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Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin B12’

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- 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

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

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:

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Disease- Scientists find New Cause

Image courtesy of dream designs/freedigitalphotos

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Bariatric Surgery

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

 

 

According to health reports, vitamin B12 deficiency in bariatric surgery patients is on the rise. But before you commit to bariatric surgery, you need to know how it will affect your body’s absorption of necessary vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B12 (cobalamin). In some cases, vitamin B12 deficiency can be just as debilitating as morbid obesity.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Bariatric Surgery

Vitamin B12 deficiency after Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you’ve been struggling to lose weight for most of your life, then you may be considering a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure. Before you go under the knife, you should know the health risks involved with bariatric surgery; vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies observed after weight loss surgery. Bariatric patients are at an increased risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency because their digestive tracts have been altered in such a way as to interfere with the natural absorption of this crucial vitamin.

Signs of severe vitamin B12 deficiency include depression, memory loss, chronic fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, and musculoskeletal disorders. (Read this: Vitamin Deficiency symptoms List)

Vitamin B12 is needed for healthy red blood cells and cognitive excellence, plus it protects the nerve cells from harm. So when vitamin B12 levels plummet, as they often do a few years post-bariatric surgery, patients begin to suffer symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency that affect memory, mental health, and nervous system integrity.

Bariatric Surgery Causes Malabsorption

In healthy adults, vitamin B12 is broken down in the acidic environment of the stomach.  Intrinsic factor, which is released by the parietal cells in the stomach, then binds with vitamin B12 in the duodenum. The bound vitamin B12 is then absorbed in the ileum.

During gastric bypass surgery, however, the portions of the gastrointestinal tract responsible for making intrinsic factor, most of the stomach and duodenum, are bypassed, limiting the breakdown of vitamin B12 and its subsequent binding with intrinsic factor, causing vitamin B12 malabsorption, or the inability to digest vitamin B12 naturally from foods or even pill form.

You cannot absorb enough vitamin B12 to prevent severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

Without the right type of  supplementation, your vitamin B12 levels will slowly decline, along with your health.

Gastric Bypass Side Effects your Surgeon Forgot to Mention

Which kind of B12 is best?

For patients of bariatric surgery, only very miniscule amounts of vitamin B12 are absorbed through the digestive tract; this true for vitamin B12 food sources and vitamin B12 in a pill form. It doesn’t matter if you swallow a vitamin B12 pill whole or get your vitamin B12 in chewable or liquid form; once you’ve had bariatric surgery, vitamin B12 if ingested via the digestive tract will not be absorbed into the body.

To prevent severe vitamin B12 deficiency in patients of gastric bypass or other bariatric surgery, vitamin B12 supplements that deposit B12 molecules directly into the bloodstream are the only real option. There are several non-oral methods of supplying vitamin B12 that are available by prescription or over the counter.

How much vitamin B12 should I take?

Most vitamin B12 supplements are 1,000mcg. Your doctor may recommend weekly, biweekly, or monthly doses of vitamin B12.

For optimum results in preventing vitamin B12 deficiency, bariatric surgery patients may take as much vitamin B12 as they need to prevent debilitating symptoms, as there is no upper limit for vitamin B12 under FDA guidelines, so no risk of overdosing or experiencing any negative side effects.

Plus, the extra vitamin B12 may help with weight loss, as B12 boosts energy, promotes good metabolism, and sustains healthy mental balance.

Your turn!

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

Getting your Vitamin B12, Post-Bariatric Surgery

Weight Loss Surgery: What 50 Post-Op Patients have to Say

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

Image courtesy of Ambro/freedigitalphotos

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Invisible Epidemic!

Monday, September 9th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency is not some strange, mysterious disease. It has been well documented in much medical literature.  The causes and effects of vitamin B12 deficiency are well-known within the scientific community. But despite that Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Invisible Epidemic!

In fact, vitamin B12 deficiency is far more common than most people realize.

Vitamin B12 deficiency in 40%

The Tufts University Framingham Offspring Study suggests that 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have plasma vitamin B12 levels in the low-normal range – a range at which many people still experience neurological symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, and numb, tingling muscles.

Outright vitamin B12 deficiency was exhibited by 9 percent of the study participants and 16 percent exhibited “near deficiency”.  Low vitamin B12 levels were as common in younger people as they were in the elderly, to the surprise of the researchers.

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Vitamin B12 is vital

The human body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, protect the nerves, synthesize DNA, and carry out other crucial functions.

The average adult should get 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 each day. But since your body can’t produce vitamin B12, it is necessary to supply it through foods containing vitamin B12 or vitamin B12 supplements.

Some people don’t consume enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs, while others can’t absorb enough, no matter how much they take in, leading to vitamin B12 deficiency that can be difficult to diagnose.

Vitamin B12 deficiency- off the radar

There are two reasons why a vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed. To begin with, most physicians do not routinely test for vitamin B12 deficiency, even in adults who are at high risk.

Second, the low end of the laboratory reference range for vitamin B12 deficiency is too low. Most studies underestimate the true levels of B12 deficiency. Many B12 deficient people have so-called “normal” levels of B12, enough to prevent death from pernicious anemia, but not enough to prevent debilitating symptoms associated with low vitamin B12 levels.

Digesting vitamin B12 is difficult!

Vitamin B12 absorption is a complex process and involves multiple steps. The malabsorption of Vitamin B12 can be caused by:

  • Intestinal dysbiosis (microbial imbalances)
  • Leaky gut, gut inflammation
  • Atrophic gastritis or hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)
  • Autoimmune pernicious anemia
  • Medications such metformin and PPIs (acid-suppressing drugs)
  • Extremely high alcohol
  • Exposure to nitrous oxide (during surgery or recreational use)

Also read 25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Treating vitamin B12 deficiency

Diagnosis and treatment of B12 deficiency is relatively easy and cheap. Explain your symptoms to your doctor, and request a blood test to screen for vitamin B12 deficiency.

Usually, 1,000mcg doses of vitamin B12 taken biweekly or monthly will suffice, but it’s important to judge by your symptoms. You may need to take extra vitamin B12, in addition to what your doctor prescribes, as some medical insurance plans don’t cover the amount of prescription vitamin B12 shots needed to achieve full recovery.

Fortunately, vitamin B12 is safe to take in any amount, according to FDA guidelines, so you can take as much vitamin B12 as you think you need to increase your energy and improve your mood, without worrying about any harmful side effects.

Your turn!

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 Deficiency and Insomnia

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- How Long does it Take?

Image courtesy of razvan ionut/freedigitalphotos

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Insomnia

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

 

 

Can’t sleep? Often, insomnia stems from vitamin B12 deficiency. Though nearly everyone experiences occasional trouble with falling asleep, chronic insomnia can be part of a range of symptoms attributed to dangerously low vitamin B12. Here are some ways that vitamin B12 and insomnia are related.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Insomnia

Are you spending your nights tossing and turning, unable to get a restful night sleep? Acute insomnia has a short duration, while chronic insomnia will last longer – anywhere from days to months.

If you suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency and insomnia—and a surprising number of people these days do—then taking extra vitamin B12 may promote good restful sleep at night, and it will also boost your energy during the day, increase your ability to focus, and promote digestive, cardiac, and immune health as well.

Suffering from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue? B12 to the Rescue!

Please note: Insomnia can result from an underlying medical disorder, in addition to vitamin B12 deficiency. Consult your doctor if you suffer from chronic insomnia.

The vitamin B12-melatonin connection

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in production of melatonin, the body’s “sleep hormone” which helps you fall asleep at night and get deep rest until morning. Melatonin is one of your best defenses against insomnia, but you need healthy amounts of vitamin B12 as well.

Melatonin in the blood rises sharply at sundown, making you feel sleepy, and will usually remain elevated for approximately 12 hours – essentially throughout the night – before the onset of sunrise.

As we get older, and vitamin B12 levels begin to plummet, it becomes more difficult to enjoy a good night’s sleep, due to a reciprocal decrease in melatonin. For that reason many senior citizens struggle with both vitamin B12 deficiency and insomnia.

Doctors have recently observed that a large percentage of Americans over age 60 suffer from a severe vitamin B12 deficiency.  Without vitamin B12, your body cannot produce sufficient melatonin, which is needed to help one sleep.

Many people who suffer from insomnia take melatonin pills to help them get to sleep. However, boosting the body’s ability to produce it by increasing vitamin B12 is a more naturally efficient option.

What is vitamin B12 good for?

Vitamin B-12, or cobalamin, is one of the B complex vitamins. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Vitamin B-12 is instrumental for maintaining healthy nerve cells, synthesizing DNA and RNA, and regulating blood cells.  A vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause fatigue, irritability, digestive issues, and shortness of breath.

The elderly, vegetarians, and vegans tend to have a higher risk of developing a Vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 for insomnia

If insomnia is caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, then it’s important to supplement with extra vitamin B12 immediately; untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve cell deterioration and increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Ask your doctor for a vitamin B12 deficiency blood screening while discussing insomnia, and begin supplementation right away.

Take vitamin B12 with folic acid

Taking folic acid (vitamin B9) along with vitamin B12 is also helpful for insomnia, as vitamin B12 assists folate in building red blood cells and absorption of iron, both key components for good sleep health.

For some people, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is yet another cause of insomnia. Research has shown that RLS is related to a folic acid deficiency, and that taking more B vitamins can reduce RLS, helping to provide a full night of sleep, even in people with severe insomnia. It is thus recommended to take vitamin B12 along with vitamin B9 for maximum absorption.

Your turn!

What do you do to prevent insomnia? Do you also struggle with 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:

Brain Fog- 7 Helpful Treatments

Vitamin Deficiency symptoms List

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

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Tinnitus

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

 

 

Are your ears ringing?  For many, vitamin B12 deficiency is a cause of tinnitus symptoms; constant sounds in your ears like ringing, beeping, humming, buzzing, or rushing sounds may indicate a need for more vitamin B12. In fact, millions of people in the United States suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency and tinnitus.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Tinnitus

The following is a partial list of natural elements that may help with tinnitus and provide many other healthful benefits.

Why you need Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water soluble vitamin. It plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells and metabolism of sugars, fats and proteins. It is also helps maintain a healthy nervous system, and some research studies found it beneficial for patients of tinnitus, especially when this condition is associated with vitamin B12 deficiency.

40 Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency: the Ultimate Checklist

Tinnitus and vitamin B12

Tinnitus sufferers should test for a Vitamin B12 deficiency. It has been found that B12 deficiency has been linked with chronic tinnitus and noise- induced hearing loss.

In a study published in the March 1993 issue of “American Journal of Otolaryngology,” researchers evaluated over 100 subjects exposed to noise; 47 of the subjects who were diagnosed with tinnitus had vitamin B12 deficiency as well, many of which reported positive results after taking B12 supplements routinely

Getting enough vitamin B12

If you think you may require Vitamin B12 for tinnitus symptoms, ask your doctor to conduct a vitamin B12 blood screening test.

Consult a qualified health care professional to find out the root cause of your condition and whether or not you have a Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 is safe to use without a prescription, as there are no FDA upper limits imposed on vitamin B12 supplementation.

Vitamin B12- How Long Before I See Results?

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a neurological disorder that causes you to hear constant noises in your ears that don’t exist in your parameter. With tinnitus, your brain picks up false noise signals from the nerve cells of your inner ear, resulting in persistent buzzing, ringing, whooshing, whistling or other annoying sounds in one or both ears.

There are many causes of tinnitus, including:

  • Severe vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Loud noise from music concerts
  • Being around noisy machinery for extended periods of time
  • Medicines known as “ototoxic” drugs
  • Tumors
  • Allergies
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Hypertension or hypotension

Your turn!

If you suffer from tinnitus, have you 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:

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency a Crisis?

Pernicious Anemia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Which Causes Which?

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What is Pernicious Anemia?

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

 

 

Pernicious Anemia, in a simplified definition is the loss of body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12. It is also the most common cause of adult vitamin B12 deficiency.

What is Pernicious Anemia?

Years ago, pernicious anemia was a major cause of death. The definition of “pernicious” is “having a harmful effect, esp. in a gradual or subtle way”. Thus, it was called “pernicious” because the condition would usually not be discovered until it was too late, and the individual with pernicious anemia would usually die.

Iron, Folate and Vitamin B12 are all needed to produce healthy red blood cells. The largest part of our blood is formed of red blood cells. A normal healthy person will have 600 red blood cells for each one white blood cell and 40 platelets. The main purpose of red blood cells is to carry oxygen from the lungs to cells throughout the body.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- How Long does it Take?

Red blood cells need three essential ingredients to perform their main function. These three ingredients are:

  1. Folate – found in leafy vegetables and peas and dried beans. Also known as Folic Acid, and added to some foods.
  2. Iron – found in red meat, fish, poultry, lentils, and beans
  3. Vitamin B12 – is found naturally in meat, fish and dairy products including milk, butter and eggs. However, B12 is extracted from these foods via a very complex biochemical process, utilizing the gastrointestinal system.

Vitamin B12 will enter the stomach bound to proteins called “Intrinsic Factor”.  The Intrinsic Factor is then absorbed, along with the B12, by the Ileum which is part of the stomach in the small bowel. Without Intrinsic Factor, B12 cannot be absorbed into the body.  Thus, the inability of the body to absorb B12, is caused by a faulty digestive process, and not, as many people think, by a malfunction of the blood!

Healthy people will produce the gastric parietal cells to produce Intrinsic Factor.  However, if one’s digestive system is not functioning properly, their digestive system may fail to produce Intrinsic Factor, and thus fail to absorb Vitamin B12. This can then lead to a deficiency of Vitamin B12.

For some reason, some people produce something that kills off the Intrinsic Factor. It is called Anti-Intrinsic Factor Antibodies.  One of the tests used to diagnose Pernicious Anemia is the test for Anti-Intrinsic Factor Antibodies.  If a patient tests positive for the antibodies then he or she is diagnosed as having Pernicious Anemia.

Shocking Must-See Video on Vitamin B12 Deficiency Crisis

Medical conditions in which this type of self-destruction occurs are classified as Auto-Immune Diseases.

Pernicious Anemia is typified by a number of symptoms.  The most common symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • extreme fatigue
  • fogginess of thought
  • poor concentration
  • short-term memory loss
  • confusing behavior
  • nominal aphasia (forgetting names of objects or ideas)
  • clumsiness and/or lack of coordination
  • brittle nails; dry skin
  • mood swings, bouts of unexpected crying,  heightened emotions

Some neurological symptoms include the following (and usually indicate severity of the disease):

  • Imbalance
  • dizziness, faintness
  • frequently bumping into or falling against walls
  • general unsteadiness, especially when showering and dressing
  • inability to stand up with eyes closed or in the dark
  • numbness/tingling in the extremities
  • Tinnitus – ringing or buzzing in the ears

If you experience many of these symptoms you should see your local doctor. Ask for the Anti-Intrinsic Factor Antibody Test.

Your turn!

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 Deficiency is Type of Anemia: True or False?

Pernicious Anemia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Which Causes Which?

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Why Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid just go together

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

 

 

Vitamin B12 and folic acid are both essential water-soluble B vitamins that your body needs to prevent anemia, provide energy and support the nervous system. For maximum benefits, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance of vitamin B12 and folic acid.

Why Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid just go together

Vitamin B12 and folic acid anemia

Vitamin B12 and folic acid work together to regulate production of healthy red blood cells needed to spread oxygen throughout your body. When vitamin B12 and folic acid levels fall, you may notice symptoms of anemia indicating a need for more oxygen and B vitamins.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and low folic acid include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Muscle spasms
  • Vision problems

Isolated vitamin B12 deficiency

It’s important not to overdo it with folic acid supplements.

  • If you were to develop a vitamin B12 deficiency (pernicious anemia), then it may not appear on a blood test when folic acid levels are high, as red blood cell production will appear normal.
  • Nerve damage from vitamin B12 deficiency can continue, even with normal levels of folic acid.
  • There is a belief among scientists that overconsumption of folic acid may worsen attention and memory disorders that occur with vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Long term, pernicious anemia can result in severe handicaps caused by irreversible nerve damage.

If you are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, then it’s important to have your B12 levels and folic acid levels checked regularly.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency- How Long does it Take?

Risk factors for pernicious anemia are:

  • Family history for pernicious anemia
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Old age
  • Vegan dieting
  • Gastritis
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Ilium removal
  • Medications for acid reflux or diabetes

Treatment

The only way to treat vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency is to replenish your levels of these important B vitamins until your achieve a normal amount. You may be required to continue taking vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements in order to prevent developing anemia again.

In addition to taking vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements, try to include more foods containing B vitamins in your diet, such as beef, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, and grain products fortified with folic acid.

Your turn!

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:

Why do Diabetics get Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

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

Sources:

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12- Health Professional Fact Sheet

Anaemia, vitamin B12 or folate deficiency

Three of the B Vitamins: Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12

Image courtesy of badmanproduction/freedigitalphotos


4 Surprising Back Pain Causes

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

 

 

There are many reasons for back pain, and they’re not always easy to detect. Extreme back pain in the upper, middle, or lower back may be caused by arthritis or degenerative disc disease, but it can also be something much simpler that you’ve been overlooking.

4 Surprising Back Pain Causes

1- Vitamin B12 Deficiency

In a European study that focused on the use of vitamin B12 supplements for people suffering from lower back pain, researchers noted surprisingly good results in test subjects who received regular doses of vitamin B12, compared to a placebo medication for back pain.

Vitamin B12 is crucial for healthy nerve cells and production of red blood cells for oxygen, in addition to regulating metabolism, boosting energy, and preserving cognitive functioning needed for good memory and delaying symptoms of dementia caused by old age.

Besides back pain, other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency may include:

  • Tiredness
  • Memory loss
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Gait problems

2- Constipation

Believe it or not, lower back pain may be caused by gastrointestinal problems like constipation or diarrhea.  Sometimes, a blockage in your intestines puts pressure on your back, leading to severe back pain and stomach pain.  To treat naturally, incorporate more healthy fiber into your diet, or ask your pharmacist for gentle digestive aids that balance your intestinal flora.

3- Your shoes

A common and preventable source of back pain is simple footwear. Ill-fitting shoes and high heels disturb your posture, interfering with the natural curve of your spine, leading to back pain and an increased risk for spinal injury.

To check if your shoes are causing your back pain, visit an orthopedist.

4- Your bed

If you still think that sleeping on a stiff mattress is the best cure for back pain, then it’s time to shop for a new bed.  Chronic pain specialists recommend getting a lumbar mattress that provides support while also cushioning your tired muscles and joints for optimal relief from back pain.

Your turn!

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:

Back Pain Exercises and Fibromyalgia- the Do’s and Don’ts

Rheumatoid Arthritis Stinks- 4 Facts about Depression and Pain

40 Things NOT to say to a Fibromyalgia-Chronic Fatigue Sufferer

Sources:

Vitamin B12 in low back pain: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Image courtesy of Maggie Smith/freeditigalphotos

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