Welcome to the Vitamin B12 blog! Find information on topics related to vitamin B12. This blog is dedicated to providing up to date research, news and resources pertaining to vitamin B12, general health information surrounding the benefits of vitamin B12. Learn from, and contribute to information on B12, vitamin B12 and other connected subjects. Feel free to participate in blog discussions and contribute your opinion on the related topics covered in the Vitamin B12 blog.
Ever wonder why vitamin B12 deficiency is so rampant among humans, yet you never hear of animals or marine life having difficulty absorbing vitamin B12? Is vitamin deficiency something unique to humans, or is it bigger than we’ve imagined? Here are some interesting tidbits about vitamin B12 deficiency along the food chain.
Scientists discover vitamin B12 sea sponge
Recently, scientistsin the Antarctica discovered something all of us suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency wish we had- a way to extract vitamin B12 from the environment and absorb it into our digestive system.
It’s called cobalamin acquisition protein 1 (CBA1), and it’s a special protein that sea algae use to grab vitamin B12 (cobalamin) from the ocean water and ingest it, kind of the way a sponge soaks up fluids.
Apparently, certain single-celled bacteria and microorganisms are able to replicate this essential protein whenever they happen to need more vitamin B12, and thus avoid acquiring vitamin B12 deficiency.
Getting vitamin B12 from water- isn’t that like trying to squeeze orange juice from a rock?
Well, vitamin B12 occurs naturally in protein foods like beef, chicken, and fish, in sufficient amounts for us land-dwellers to avoid becoming deficient.
But if you happen to be a one-celled microorganism, then you can get just the right amount of vitamin B12 from seawater, provided you are able to make this miracle protein, CBA1.
Where’s my “B12 claw?”
Why don’t we have this lifesaving mechanism, something to grab vitamin B12, latch onto it, and escort it through our digestive system, so that we never have to worry about vitamin B12 deficiency?
We do, actually.
It’s called intrinsic factor, and it’s a special digestive enzyme that we produce for the express purpose of completely digesting vitamin B12 into our body. Intrinsic factor bonds itself to vitamin B12 from your food supply, protects it from harm as it races through your small intestines, and helps to deliver it into your blood stream.
Unfortunately, if you have a certain autoimmune disorder, pernicious anemia, then you are either unable to make intrinsic factor, or you cannot utilize it efficiently. Without intrinsic factor, you are like the algae on the ocean floor, only without the B12 sponge- surrounded by all the nutrients you need, but unable to reach them.
If you eat plenty of meat, dairy products, and eggs, but you constantly feel tired, lethargic, and “out to lunch,” then you might be a candidate for autoimmune vitamin B12 deficiency.
To find out, ask your doctor for a blood test that checks vitamin B12 levels. Although they are not 100% accurate in diagnosing true pernicious anemia, the standard B12 tests will tell your doctor if your total stores of vitamin B12 are dangerously low.
What is Addison’s disease, and why is pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency sometimes labeled Addison’sanemia? Here are some facts about B12 deficiency and Addison’s.
What is Addison’s disease?
Addison’s disease is a rare illness that destroys the adrenal glands. Since symptoms of Addison’s don’t manifest themselves until the adrenal cortex is nearly obliterated- by 90%- Addison’s disease is difficult to catch in time to prevent damage.
What are the symptoms of Addison’s disease?
Symptoms of advanced-stage Addison’s disease include:
Loss of appetite
Low blood pressure
What causes Addison’s disease?
Addison’s from autoimmune disorder is the most common type, but other rare forms of Addison’s disease occur around the world.
Causes of Addison’s disease include:
Treatment for Cushing’s disease
Some hereditary diseases
Secondary Addison’s disease from pituitary gland tumor
Most cases of Addison’s disease result from autoimmune disorder, and approximately half eventually develop other autoimmune diseases such as thyroid malfunctions.
Often, vitamin B12 deficiency also results from an autoimmune disorder- pernicious anemia, which occurs when the stomach is unable to produce or maintain the intrinsic factor enzyme that is necessary for vitamin B12absorption.
About 5% of patients with autoimmune Addison’s disease may also develop vitamin B12 deficiency-pernicious anemia.
Because of the strong link between vitamin B12 deficiency and Addison’s disease, pernicious anemia is sometimes referred to as Addison’s anemia.
Other conditions that correlate with Addison’s include:
If you suffer from Crohn’s disease, then check your vitamin B12levels often. One side effect of Crohn’s is pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency, in addition to Crohn’s symptoms like stomach cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Not surprisingly, there are several reasons why vitamin B12 deficiency occurs withCrohn’s disease. Here are the four top reasons to check your vitamin B12 levels if you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
1- Symptoms of Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease, sometimes called ileitis, is an illness of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that damages the bottommost part of the small intestinal, the terminal ileum. Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include chronic diarrhea caused by swelling of the small intestine, excruciating stomach cramps caused by intestinal strictures, fever, weight loss, and rectal bleeding.
The ileum is an important part of your digestive system for vitamin B12 absorption- without it, your body would be unable to extract vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and dispense it into your blood supply.
If Crohn’s disease has caused irreparable inflammation of your terminal ileum, you are at high risk for symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms include:
Short-term memory loss
Unclear thinking, or “brain fog”
Painful tingling and numbness in hands and feet
Sore, red tongue
Burning mouth sensations
Frequent clumsiness and stumbling
Once vitamin B12 deficiency is diagnosed, you may choose to take vitamin B12 shots, which are only available upon prescription.
2- Crohn’s disease medications
Whenever digestive disorders are present, vitamin B12 levels are low. Certain medicines used to treat Crohn’s disease may cause symptoms that typically interfere with vitamin B12 absorption, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and acid reflux.
These medications often include anti-inflammatory drugs such as mesalamine medicines and immune system suppressors, such as Methotrexate (Rheumatrex).
Only vitamin B12 supplements that bypass the digestive system can provide the benefits of vitamin B12.
Left untreated, pernicious anemia from B12 deficiency can cause neurological damage, osteoporosis, and in extreme cases, death.
3- Gastrointestinal (GI) surgery
Any GI surgery that involves removal or reduction of the ileum results in vitamin B12 deficiency. In Crohn’s disease, resection surgeries such as ileostomy necessitate lifelong supplementation of prescribed vitamin B12 shots.
Similarly, gastric bypass patients can no longer digest vitamin B12 in the stomach, and must get vitamin B12 injections indefinitely.
Sometimes, even routine vitamin B12 shots don’t provide full relief from B12 deficiency symptoms like fatigue, depression, nerve pain, and brain fog.
In such cases, many opt for nonprescription OTC vitamin B12 for extra energy and mental stamina between vitamin B12 jabs.
4- Crohn’s and diet
People suffering from IBD (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis) are required to follow restrictive diets excluding many foods that may irritate the digestive system. Fruits and vegetables that are uncooked may be red flag items, in addition to food sources of vitamin B12, such as meat, poultry, fish, milk, and eggs.
Additionally, stomachaches, nausea, and diarrhea make it hard for Crohn’s disease sufferers to eat nutritious, filling meals. As a result, people with Crohn’s often suffer from excess weight loss and malnourishment.
One of the leading types of malnourishment today is pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency.
Besides Crohn’s disease patients, other people at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency are:
People who lack intrinsic factor (IF)
Diabetics on metformin
GERD patients using protein pump inhibitors (PPIs)
Patients with secondary gastrointestinal symptoms, such as fibromyalgia, celiac disease, autism, or migraine sufferers
Gastric bypass patients
Please tell us…
Are you a Crohn’s disease patient? If so, what vitamin B12 supplements do you use?
Please tell us if you have found this article helpful and informative. As always, we welcome your comments!
Spread the love…
Please share this article with your friends, family, or anybody you care about!
Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency and Crohn’s disease:
Vitamin B12 deficiency, Addison-Biermer’s anemia- Pernicious anemia (PA) has been called many things. Though we have a cure in vitamin B12 supplements, symptoms of pernicious anemia remain similar to historical descriptions of this once fatal disease.
“Starvation in the midst of plenty”
In 1849, if a doctor diagnosed you with pernicious anemia, he would have told you to say your prayers. That’s because back then, the survival rate was 1-3 years. Many scientists tried various experiments to find out what caused this fatal disease, which was as dreaded as leukemia is today, causing symptoms like tiredness, painful tingling in the arms and legs, muscular weakness, and finally, death.
Finally, Dr. William B. Castle made an important scientific breakthrough. He conducted an experiment that involved feeding regurgitated raw hamburger meat to patients of pernicious anemia, and discovered the presence of intrinsic factor, an essential chemical found in gastric juices that is lacking in pernicious anemia patients. Like many medical discoveries, the next one that occurred somewhat by accident. In trying to find a cure for anemia resulting from blood loss, Dr. George Whipple produced the first cure for pernicious anemia- raw liver. Later, in 1926, scientists developed a more concentrated antidote based on the same therapy- raw liver juice, to be swallowed or injected.
It wasn’t until two decades later that scientists finally discovered the potent ingredient in raw liver juice. In 1948, two chemists from the US and Britain isolated cobalamin as the health-giving nutrient, and named it vitamin B12. For patients of pernicious anemia, dosages of 1000 to 4000 mcg, prescribed daily, were given orally as vitamin B12 pills or through intramuscular injection, as a vitaminB12 shot. Another method of supplementing vitamin B12 are sublingual B12 tablets.
Scientists today understand that pernicious anemia is a form of megaloblastic anemia, resulting from weakened DNA synthesis in red blood cells. People with pernicious anemia suffer from an autoimmune condition that inhibits your body’s ability to produce intrinsic factor, thus resulting in vitamin B12 deficiency. Rarely does pernicious anemia ever result in death, since doctors today know how to diagnose the symptoms early on, and confirm diagnosis with a vitamin B12 blood test. Still, many of the symptoms of pernicious anemia are disabling, and often confused with other conditions like clinical depression, thyroid disorder, and diabetes.
Typical symptoms of pernicious anemia are:
Loss of concentration
Shortness of breath while exercising
Painful tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
Constant dry mouth and sore tongue from burning mouth syndrome could be vitamin B12 deficiency. Symptoms of glossodynia are painful burning tongue and dry mouth, in addition to swollen tongue with tongue sores and metallic taste in mouth.
Glossodynia- Burning mouth syndrome (BMS)
Glossodynia, or burning mouth syndrome, is a chronic painsyndrome that causes mouth pain, dry mouth, and taste disorders. Areas affected include the whole mouth or single areas like the tongue, lips, gums, inside cheeks, or throat. Sometimes, glossodynia is also referred to as burning tongue syndrome, as the burning tongue sensation is the most noticeable symptom.
Women over the age of 30 are 3-7 times more likely to suffer burning mouth syndrome than are men of the same age.
Tongue pain symptoms may come and go throughout the day, or they may intensify as the day progresses.
Burning tongue symptoms may linger for years, unless treated.
A high correlation exists between vitamin B12 deficiency and burning mouth syndrome comorbidities like heartburn, acid reflux, stress, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, and hypothyroidism.
“What is vitamin B12,” you ask? Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a member of the B-complex vitamins. A water-soluble vitamin, B12 is stored in your liver and is necessary for avoiding vitamin B12 deficiency.
What are the benefits of vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 wears many hats. It is essential for a vast number of important bodily functions.
Red blood cells! Vitamin B12 helps your body produce plenty of red blood cells that are required for carrying oxygen throughout your body. With enough B12, you would suffer from constant dizziness and fatigue.
Memory! Vitamin B12 assists in cognitive skills such as memory, concentration, and comprehension. Without enough B12, you may suffer memory loss, depression, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.
Heart health! Vitamin B12 controls the level of homocysteine in your blood, a protein associated with heart attack and stroke. Without enough B12, you are at a higher risk of dying of heart disease or stoke.
Bone health! Scientists have found a high correlation healthy vitamin B12 levels and a lower risk of getting osteoporosis- loss of bone mass- in elderly individuals. Senior citizens who keep their vitamin B12 levels normal benefit by maintaining healthy joints and cartilage functioning.
Senses! Vitamin B12 keeps communication flowing between your brain and various nerve sites, such as your fingers, toes, mouth, eyes, and ears. Without enough B12, you would suffer neurological damage such as tingling, numbness or pain in your hands, feet, and tongue.
Movement! Vitamin B12 protects the myelin sheathe of your nervous system. Without enough B12, you would have difficulty controlling your muscles in your arms and legs.
DNA! Vitamin B12 promotes DNA synthesis. Without enough B12, you would suffer abnormal cell growth.
Metabolism! Vitamin B12 boosts stamina by helping your body convert fat into energy. Without enough B12, you would feel sluggish, confused, and chronically fatigued, and be more prone to weight gain.
What foods have vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based proteins. The following food sources have the highest levels of vitamin B12:
Meat! Beef, particularly lean beefsteak and beef organs, such as liver and heart
Chicken! Poultry, including lean chicken, turkey, and duck
Fish! Seafood, including tuna, halibut, salmon, crab meat, clams, and oysters
Eggs! Don’t skip the yolks- they are extremely high in this B vitamin
Milk! Dairy products, including milk, hard cheese, yogurt, and kefir
But I eat plenty of protein, and I take vitamin supplements.
Even if you eat plenty of foods with vitamin B12, you are not immune to B12 deficiency. Many multivitamins and B-complex pills include vitamin B12, but not in sufficient amounts to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency in individuals who are at risk.
The only way to get enough B12 is by taking vitamin B12 supplements. Some popular B12 supplements are vitamin B12 sublingual pills,and prescribed vitamin B12 shots.
For years, vitamin B12 has been the staple energy vitamin for stars such as Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Prince. Now, B12 vitamins are part of Glee star Lea Michele’s regimen against vitamin B12 deficiency. Find out why celebrities such as Lea Michele rely on B12 supplements for added stamina, strength, and mental focus.
The Glee star’s secret to weight loss
How does Lea Michele, who plays the bossy, competitive, (and sometimes infuriating) Rachel on Glee keep her figure? Recently, she confessed to following a strictly macrobiotic vegan diet, composed of mostly vegetables, grains, and beans. By cutting out meat, chicken, and dairy products from her diet, Lea has managed to lose ten pounds since she first started filming on the set.
Lea admits to also eating a few servings of fish per week, in order to avoid getting vitamin B12 deficiency. Since Vitamin B12 occurs only in animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk, supplementing with extra vitamin B12 is crucial for avoiding low B12 blood levels. How does she justify introducing a non-vegan source into her vegan diet? Apparently, macrobiotic veganism makes special allowances for seafood. Lea Michele understands that a diet low in vitamin B12 is a diet that leads to B12 deficiency symptoms.
People who deplete their stores of vitamin B12 encounter symptoms such as extreme fatigue, muscular weakness, depression, diminished coordination, memory loss, and frequent numbness or tingling sensations (pins and needles) in their hands, arms, legs, and feet. Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency may escalate into severe memory loss, neurological damage, osteoporosis, and increased risk for heart attack, and stroke.
Being tired all the time is a symptom of B12 deficiency, but it can also signal hypothyroidism (low thyroid), a thyroid disease that occurs with lowB12 levels. Because hypothyroid symptoms are similar, vitamin B12 deficiency often goes undetected.
B12 deficiency causes fatigue, depression, and other mood disorders often associated with an underactive thyroid. If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroiditis, then it’s also important also to recognize the symptoms of B12 deficiency, and know whether you might require more vitamin B12 (cobalamin).
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) that occurs in the thyroid gland, causing inflammation, and reducing its ability to produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones. Hashimoto’s disease is one example of thyroiditis that causes low thyroid levels.
Sometimes, thyroid treatment for hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), such as radioactive iodine or surgery, can backfire, causing underactive thyroid symptoms.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that is responsible for making red blood cells, controlling DNA synthesis, regulating the nervous system, and improving cognitive functioning. Without proper levels of vitamin B12, you may suffer neurological damage, dementia, or heart attack resulting from elevated homocysteine levels.
In a study conducted in Sapir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel, patients with autoimmune thyroid disease received blood screening for vitamin B12 deficiency. Researchers noted a significantly high percentage of people with AITD who also had vitamin B12 deficiency caused by pernicious anemia, a disease that inhibits proper absorption of vitamin B12.
Another study conducted in Pakistan by Aga Khan University produced similar results; namely, a 40% prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency among patients with hypothyroidism.
If you are a patient of hypothyroidism, then physicians strongly recommend routine blood testing for vitamin B12 deficiency, regardless of thyroid hormone levels.
Vitamin B12 benefits your nervous system and many other biochemical reactions; Find out how Vitamin B12 supplements can help you live a healthier lifestyle.
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin) is an essential nutrient that occurs naturally in protein food sources, such as beef, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk. The B12 vitamin is one of the B-complex vitamins. Other B vitamins are vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin B3 (niacin).
Vitamin B12 is important for many bodily functions. B12 helps your body produce red blood cells, regulates your nervous system, boosts your immunity, and protects cognitive functioning. Some other benefits of vitamin B12 include lowering your risk for heart attack and stroke by regulating homocysteine levels.
The best way to get enough vitamin B12 in your diet is by eating plenty of lean meats, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Foods that have the highest levels of vitamin B12 are clams, oysters, beef liver, and halibut.
However, eating B12-rich foods does not guarantee against vitamin B12 deficiency. Some people are unable to digest B12 naturally from foods, and must take B12 supplements in order to avoid symptoms of malnourishment, such as fatigue, depression, irritability, numbness in hands and feet, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating.
Most physicians prescribe vitamin B12 shots,sublingual B12, or b12 vitamins after diagnosing B12 deficiency.
Do you know how much vitamin B12 you need in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency? Unless you supplement, you could wind up with dangerously low vitamin B12 levels. Find out if your B12 blood levels are normal and how much you need to meet the FDA’s RDA for vitamin B12.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is a water-soluble nutrient that your body gets from protein sources, such as beef, chicken, liver, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Your body uses vitamin B12 for DNA synthesis, protecting your nervous system, and strengthening cognitive skills. Symptoms that indicate a low vitamin B12level include constant fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, depression, agitation, altered taste perception, and red, swollen tongue.
How much B12 is in my blood right now?
By performing a blood test, your doctor can tell you if you are deficient in vitamin B12, or if you have normal B12 levels. Vitamin B12 blood screening requires a 6-8 hour fast before testing. Laboratory tests will measure how many picograms (pg) of cobalamin you have per milliliter (ml) of blood in your body.
How much B12 should I have?
Scientists agree that a normal level of vitamin B12 in your blood is 200 – 900 picograms per milliliter (200-900 pg/ml).
Test results showing less than 200 pg/ml signal vitamin B12 deficiency.
For elderly adults, the recommended vitamin B12 level is much higher- Test results showing less than 500 pg/ml indicates B12 deficiency.
In order to find the cause of a vitamin B12 deficiency, doctors may perform a Schilling test.
What is the recommended dose of vitamin B12?
The FDA’s RDA of vitamin B12 for healthy adults is approximately three mcg daily for males and females alike, including pregnant and nursing moms.
For elderly individuals, the recommended dose of vitamin B12 is 25-100 mcg per day.
Scientific study proves that the RDA for B12 is off.
According to a study conducted in the Netherlands, elderly sufferers of vitamin B12 deficiency need more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) in order to achieve normal levels of B12.
Using methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels as a gauge, scientists established that cyanocobalamin supplementation amounting to 200 times the RDA of vitamin B12 is required in order to stabilize B12 levels in patients showing signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.
How much vitamin B12 do you really need?
Vitamin B12 shots administering a daily doseof 1,000 mcg of cobalamin are prescribed for the first 10 days following diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency, continuing with a weekly dose of 1,000 mcg for a consecutive 4-week period.