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Posts Tagged ‘vitamin B12 food sources’

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

When Vitamin B12 Deficiency has you under its Spell…of Depression

Monday, February 6th, 2012



You might be surprised to know that vitamin B12 deficiency can cause symptoms like depression, fatigue, and anxiety. Vitamin B12 benefits your body in many ways, and when you don’t get enough, you can start to feel sluggish, nervous, and depressed, in addition to suffering many neurological disorders.  Sometimes, depression from B12 deficiency mimics clinical depression, interfering with a proper diagnosis.


Do you have vitamin B12 deficiency?

The only way to be certain if your B12 levels are low is by getting a blood test.  This will indicate if you need more vitamin B12, even if it doesn’t necessarily explain why your B12 levels are lower than normal.

Here are some typical signs of vitamin B12 deficiency that “masquerade” as mental illness:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression that lingers
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Hallucinations

Neurological symptoms of B12 deficiency include:

  • Painful tingling in your legs, hands, and feet
  • Frequent clumsiness and tripping
  • Altered sense of taste
  • Sore tongue
  • Vision problems

How many types of depression are there?

Here are some of the most common types of depression:

WHEN VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY HAS YOU UNDER ITS SPELL…OF DEPRESSION, B12 PATCHMajor depressive disorder: The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) characterizes major depression as a “combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities.” Most people who suffer from major depression will experience several episodes of depression in their lives, but it is possible to experience it only once.  With major depressive disorder, medication is required for treatment of symptoms.

Dysthymic disorder: Dysthymia is depression that lingers over several years.  With dysthymia, depression is less severe than major depression, and not as likely to interfere in one’s ability to work or study.  Still, dysthymic disorder causes feelings of sadness and disquiet.  People with dysthymia may suffer from episodes of major depression, as well.

Minor depression: Minor depression is diagnosed when one has a short interval of depression over a few weeks.  Minor depression itself is not debilitating, but untreated may escalate into major depression.

Bipolar disorder: Manic-depressive illness is less common than major depression, and involves swift mood changes that alternate from exhilarating highs to deep depression.

Psychotic depression: Depression that accompanies other forms of severe mental illness, such as hallucinations or delusions, is called psychotic depression.

Postpartum depression: About 10%-15% of women suffer from postpartum depression after giving birth, which is caused by shifting hormones and overwhelming lifestyle changes.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): During the winter months, it is common for some people to suffer from seasonal affective disorder because of decreased exposure to sunlight.  Still, antidepressants and psychotherapy are more effective at treating SAD than light therapy.

Depression from vitamin deficiency: Vitamin B12 deficiency and folate deficiency are directly linked to some incidences of depression.  According to NIMH, “depression and poor response to antidepressant medication have been linked to deficiency in the vitamins folate and B12.”

In other studies, elevated homocysteine levels were associated with increased risk for depression.  Vitamin B12 and folate supplementation, which decrease homocysteine levels in the blood, were instrumental in treating depression.

Can Elevated Homocysteine (Low B12) cause Mental Illness?

What’s the connection between vitamin B12 and depression?

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is necessary for various biochemical functions, such as DNA synthesis, red blood cell distribution, production of myelin, which protects your nerve cells, and breaking down homocysteine.  In addition, vitamin B12 also helps to maintain healthy cognitive functioning.

When vitamin B12 levels are low, your brain suffers.  You begin to experience severe memory loss, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and emotional problems like depression, anxiety, paranoia, feelings of hostility, and moodiness.


What is vitamin B12, and why is it so important?

Where can I get more vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 food sources include meat, fish, milk, and egg products. However, if you suffer from pernicious anemia or other autoimmune disorders, you probably cannot digest vitamin B12 from foods, and must supplement with sublingual vitamin B12 or vitamin B12 shots.

Please tell us…

If you suffer from depression, have you had your B12 levels checked, as well? If you currently take vitamin B12 supplements, do you take them orally, through B12 injections, or otherwise?

Let us know how we’re doing…

Please comment below, and share our page with your friends!

Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency and depression:

Eating Your Way Out of Depression with B-12

Tired of being Tired all the Time…It’s Tiring!

Vitamin Deficiencies can drive you Crazy- Seriously! Part 1


Effectiveness of Vitamin Supplementation in Treating People With Residual Symptoms of Schizophrenia

NIMH- Depression

Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12- PubMed, NCBI

Juvenile Vitamin B12 Deficiency- the Dinosaur of all Disorders, say Scientists

Monday, December 19th, 2011



Recently, scientists discovered an ancient mutant gene putting vitamin B12 deficiency around the timeline of 11,600 B.C., causing a rare form of vitamin B12 anemia known as Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome (IGS) – the second-oldest disease-causing mutant gene known to mankind.

What causes Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome (IGS)?

According to researchers, mutations in either the amnionless (AMN) or the cubilin (CUBN) gene cause this rare form of vitamin B12 deficiency (IGS), which inhibits vitamin B12 absorption in children born with either mutated gene.  Children born with IGS lack intrinsic factor, a chemical required to digest vitamin B12 in food sources, such as beef, chicken, fish, cheese, and eggs, and eventually show symptoms of severe juvenile cobalamin deficiency.  This discovery adds to our knowledge that B12 deficiency is an inherited disorder.

What is vitamin B12, and why is it so important?

What are the symptoms of Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome (IGS)?

IGS originated in the Middle East, affecting children of Jewish, Turkish, or Arabic descent.  Children with (IGS) vitamin B12 deficiency exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Increased risk for infection
  • Everyday fatigue, regardless of diet or sufficient sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating, symptoms similar to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Partial paralysis

Untreated, childhood vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to severe nerve damage.  A blood test is required to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, and treatments include constant vitamin B12 injections, as prescribed by your physician- possibly for the rest of your life.

Top Ten Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Who is at risk for getting vitamin B12 deficiency?

Aside from individuals with the inherited vitamin B12 deficiency disorder, other people that are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Anybody who has had gastrointestinal surgery, such as gastric bypass,  involving the removal of the ileum, a portion of the small intestines required for vitamin B12 absorption
  • Anybody taking medications that inhibit absorption of vitamin B12, including the diabetes drug Metformin, acid reflux medication, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Vegans who don’t supplement with vitamin B12 regularly
  • Many patients of autoimmune disorders that affect the stomach, such as fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, or celiac disease
  • Alcoholics
  • Elderly individuals who lack sufficient stomach acids to digest vitamin B12

Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency causes:

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

Pernicious Anemia: Your 13 Most Frequently Asked Questions, Answered!


Scientists Discover Second-Oldest Gene Mutation

Ancient founder mutation is responsible for Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome among diverse ethnicities

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

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

In the dark about vitamin B12?  There are so many food sources and types of vitamin B that it can get confusing. What exactly is vitamin B12, what are its benefits, and what are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?

What is Vitamin B12?

  • Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin which was first discovered when it was linked with pernicious anemia, an autoimmune disease.
  • Vitamin B12 is also called cobalamin because it contains rare cobalt.
  • Vitamin B12 is digested when hydrochloric acids in your stomach extract vitamin B12 from a variety of protein sources.
  • Vitamin B12 then combines with intrinsic factor before being absorbed into the intestines.
  • supplements; cyanocobalamin is also valued for its stability and low cost, and for that reason is often used as a food additive.

B12: Celebs Say it’s the New C

What are the benefits of vitamin B12?

Some of the main benefits of vitamin B12 have to do with maintaining a healthy nervous system, producing plenty of red blood cells, and decreasing our risk for developing cardiovascular disease:

  • We need vitamin B12 for healthy nerve cells; vitamin B12 aids in conducting neurotransmitter activity between the brain and our many sensors. Also, vitamin B12 is beneficial in metabolizing fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for building the myelin sheath, a set of proteins which protects our nerve cells.
  • Vitamin B12 functions in production of red blood cells, which are essential for carrying oxygen throughout our bodies.
  • Our bodies utilize vitamin B12 for cell metabolism, particularly in relation to (DNA) genetic material.
  • Vitamin B12 regulates production of homocysteine; strong correlations exist between vitamin B12 deficiency, high homocysteine levels and increased risk of heart attack or other cardiovascular disease.

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

What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?

There are many conditions which are associated with vitamin B12 deficiency. Some common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are:

  • Chronic fatigue;
  • Depression;
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet;
  • Short term memory loss;
  • Increased aggressiveness;
  • Change in taste perception;
  • Irritability;
  • heart palpitations;
  • Sleep difficulties;
  • Imbalance, dizziness

Eating Your Way Out of Depression with B-12

Left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to pernicious anemia or severe damage to the nervous system.

Where do you get vitamin B12?

  • Vitamin B12 can be found in many protein sources; some good food sources for getting a healthy dose of vitamin B12 include lean chuck beef, oysters, clams and many other shellfish, dairy products like swiss cheese and yogurt, eggs, and fish, such as salmon and halibut.

Nine Healthiest Canned Foods: Many Contain Vitamin B12

  • Vegetarians and vegans are particularly at risk for developing a vitamin B12 deficiency, as their diets strictly exclude the riches food sources of B12. Vegans are strongly advised to supplement their diet with homocysteine vitamin B12, in order to prevent B12 deficiency which could result in pernicious anemia or severe neurological damage.

On Becoming Vegan: Avoiding Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Others

  • Some people lack the intrinsic factor needed to properly digest vitamin B12; individuals who suffer gastrointestinal diseases like Crohn’s or have had gastric bypass surgery cannot utilize vitamin B12 naturally and are  advised to supplement with B12.

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