonably well…

Still, there are a host of health problems that don’t go away with minimum vitamin B12 shots; constant fatigue, brain fog, and depression can continue if you’re not getting enough vitamin B12 from your healthcare provider.

Aetna

Let’s consider Aetna:

Aetna will pay for vitamin B12 injections if you suffer from:

  • Diagnosed pernicious anemia, or other types of anemia
  • Gastrointestinal disorders linked with lack of intrinsic factor, vitamin B12 malabsorption or gastrointestinal surgeries
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage) from alcoholism, pernicious anemia, or posterolateral sclerosis
  • Dementia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Elevated homocysteine levels caused by homocysteinuria

Also, if you have vitamin B12 deficiency caused by medications such as metformin for diabetes, then you may be able to get your insurance to pay for vitamin B12 shots.

But no mention is made of vitamin B12 supplements in relation to symptoms of fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety, depression, or dizziness that occur when vitamin B12 levels are even marginally low, in people who are not diagnosed with anemia.

Also, children with autism are not approved for vitamin B12 injection compensation, even though many parents have noticed extreme health benefits (cognition, energy, and mood) with routine B12 shots.

So unless you’re diagnosed with pernicious anemia, peripheral neuropathy, or dementia that’s not related to old age, you will have difficulty getting your insurance to pay for vitamin B12 supplements. If your employer insurance plan covers naturopathic medicine, then you may be more successful.

Medicare

If you’re a senior citizen, then your risk for vitamin B12 deficiency is much higher. Still, Medicare Part D follows the same criteria for vitamin B12 shots as the Aetna plan.

Unless you can present proof that you suffer from one of the approved medical conditions as mentioned above, you may not get coverage for vitamin B12, even if you are suffering from extreme fatigue, sluggish thinking, mood problems, or other ailments that can happen even if blood tests indicate normal levels of vitamin B12.

Conclusion

If you’re turned down for Medicare or other healthcare compensation for vitamin B12 supplements, then fear not; there are other options.

While vitamin B12 shots can be expensive, costing upwards of $25 a pop, there are alternative methods of vitamin B12 supplementation that are available online and over the counter (OTC). Many are cheaper, gentler, and more convenient than vitamin B12 shots, and just as likely to get absorbed into your bloodstream.

Moreover, if you receive vitamin B12 shots through your provider, but you want more to “top up” vitamin B12 levels between office visits, then OTC vitamin B12 is a great option to get the amount you need, when you need it, at a fraction of the price of prescription B12.

Please tell us…

Does your healthcare provider cover vitamin B12 shots? If so, are you getting enough vitamin B12?

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:

Vitamin B12 Injection Pain- 7 Helpful Tips

Vitamin B12 Shots- Side Effects

Self-Injecting Vitamin B12 Shots- 12 Tips and Warnings

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Does Vitamin B12 Really Promote Weight Loss?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

 

 

If you’re considering taking vitamin B12 supplements as part of your weight loss regimen, then you’re off to a good start. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) helps your body break down fatty acids and amino acids in boosting energy, while it also aids in digestion. Listed are some other ways that taking vitamin B12 shots or over-the-counter supplements can help you manage your weight and stick to a healthy diet.

Does Vitamin B12 Really Promote Weight Loss?

Vitamin B12 supports many important functions throughout your body, including healthy metabolism of fat and carbohydrates.

So, it’s not surprising that many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts like to use mega doses of vitamin B12 to increase energy and sustain good muscle development.

Benefits of B12 on weight loss

Here are some excellent reasons to include vitamin B12 supplementation as part of your weight loss plan:

Energy!

Vitamin B12 helps your body produce plenty of healthy red blood cells which are needed to deliver oxygen to your brain, heart, digestive system, endocrine glands…everywhere. Lack of oxygen makes you feel fatigued and dizzy- which makes it difficult to keep your energy levels up while exercising.

By keeping the flow of oxygen elevated, vitamin B12 helps to enhance stamina, mental focus, and good balance- things you need to stay in the game!

Metabolism!

Vitamin B12 aids in DNA synthesis and normal metabolic functioning- this is especially helpful if you’re trying to lose weight, but have a sluggishly slow metabolism.

Vitamin B12 helps to keep the metabolic juices flowing!

Mood!

Sometimes, depression and anxiety make it harder for you to stick to a weight loss program. Research shows that maintaining healthy levels of vitamin B12 in your blood supply is one of the best ways to prevent psychological and cognitive problems that often occur with vitamin B12 deficiency.

To prevent binging on your diet, emotional eating, or other food-related disorders, it’s important to keep your mood in check by maintaining healthy vitamin B12 levels.

How much vitamin B12 is best?

To improve your efforts at weight loss, or just to maintain normal vitamin B12 levels and promote good health, experts recommend taking 1,000mcg of vitamin B12 weekly, bi-weekly, or as often as needed.

There is no upper limit established by the FDA for vitamin B12 supplementation, so it’s safe to take vitamin B12 as often as you like, with no risk for overdosing.

The best forms of vitamin B12 are those that are absorbed directly into your blood stream- vitamin B12 shots are popular, and most often recommended for people with severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

For maximum benefit, you can combine vitamin B12 injections with OTC vitamin B12 supplements. For people who have difficulty getting enough vitamin B12 from their health insurance providers, this is an especially helpful tactic.

Please tell us…

Do you take vitamin B12 for weight loss, or to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency? Have you noticed a difference in energy levels?

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:

These Foods are Highest in Vitamin B12

Five Fat-Burning Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

The DASH Diet: Good Source of B12?

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos

These Foods are Highest in Vitamin B12

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

 

 

To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, it’s important to include an assortment of foods that have vitamin B12 in your daily diet. This is harder than it sounds! The majority of the foods that are highest in vitamin B12 are sadly missing from the average American diet. As a result, a rising number of people are suffering the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency, or pernicious anemia, due to a lack of this crucial nutrient in the blood supply.

These Foods are Highest in Vitamin B12

It’s important to note that eating foods that are high in vitamin B12 is only helpful for preventing vitamin B12 deficiency if you are able to digest it naturally. For many, vitamin B12 malabsorption prevents you from digesting vitamin B12 naturally from foods, causing your vitamin B12 levels to diminish steadily.

I Eat Healthy…So How did I Get Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

The rule applies for taking vitamin B12 pills. If you are one of many individuals who suffer from vitamin B12 malabsorption, then your risk of developing pernicious anemia increases with time, regardless of your diet.

Foods highest in vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 only occurs in animal-based products- meat, fish, eggs, and milk. Still, certain foods in that category contain significantly higher amounts of vitamin B12 than others. So you may think you’re taking in enough chicken or beef to keep your vitamin B12 at a normal level, when really you’re missing out on some of the richest sources of this essential B vitamin.

(If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, then it is crucial that you supplement with vitamin B12 regularly in order to prevent debilitating symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.)

What about Vegan Vitamin B12?

Shellfish

Seafood provides some of the most nutritional sources of vitamin B12. One hundred grams of cooked clams provides 98.9mcg of vitamin B12; that’s 1648% of the amount recommended to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency!

Other excellent food sources of vitamin B12 from the seas include mackerel, crab, sardines and caviar.

Organ meat

A 3-ounce serving of cooked beef liver delivers a whopping 70.7mcg of vitamin B12. In fact, before vitamin B12 supplementation, doctors used to prescribe a concoction of pre-digested beef liver (Ew!) as a cure for pernicious anemia.

Chicken Liver pate, moose liver, and grilled chicken hearts are also good food sources of vitamin B12.

Red meat

Not ready for pan-fried liver? A serving of lean chuck beef has about five or six micrograms of vitamin B12, which is the minimum to get your recommended daily allowance.

Lamb chops are also good; they provide half of a day’s worth of vitamin B12.

Milk and eggs

If you follow a vegetarian diet, then it’s important to include lots of dairy foods into your daily diet in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency. One cup of nonfat yogurt delivers 25% of the RDA for vitamin B12, while the same amount of Swiss cheese brings you to 60 per cent.

Chicken eggs are not the best source of vitamin B12; one egg yields 36mcg of vitamin B12, or 6% RDA. Comparatively, one duck egg provides 63% RDA of vitamin B12. And if you can get your hands on a goose egg, then you’ll get 122% of the recommended amount of vitamin B12 in one serving!

Please tell us…

Do you eat any of these foods that are highest in vitamin B12? If you follow a vegan diet, then do you supplement with vitamin B12 in order to prevent 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:

Five Fat-Burning Foods Rich in Vitamin B12

Benefits and Sources of Vitamin B12, and How to Avoid Deficiency

The DASH Diet: Good Source of B12?

Image courtesy of jiggoja/freedigitalphotos

What Causes Pernicious Anemia?

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

 

 

There are many causes of pernicious anemia, including autoimmune conditions, medications, and damage to the intestines. Vitamin B12 deficiency caused by vegan dieting is not considered a cause of pernicious anemia, as it can be reversed by eating foods containing ample amounts of vitamin B12.

What Causes Pernicious Anemia?

Digestive illnesses

Crohn’s disease, celiac, and fibromyalgia can impair your ability to produce intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme that is needed in order to extract vitamin B12 from food and replenish supplies of vitamin B12 in the blood stream. Pernicious anemia is often comorbid with illnesses that affect the gastrointestinal system. For prevention, check vitamin B12 levels routinely and supplement with non-pill forms of vitamin B12.

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Genetics

If either of your parents or grandparents suffered from pernicious anemia, then you are also a high risk category for vitamin B12 deficiency. With frequent testing, you can catch the onset of vitamin B12 deficiency before it advances to pernicious anemia.

Pernicious Anemia- What’s your Risk?

Medication-induced vitamin B12 deficiency

Certain medications can eventually impair your ability to absorb vitamin B12, leading to pernicious anemia; these include PPIs used to treat GERD (acid reflux), metformin for diabetes, and various antibiotics, NSAIDs and antidepressants. If you are on long-term medication, check to see if you are a risk factor for megaloblastic anemia and use vitamin B12 supplements.

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Gastrointestinal surgery

If you have had bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) or surgical treatments for illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, then pernicious anemia may result because of vitamin B12 malabsorption. To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, supplement with non-oral forms of vitamin B12.

Please tell us…

Do you get enough vitamin B12 to prevent symptoms of pernicious anemia, or would you feel better if your doctor would prescribe more vitamin B12?

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:

Is Pernicious Anemia Megaloblastic?

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Bariatric Surgery

What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia- B12 deficiency?

Image courtesy of keepingtime_ca/flickr

Is Pernicious Anemia Megaloblastic?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

 

 

Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia that occurs with severe vitamin B12 deficiency. To find the right treatment and understand symptoms of fatigue, depression, and chronic pain, it helps to understand how pernicious anemia impairs your red blood cells and what you can do for prevention.

Is Pernicious Anemia Megaloblastic?

Megaloblastic anemia

There are several types of anemia, and they are usually classified by the way they impair red blood cells in size and shape. Specifically, megaloblastic anemia is a blood disorder in which red blood cells called megaloblasts become too large to function properly, resulting in fewer healthy red blood cells needed to deliver oxygen throughout your body; symptoms of memory loss, extreme fatigue, dizziness, and agitation occur when your vital organs and tissues don’t receive enough oxygen.

Quick facts:

  • With megaloblastic anemia, your body starts producing red blood cells that are overlarge, misshapen, and poorly developed.
  • New red blood cells do not mature- they die before their life expectancy.
  • Healthy red blood cells become replaced by these distorted megaloblasts.
  • Bone marrow starts producing fewer red blood cells.
  • Your body starts receiving less oxygen, causing a breakdown in various bodily functions of the organs, tissues, and nervous system.

Pernicious anemia

Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia caused by vitamin B12 malabsorption, the inability to digest vitamin B12 found in meat, fish, dairy, and egg products. Since vitamin B12 is crucial for healthy red blood cell production, long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can progress into severe pernicious anemia, a once-fatal condition that is now prevented through vitamin B12 supplementation.

Pernicious Anemia and B12 Deficiency- Historically Fatal, Still Formidable

Quick facts:

  • Pernicious anemia occurs with vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Pernicious anemia used to be fatal, until scientists discovered that symptoms could be cured with vitamin B12 supplementation.
  • Foods richest in vitamin B12 are seafood and organ meats.
  • Even if you eat plenty of beef, chicken, and fish, you may still have vitamin B12 deficiency through lack of intrinsic factor, an enzyme needed to digest and absorb vitamin B12.
  • Pernicious anemia is one type of megaloblastic anemia; another type occurs with folic acid deficiency.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency is Type of Anemia: True or False?

Please tell us…

Have you been diagnosed with pernicious anemia or another type of megaloblastic anemia? If so, what kind of vitamin B12 supplements do you use- vitamin B12 shots or over-the-counter vitamin B12?

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:

What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia- B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Invisible Epidemic!

Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Three Reasons Why You Might Not Be

Image courtesy of Genista/flickr

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)

Diabetes

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

Help- My Legs keep Falling Asleep!

What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia- B12 deficiency?

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Vitamin B12- Good for your Libido!

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Does loss of libido get you down?  Is your sex drive too low? You may need to increase your uptake of vitamin B12, which promotes a healthy libido and provide numerous other benefits that help to sustain your sex organs.  Here are some ways that vitamin B12 and other essential B vitamins can boost your libido and increase energy!

Vitamin B12- Good for your Libido!

Boost your Metabolism with Vitamin B12

B vitamins help to regulate your sex organs; vitamin B12 and other essential B-complex vitamins impact the number of sex hormones released by the body and also promote good fertilization for couples wishing to plan a family.

Each specific B vitamin offers your body something different in regard to your overall health as well as your sex health.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency is directly linked with a decrease in sex drive, depression, and difficulty conceiving a baby, so it makes sense to increase vitamin B12 and other B vitamins when your libido is sagging.

Vitamin B12 protects and maintains the nervous system, and enhances intercellular communication. All this adds up to a quick and direct response to sexual stimuli. In contrast, people with low vitamin B12 levels have slow, sluggish reflexes.

Vitamin B12 also aids in fertility, as we have seen many males suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency who complain of impotence.

Vitamin B12 aids digestion and absorption of food, which in turn results in more energy and a healthy libido.

Hence, lack of libido and a diminished sex life could be the consequence of a depleted level of vitamin B12.

Lethargy and fatigue are common symptoms of a Vitamin B12 deficiency.  This in turn leads to “sex deprivation” — because the body needs more sleep and rest, not sex.

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 is important to keep the nerves finely tuned ensuring optimal transmission of signals for appropriate responses. It enhances circulation, which allows blood to flow not only to your heart but below the belt as well.

This B vitamin also boosts energy levels and optimizes healthy brain functioning. It also has antioxidant affects, which can protect our bodies from aging.  The younger we feel and look, the more confident and sexy we are.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 assists with the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in maintaining a healthy weight. It facilitates the use of oxygen by the tissues of our hair, skin and nails keeping us looking young, vibrant and sexy. How’s that for a libido booster?

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 increases the blood flow to the skin and nerve endings.  This is in itself a form of stimulus.  For women, this can increase the libido exponentially.  Vitamin B3 generates healthy skin and proper circulation, which can actually help to enhance tactile sensations, lending more excitement to intimate touch.  Additionally, the synthesis of sex hormones is affected by Vitamin B3, and can help to lower bad cholesterol.

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 affects the production of the adrenal hormones. Stress reduction is aided by Vitamin B5, and we can all agree that less stress can help put you in the right mood.  Without proper adrenal function, your stamina may be lowered; libido may be reduced, which may make one feel more stressed.  Furthermore, you sweat more profusely with very little physical activity, which can be a sexual turn off for many.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is an effective libido enhancer, particularly for women. It can aid in the reduction of symptoms of PMS. It also acts as a mild diuretic. Feeling bloated, or moody, can really ruin the atmosphere for intimacy, so make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B6!

Vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 help to reduce cholesterol by protecting the heart muscle from a chemical called homocysteine, which leads to heavy cholesterol deposits.

A healthy heart reduces your chances for sex problems such as low libido and erectile dysfunction, so include lots of libido-healthy B vitamins in your daily diet!

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Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Genetic Mutation?

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

 

 

About half the population has a gene mutation making them prone to genetic vitamin B12 deficiency, according to researchers, which would explain the growing epidemic of pernicious anemia from untreated vitamin B12 deficiency. About 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have dangerously low levels of vitamin B12, and many don’t even realize it until the debilitating symptoms begin to set in. Here are the facts on genetic vitamin B12 deficiency.

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Genetic Mutation?

The MTHFR gene and B12 Deficiency

Everybody has two MTHFR genes, one from each parent. These genes are necessary for efficiently converting vitamin B12 to a usable form, and in effect also maintaining healthy homocysteine levels.

If you have defective MTHFR genes, then you’re not able to convert cobalamin to usable vitamin B12 as effectively as somebody without the gene defect.

However, nearly 50% of all people have a defected MTHFR gene from one parent, and 10% have mutated MTHFR genes from both parents, making them more likely to suffer genetic vitamin B12 deficiency, and also elevated levels of homocysteine, which has been linked to hardening of the arteries and increased risk for heart attack.

Causes for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 absorption is a complicated process, and there are many things that can go wrong. Certain health conditions, medications, invasive surgeries, dietary restrictions, and yes- genetics- can impede your ability to digest vitamin B12 properly from food sources and vitamin supplements.

Common causes of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Vegan and vegetarian dieting
  • Family history for autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and fibromyalgia
  • Family history for pernicious anemia
  • MTHFR gene mutations
  • Gastrointestinal infections or illnesses, such as leaky gut, Crohn’s, celiac, and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Bariatric surgeries or ilium removal for Crohn’s treatment
  • Medications such as metformin for diabetes and PPIs for GERD
  • Old age
  • Alcoholism

Find out if you have genetic B12 Deficiency

There are several ways of finding out if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, including plasma vitamin B12 level screening, complete blood count (CBC) and homocysteine blood screening for Hyperhomocysteinemia.

As for testing for the MTHFR gene mutation, there are no official guidelines as to who should be tested. So unless you request a test for genetic vitamin B12 deficiency from a doctor who is able to comply, then your best bet is to stay on top of vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels, and supplement daily with vitamin B12, folate and vitamin B6.

Treating vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you’re tested with genetic vitamin B12 deficiency caused by a gene mutation, or any form of vitamin B12 deficiency that doesn’t stem from diet, then it’s absolutely essential to supplement with vitamin B12 in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency and other severe malnutrition. Diet alone will not provide you the amount of vitamin B12 needed in order to prevent pernicious anemia.

Please tell us…

Would you consider getting tested for genetic vitamin B12 deficiency? Do one or both parents also have vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia?

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:

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